For International Women’s Day, #BeBoldForChange!

Date: Mar08,2017

Author: INK Team

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A very happy International Women’s Day to all women, across the globe! The 2017 campaign theme for this day is “Be Bold For Change”. Each one of us – regardless of gender or race- can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold action to accelerate gender equality.

In spirit of this courageous mission, we’ve got some champion women gamechangers from the INK community to share their thoughts with us.

Lakshmi Pratury_X1B1119
Founder and CEO of INK

1. As a woman, we don’t ask enough for ourselves. What are your thoughts on this?
Firstly, we are conditioned to think that you should always put somebody else in front of you. Secondly,  we are afraid that if by asking for much, people might berate us for being aggressive. As women, if you are vocal, you just have to be prepared to receive all that. People might give you tags but so what? Just go ahead and ASK!

2. Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be a little bit more patient. I was always in a hurry to get things done and the times when I waited, the results actually ended up being really good. When you are younger, you want to accomplish way too much, way too fast. If you pace yourself a little bit and have the patience, things will always pay off. What I learned now is you should look at life in every decade, not in every six months. Only then will you see huge progress.

3. Who are your role models?
Rabindranath Tagore. A  thinker, writer, artist, poet, philosopher, political voice, educator…he was just so many things rolled into one!  As far as women are concerned, my biggest influence was my Telugu teacher in school, Ms. Satyavati. A lot of what I am today (all the good stuff at least,) I give the credit to her. I’ve had some really strong women managers throughout my career in Intel, who really taught me how to balance life, so I would consider them my role models as well.

4. If you had the power to make a decision tomorrow that would contribute to greater gender equality in the world, what would it be and why?
For gender equality, I think the biggest thing that separates men and women is having children. If there was something like every man has to take care of the child for a year, while the woman works and vice versa, then there would be a lot more equality at the workplace.

5. What message would you like to leave for men and women on International Women’s Day?
A quote that I love – “If you’ve not been rejected at least three times a day, you’re not trying hard enough”. Rejection and failure are a sign that you’re moving forward, and not a sign that you should stop.

Shravani Hagargi
Social Entrepreneur

large_Shravani_Hagargi_Web_new1. As a woman, we don’t ask enough for ourselves. What are your thoughts on this?
I feel women are taught by their parents to be grateful for whatever little they get. The societal attitude is that “since you’re a girl, be happy to even get this much”. We are fighting against such stereotypes today but somewhere deep, the habit of not asking still exists. Only a paradigm shift in thinking will solve it.

2. Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to never compromise on my dreams just because a family member told me I couldn’t do it. That I am eligible to do anything and feel anything, on my own terms, irregardless of my gender.

3. If you had the power to make a decision tomorrow that would contribute to greater gender equality in the world, what would it be and why?
I would tell the parents of the world to teach their young boys that girls should be treated with respect, instead of emphasizing so much on how young girls should behave with modesty.  Once boys become men, they should not be in a position where they blame the parents for not teaching them so in their young age.

4. What message would you like to leave for men and women on International Women’s Day?
To women, I would say always move with the mindset that you are never inferior to attain anything.
To men, I would say please don’t ever form impressions of a woman solely by her gender, but by the fact that she is a human being.

Reshma Valliappan
Mental Health Advocate

IMG_20170304_2223261291. As a woman, we don’t ask enough for ourselves. What are your thoughts on this?
I think the concept of desire is considered taboo and has been promoted through the gamut of religion and other schools of life which are all patriarchal in nature. That’s why the DNA of a woman passed down through our social constructs still carries the uncertainty of an ability…to ask for what she wants. Women who do ask for what they want have been morally, religiously, spiritually, socially, politically, intellectually and sexually bullied. They are labelled as sinners, witches, having borderline disorders, deviants, outcasts, easy, etc. Her wants cannot be directly manifested from her but must be in context to pleasing someone else, which is the biggest hypocritical stance our societies and cultures encompass.

2. Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Good job! You should have rebelled much earlier. Eat your apple of temptation daily. 🙂

3. Who are your role models?
My mentors – mostly all women who have existed in their own true authentic selves to enable me in finding my own in the mirror.

4. If you had the power to make a decision tomorrow that would contribute to greater gender equality in the world, what would it be and why?
To ride my shooting star and drop stardust on people’s hearts so that they open up! Because the truth is we are not gender beings but emotional beings who are trapped in intellectualizing life instead of living it. Everyone prefers rocket science engagements instead of matters of the heart, which is the core of what makes us humans, but that’s the paradox of civilizations. We need to move ahead from discourses of men and women. Sometimes we are trying to fix what is not broken, is beyond broken and cannot be broken.

It’s our bodies that are defining our genders and every other discourse which limits how we evolve as humans. Why can’t we just stick to being good humans and not good men and women? When our gender becomes the definition of our daily lifestyles, it becomes the starting point to our problems  in how we view and accept ourselves and the world around us. Stop self-bullying and self-victimization. Open your heart out for another and that takes care of all inequalities.

5. What message would you like to leave for men and women on International Women’s Day?
Empower our girls to know their bodies and wants, understand their rights and protect themselves. Empower our boys to know their emotions and express their pain.

Uma Ramakrishnan
Scientist, TIFR

uma_WG_pic1. As a woman, we don’t ask enough for ourselves. What are your thoughts on this?
I think this is true. In terms of career opportunities, we hesitate because we feel others may have worked harder, or that we don’t really deserve whatever we are asking for. In terms of time at work for personal commitments, we don’t usually ask at all! For example, many meetings happen at 5 pm, when it is difficult for women with families to attend. But women seldom ask for a change on such things because they don’t want to look weak. Data from academic institutions suggests that women always apply for promotions late.

2. Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Chill out and enjoy the ride! This moment you are in, its only right now. Tomorrow will be different. Also, try to be in the present. While at work, don’t worry about kids and while at home don’t worry about work!

3. Who are your role models?
My mentors during my postdoctoral research at Stanford University – Prof. Joanna Mountain and Prof. Elizabeth Hadly. I admired them both tremendously. By being wonderful encouraging people, doing research at a top university and managing family life, they were a real inspiration.

4. If you had the power to make a decision tomorrow that would contribute to greater gender equality in the world, what would it be and why?
That’s a hard one! I wish women could internalize that they are free to try for whatever they would like to achieve without fearing anything.

5. What message would you like to leave for men and women on International Women’s Day?
India has many incredibly talented women, but their voices are not heard. In your daily interactions, try and listen to the women around you. They may have something interesting to say!

Thank you Lakshmi, Shravani, Reshma and Uma for your interesting inputs.

To the rest, celebrate your being with all you’ve got, and have an amazing Women’s Day!

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