Thursday, 11 July 2013

Don't Lean On..........


A She-Feminist Is Not A Lesbian; She Is Also Not A Person Who Is A Man-Hater. She Is Someone Who Believes In Social, Political & Economic Equality Of The Sexes.

Every Time I Read A Self-Help Book, One Constant Thought That Remains In My Mind As I Advance From One Chapter To Another Till I Reach The Last One Is, “I Know All Of This.”

Of Course I Know,

That I Must Focus On Building My Identity Without Feeling Guilty About Not Being Able To Give 100% To The Other Hat That I Wear.

That I Must Balance My Personal & Professional Life.

That I Must Learn To Negotiate Like A Man.

That I Must Not Position Myself In The Conference Room Where My Presence Is Barely Seen/Heard. I Must Raise My Hand Often @ Work.

That I Must Value My Own Work & Know My Own Worth.

That I Must Make Use Of The Open Door Policy.

That I Must Have A Mentor.

That I Must Speak The Truth Diplomatically.

That Pregnancy Does Not Put An End/Damper To A Woman’s Career.

That You Can Not Build Your Identity Without The Help Of Your Partner.

But Most Importantly, I Know That I SIMPLY CANNOT DO IT ALL.

LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK AND THE WILL TO LEAD Talks About How The Above Can Be Achieved By Giving Examples Of Women/Woman Who Have/Has Done That.

As An Avid Watcher Of Desperate Housewives, In The Past I Had Concluded That The ‘ List Of Women’s Predicament’ Is Universal. (Barring The Issues Orbiting Around Girl Child In Our Part Of Continent.). But Then The Desperate Series Was Just Another Wonderful DRAMA. However, After Reading This Book I Once Again Believe That We Are All Sailing In The Same Boat.

I Wonder Whether This Apartheid -ness Is Psychological, Cultural ……..Or Is It Biological? A Man Or A Woman Are Both Care-Takers In Their Own Way But The Former’s Work Is More Tangible( Read GDP) & The Latter’s Job Has Intangible ROIs. I Mean You Can Be Busy In An (Unproductive) Meeting At Work But Come On No One Can Be Busy At Home. The Members Of Work-From-Home Fraternity Would Agree Being Snubbed Sometimes, “If You Are Home It Means You Are Not Working.” So The Point Is That The Plight Of A House-Wife Or A Home-Maker Must Be Even Worse.

I Am Completely Off The Tangent Here From The Core Message Of This Book, The Author Of The Book (COO Of Facebook) Sheryl Sandberg Envisages The Following Dream.

"A Truly Equal World Would Be One Where Women Run Half Our Countries & Companies And Men Run Half Our Homes. I Believe That This Would Be A Better World."

A Very Loud ‘DUH’.

Though The Author Begins The Book With An Acknowledgement That How Lucky She Is Compared To The Other Types Of Women; Right From Those Who Don’t Enjoy The Right To Education To The Kind Of Women Who Have Less Cooperative Or Uncooperative Partners And The Likes. She Gradually Moves On To Addressing The Ones Who Are Outside In The Field Or On The Desk & Dream To Become ‘A Queen Bee’ One Day.

This Book Is Hence For The One Who Is An Inherent ‘Shark’. ( It Will Be Prudent To Mention Here, That This Book Has Been A Birthday Gift To Me & The Word Shark Has A Positive Tenor.)

Being Indian, In The First Place I Shouldn’t Have Read This Book. But Now That I Have Read It And Grasped Whatever Is Applicable To Me. I Look At This Book From The Perspective Of Indian Geography, Where Women’s Participation In Workforce Is Declining. In That Case…. The Apt Lesson Would Not Be LEAN IN…..It Would Be ‘Don’t LEAN ON……..’

When It Comes To Being On The Top It Remains A Matter Of Consensus Between The Husband & Wife As To Who Will Make The SACRIFICE; Because One Of Them Will Definitely Have To Do So For The Sake Of Their Offspring. Irrespective Of The Gender Let The One Who Defines Achievement By His/Her Professional Performance, Work And The Other Who Has Passion Of Parenting, Stay-Home Or Take Up Flexible Or Less Demanding Jobs. (The Single Parent Will Have To Do Little Bit Of Both). So While One Sits At The Office Table Other Would Be Sitting At The Kitchen Table.

Happiness Has A New Definition From Woman To Woman. It Varies & One Must Strictly Stick To Things That Makes You Happy. If Staying At Home And Taking Care Of Family Makes You Happy…So Be It. But The Rest Of Us Need To Channel Our Efforts In Being Independent If Acme Is Not Our Aim. It’s A Bitter Truth But If You Have A Small Or Big Stature In Society(Or Otherwise If Your Husband Appreciates All Your Cooking & Caring) & Even If You Are Partially Independent Your Loved Ones Would Love You Even More As Their Dependant. And You In Turn Would Give The Desired Space To Your Partner.

Result: NO/Less Friction At Home.

An Even Better Situation Ofcourse Would Be Why Not Aim For The Top If You Have The Right Kind Of Education, Circumstance, Passion, Will & Family To Support You In Your Endeavour.

As I Write This I Am Reminded Of A Beautiful Bollywood Movie, ‘English-Vinglish’, Where The Female Protagonist Tacitly Yet Loudly Makes Her Identity Felt To Her Own Family-Members. The Same Dear Ones Who’s Individuality She Was Busy Making While Sacrificing A Huge Deal On Her Part.

Let The Conservative Know That A ‘Woman @ Work’ Doesn’t Imply ‘FREEDOM’. It Simply Means Becoming A 'Running-Plan B' For The Family. And In Worst Case Scenario, The Idea Is To Become One’s Own BACKUP Plan.


  1. Hi Neelam, Well written article. However, it's very hard to read especially because of the Caps on every word.
    I don't know if you've ever received a comment like this, but I'd like to be the first to make this suggestion :)....Please make your blogs easy on the eye...would make it lovelier indeed!

    1. :) Okay........i get that all the time. i must implement now