She works to support her middle class parents and three sisters in an office infested with letches and perverts. She is then rescued by the CEO, who falls in love with her. After much ado she marries into a rich household that detests her middle class presence in their elite home. She perfects 4 inch radius rotis, decks up with make-up and fancy sari’s, presses her resentful mother-in-law’s aching legs, and makes guest appearances to the family business to troubleshoot financial crises, and finally makes it to their good books. She passes all tests of the fire gods by justifying her purity (with solid proof) to her suspecting, scorning husband and fights her sautans like a ninja warrior. Sometimes, she transforms into an insect repellant to ward off ichadari nagins and bura saayas like a pro. An all in-one-solution is our tainted Indian girl draped in bling, by our daily soaps.
Our tolerance and endorsement for such quixotic and ghastly portrayals of ideal women deserves a second thought. Think about it, haven’t our friends/ sisters/ colleagues taken off from their confinements to excel and earn respect in their professional lives? Women, just like everyone else, are doing their bit to follow their heart and make a difference. It is time we came to terms to accept women in their new roles and drew inspiration from their real lives.There’s Arunima Singh who climbed the Everest despite having lost a leg in an accident. There is a 15 Year old girl, Sushma Verma, who is India’s youngest MSc. from the same college where her father is a sanitation worker. Do you see dearth of inspirations to draw from?
At Tech for Good 2015 – A Hackathon Ace Hacker conducted for Anita Borg Institute India across 5 cities, we saw women, some young and some seasoned, from various walks and spaces collaborate and compete to develop apps for social causes. We heard women talk about technologies they had learnt themselves, parents who supported their daughters to make it big, spouses who managed kids and kitchens while their wives were working and team members who participated in their growth. We were heartened at how we have evolved and accepted women as professionals. There is no doubt that challenges exist and gaps need to be bridged. We’ve got a million miles to get there. Yet, here’s a great beginning.
Our transformational journey to a developed nation would depend on encouraging and leveraging untapped potential in our women, who are a mighty 51% of our countries’ population. We wish to see the light of day when we wouldn’t have to wrap women events like Tech for Good early, so that women could make it home in ‘safe conditions’. It isn’t reasonable to expect a flock of birds to take flight with their wings tied up. Our battles would be half won when women are able to make their choices without restrictions, constraints or influence. May there be more confluences such as GHCI, may there be real inspirations to draw from and may there be equal opportunities to scale higher.
(The GHCI Conference will be held from December 2-4, 2015. In 2014, GHCI broke records with 1,600 participants and received an 82% overall quality rating of excellent and good. GHCI 2015 promises to have a stellar lineup of inspiring keynotes, career workshops, leadership panels, technical and management tracks, a Student Career Fair, Back to Work Program and more.)