History has been scripted as Indian Air Force inducts first batch of women pilots into its fighter squadron. It definitely is a moment to be celebrated; as these embody the spirit of the same women we meet daily in our lives, breaking barriers to etch their name permanently in a world filled with obstacles, primarily run by men.
This post is dedicated to all our female aspirants who have chosen a path which is no small feat in itself. Even USPC explicitly ‘encourages female candidates to apply’ and so, we are here to let you know that the only thing that you need to reach at the top, is a will to shatter the reinforced glass ceiling.
Isn’t there a sense of belonging and an ignited spark that you feel deep down in your heart—to pursue what you desire?
Desire is a small word encompassing a big connotation ‘to satisfy one’s wants materially and mentally and yet, keep wanting for more’. While cultures do differ and aspirations are varied, there exists a certain similarity between the treatments being meted out to women in India as well as globally. Family pressure, social customs, gender bias, and a shortage of role models are just some of the impediments almost every women face, at one point in their career. Sometimes women have to prove themselves to a far greater extent than men do which has been acknowledged by a McKinsey report stating that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments.
Additionally, if the barriers existing on the outside are not enough, women are hindered by barriers that exist within themselves. How difficult can it be— to motivate oneself and not be overshadowed by an internalized system of negative messages, or to raise hands and sit across the table with a solid expectation of being treated for who you are? Fear is at the root of so many barriers—fear of not being liked, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of drawing negative attention, fear of overreaching, fear of being judged, fear of failure, fear of not being a ‘proper’ woman full of love, care and warmth.
No wonder, time and again you have faced and will encounter immortal-looking problems, ever-looming stress, fierce competition and time constraints in every walk of life. But, this should never bog you down. We each have to just trust our instincts and chart our own unique course; and come up with the definition of goals that fit our lives, values and dreams.
A shift to a more equal world can never be possible without the practice of the ‘art of balancing’— as women should be empowered with her dreams at work, men should also be more empowered by being treated as an equal—and equally capable as a partner for life. Gentlemen, you are the promise for a more equal world— your support, understanding, acceptance of their dreams are an intrinsic part of the solution; fueling their wings with more energy to fly.
So, gentlemen ‘sit at the table’ together…the kitchen table as well— this would create a leveled platform for both of you to hold hands and walk together.
No one has it all. Economics prove so! But ladies, the aim here is to make you realize that you second none! Try and insist on making both intellectual and an emotional adjustment. Challenge the notion of the constant fear of failure. When you think that you are not capable of something, take a moment and remind yourself that it just a distortion, and not a reality. Faking one’s confidence can also work wonders (smile solidly for a full hour—you will start feeling cheerful). So fake it till you feel it 😉 Reach out for more opportunities; seize them darling. There is no perfect fit when you are looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you. After all, the ability to learn is an endangered trait!
Why You Need To Change and Show How Strong Your Shoulders Are?
Just doing things for the sake of it won’t stage you anywhere. You need to catch up with the changing world. World is moving so fast. Yes it is!
Even without any wrong on your part, you will be sidelined for being redundant and silent. Your opponents are powerful but you need to learn to make it big.
An apt example would be of NOKIA. They missed out on learning, they missed out on changing, and thus they lost the opportunity at hand to make it big. Not only did they miss the opportunity to earn big money, they lost their chance of survival. The message of this story is, if you don’t change, you shall be removed from the competition. It’s not wrong if you don’t want to learn new things. However, if your thoughts and mindset cannot catch up with time, you will be eliminated. Do not worry about your future, just think how much more can you do?
To change and improve yourself is giving yourself a second chance. To be forced by others to change, is like being discarded.
Take a deep breath and always remember to keep your hands up. Let important men in your life sit at the table with you. Shut the nagging voice that tells you to keep pleasing everyone—you just can’t; because if you do, you aren’t making enough progress. Careers need not always be planned from the start—forge a new path and let the dead ends present a better chance of fulfillment. Ladders are cliché—who would want to keep staring at a butt, all the way to the top! 😛
Shift from the traditional approach of “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking “I want to do that—I’ll learn by doing it.” Do not wait for power to be offered; you have the power, now go make good use of it. Don’t try being a ‘queen bee’ and champion for fellow women—the more we help others, the more we help ourselves.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to break the stereotypes and biases that cloud our beliefs and perpetuate the status quo—let us transcend them, together!
Let those desires keep you breathing, ticking and kicking,
Let us together raise both the floor and the ceiling!