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This month author Ms. Nidhi Borana is sharing a very motivating article about how women can even all the odds in life-
“What would happen if we encouraged all women to be a little more ambitious? I think the world would change.” – Reese Witherspoon
Work by itself is neutral. We do not perform work in a pressure-free environment. The activities we human perform are in a social context – that is, they are characterized by their thoughts, thinking and mental patterns. This has led to the fact that specific meanings and values are attached to work. As a society, we are becoming larger, and more interdependent which makes it vital to divide labour. This division of labour contributes to order and progress in society.
Earlier, only ability and skill-based approaches were used to divide labour. Over time, a variety of social, moral and religious philosophies defined the framework for division of labour. It is from here where work role began to be gender-defined too.
She was fourteen and all ambitious. She wished to be an architect. She spoke of her career plans to her friends, family. She was advised one fine day that it’s not a rational career choice, as it was not meant for the females. “It’s a man’s world out there and it isn’t safe. It’s a lot of field work and requires late working hours.”, she stated. She was advised to look for other career options, that were more woman-friendly. She took this advice seriously. A few years later she mentioned, she regrets not having taken architecture.
Yes, gender stereotyping is very common around the world when it comes to career selection. Women have always been asked to make wise choices, as they would eventually be married and have children. Gender bias for decades has been the norm and now it is time to displace this bias with being Neutral.
Learning skills at every stage of life is constant. From learning to crawl, talk, walk, run, write, these are basic skills we have learnt. When we talk about forming careers, it’s the build-up of skills over the years that allow us to form that career. Evolution is one of the reasons that in certain jobs we see more or only men as they have more muscle mass. But, with growing technology and early training women too can take up those jobs. These jobs include mining, construction, heavy truck drivers, firefighters, army, welders, carpenters and plumbers. Even high-risk jobs like detectives, wildlife photographers have seen this bias. Apart from these, computers repairing, surgeons, bus conductors, automobile drivers, ministers and CEOS are mostly men.
The career we choose defines our contribution to society at large. Women have traditionally lived the role of a homemaker while exhibiting their skills beyond excellence. Some of the jobs where we do find more women are teachers, counsellors, nurses, caretakers and have done well, to say the least.
Amidst all of this for centuries we have had women who sailed through the oceans, flew the jet plane, been surgeons, researchers, fought wars at the borders, nursed the injured and did farming. While these women made history by breaking away from the traditional role of the homemaker, i.e. a housewife and a mother, they are few in ratio.
With gender-neutral education picking up speed and more awareness in society, we have seen women explore other careers more than ever. With primary and secondary education being made mandatory for both boys and girls, their visions have grown. Girls are ambitious and taking their careers very seriously. Today the number of female doctors, architects, pilots, athletes and researchers are on the rise. And what could be more beautiful than the fact that men today are more accepting of women at their workplace? An accepting and comfortable working environment, governments and lawmakers of countries making sure of women’s safety has made working environments women-friendly and made it easier for women to get jobs.
I did some research to find women who have done well in an otherwise male-dominated job.
Mukeshdevi from India runs an auto repair service. It’s her family business.
Shantideva from India is one of the very few tyre technicians. She is an expert at her work and does her work very efficiently.
Kalpana Chawla- the first woman of Indian descent to go to space.
These women inspire so many women to think the unthinkable and dream big.
So, the big question is how young girls and women can even think of taking up careers that are predominantly considered to be a man’s work?
Well, one of the ways is to undergo a psychometric assessment that would bring their interests, personalities and existing skill to their awareness and focus. Although assessment has no age limit, it would be ideal that girls take career assessments at an early age, so that they choose an appropriate field and go ahead for basic or advanced skills training accordingly. They can also chart out their skills training plan for the next few years which will include the selection of possible institutes and mentors, preparation for entrances or competitions and creation of timelines.
Also, through counselling girls and women can be motivated to take up a career of their choice. By organising mentoring programs, we can further motivate them to better their skills and give them emotional support and a psychological edge.
Having a role model has its own benefits. If girls and women have a role model it will encourage them to take up unconventional careers. Making bold choices gives us the best opportunities to stand out and lead the masses. One becomes a role model when one has the edge and does the unconventional to stand out. One such woman from the present day who comes to my mind is Serena Williams, a very successful tennis player. She currently holds the record of 23 grand slams and second highest in women tennis. But what makes it more special is the fact that she won the 23rd slam while three months pregnant. It’s her grit, hard work and determination to win that inspires. And this is just one example, there are so many other such women in the past who made history and so many are in the making. Serena Williams is famous. We can find these role models in our mothers, grandmothers, teachers and mentors who are in our immediate surroundings doing their work so passionately. This brings me to the point, ‘if she can do it so can I.’ Yes, it is POSSIBLE for YOU and for ME to not just dream the unimaginable but ACHIEVE it too. The best way to answer ‘women can’t’ is ‘DO IT’. Take the first step, keep moving and don’t stop. Your actions, hard-work, resilience, the determination shall silence those who question your choices.
So, let us encourage women and motivate them to make the world a better place.
Edumilestones (CCA program) has empowered many women career counsellors who are making a huge impact in shaping the career lives of many individuals.
Ms. Nidhi Borana, is a counselling psychologist & practitioner of arts-based therapy. She is working as a personal counsellor and career counsellor from last 6 years.
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