Sheryl Sandberg gave an encouraging talk at the TED Women Conference recently. She pointed out the main reasons why women lag behind despite qualifications, talent and capabilities and lose out on the much deserved positions as they go up the ladder.
According to Sandberg “Women systematically underestimate their own abilities,” Sandberg stated before citing data that explained why. For example, men tend to cite themselves as the primary reason for success, while women tend to cite external factors. 57% of men are negotiating their first salary out of college, while only 7% of women do the same.
As an aspiring career professional many years back in the 1980s I always had the notion that women in the developed countries have more opportunities and succeed more than the women in the developing countries. But, today when I hear this talk I get the message that the scene was not very different there either. The problems and dilemmas faced by women are same globally and the choices that a woman has to make also have the same basis – Family + Career.
According to a survey by NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies- NASSCOM is the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPO industries in India.) a few years back India had the most no. of highly educated unemployed women not because the jobs were not available but because Indian women valued education but did not mind giving up their careers to give full attention to the children and families and that it is done willingly with an element of duty and pride.
But, now with the power of the internet working from home is an opportunity that opens up the doors to doing justice to home and career with some amount of planning, hard work and focus. We have to stop blaming the society and men and start focusing on what we can do to realize our dreams and forge our way ahead.
I think that times are changing and gradually the society will have the much needed balance at the work places but only education can make the difference not only the academic education alone but the lessons we learn from our parents by observing them on a day to day basis and thereby form our perceptions to life. That onus lies on both the partners. As I think that every human being whether a man or a woman has a duty towards themselves, towards their families and towards the society as a whole.
I hope the fathers who have daughters listen to this and try to instill the much needed confidence in their daughters and as mothers we try to inculcate the right values in our sons to make them understand the importance of home and work equally so that later on they can do justice to the girls they get married to.