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Career Oriented Women: Must They Sacrifice Family For Career?

Working momBeing a career-oriented woman in India takes a lot of hard work, especially, if you’re married and have kids. There is a lot of extra baggage that a working woman has to carry, unlike her male counterparts.

The most important thing for women committed to their careers is to garner support from their family as families play a huge role in an individual’s decision-making, especially in countries like India.

Time management is an essential element and a skill to be mastered if one has to successfully balance home and work. Juggling between kids, husbands, domestic chores while managing office work is what most career-oriented women struggle with.

Despite their multitasking abilities, women are often criticized for not being a below average homemaker and not “being there” for their children.  Do women really have to give up their family life for the sake of a career or vice versa?

In India, an ideal woman is the one who devotes most of her time in managing household chores, taking care of her family and grooming her children.

However, at the end of the day, she’s left with no time for herself. Women must realize that irrespective of gender and marital status, they are entitled to pursue their dreams and be financially independent.

Nikita, a 35-year-old mother of two, says, “I started working two years before I got married. Initially, even my in-laws were supportive, but after the birth of my twins, they started objecting to it, saying that I must give all my attention to my kids. The kids now go to school and my husband stays away on business; I regret having to give up my career altogether to maintain domestic harmony and now it seems like quite a challenge to catch up from where I left.”

Most career-oriented women find it hard to balance their work and family perfectly. The best way to deal with this issue is to talk to their respective families and put forth their expectations. With time and a little convincing, family members get used to the work routine and begin extending their support, even if grudgingly.

Most of the time, however, a little help from the spouse is all that is needed to put things into place. Even in absence of familial support, women can set their priorities straight and use their financial independence to hire domestic help to take care of the home front. That will also allow for more quality time with children and elders.

After all, as someone put it very wisely, “It is the ‘quality’ of time that matters, and not the ‘quantity’.” Poonam (32), reporter of a leading news channel, says, “Being physically present for someone is equal to giving him mental support. As far as emotions are concerned, the amount of time has nothing to do with it. It is all about how you utilize the time at hand.”

It is not always necessary for career-oriented women to sacrifice their family life for their careers, although many women still find it to be a convenient and confrontation-free option. By managing time intelligently and prioritizing their duties smartly, women can lead a well-balanced and fulfilling life.


Unusual Jobs For Women: Succeeding In Unconventional Careers

Hillary_Rodham_ClintonPerception about feminism has been largely duality-laden – whether it comes from the progressive societies of the west or the traditional and conservative ones of Middle East or South Asia. Despite there being a universal acceptance of ‘Women Power’, women have been stereotypically restricted to a few careers and their work domain has been limited.

However, the last century scripted a turnaround in this regard and the present one has set new trends, with women opening up and working in diverse fields. Of late, there have been a few unusual careers, where women have started making a mark.

They have proved that it only needs one successful example to break the myth of ‘female specific jobs’. Especially in a country like India where progress has been marred by gender discrimination, this change is heartening.

There was a time when women wouldn’t leave the kitchens, seek work outside their family farms, or at the most, teach at a local school. Women have begun to seek emancipation outside these set roles and are progressively making their way into unconventional and hitherto male-dominated arenas.

Successful Career Women Show The Way

The field of politics, traditionally male dominated throughout the world, has seen great women leadership recently. From Condoleeza Rice and Hilary Clinton in the US, to Indira Gandhi in India or Angela Merkel in Germany – politics is now a woman’s cup of tea. Women in India are representing grass root panchayats and doing well. There is recognition, and fresh influx of faith in governance.

Women, who used to teach their sons  to dream of space travel, are themselves treading into a gravity-free world and participating in so-called ‘male-specific’ hazardous tasks – mining, nuclear reactors and fire services.

Woman’s innate capability of patience, understanding and decision-making has opened up newer avenues of work to them. They are working as psychologists and counsellors (Anna Freud is a classic example in this regard) and helping people make their lives worth living. They are also using their skills as fitness experts, chefs, journalists and even astrologers.

Traditionally, women are excellent managers at home (be it financial, crisis or relationships), but as soon as they step out of homes – eyebrows are raised. However, entrepreneurs like Indra Nooyi, Kiran Shaw or even the meticulous SHG workers of Operation Flood have proved that the creator has not differentiated between genders; it is the formation of self-fulfilling prophecies in society that has resulted in such discrimination.

Whether it is in the defence sector, the field of science and technology, or even the sports arena – women are rising up and breaking the mould. They’re not limited to teaching and nursing now, and are even they are being appointed as train drivers, combatants and expert advisors.

India’s foreign secretary and the Chairperson of the Advisory Council are incidentally women and this was something unheard of in the dark medieval era of the Parda, Burqa and Sati. Administrators with an iron fist like Kiran Bedi have led from the front, whereas the Sisters in the Missionaries of Charity have taken care of the destitute.

The inception of a thought is a change in itself and an Egyptian girl yet again proved this recently when her message on a social networking site triggered a successful uprising. Women are causing upheavals now. As this awareness grows in modern generation about this open era – there is a need to kindle a bit of faith in those dark homes throughout the world where a girl child is still considered a bane.


Image source wikipedia