Investing in women for a better world

Article by: Manasa Sai, Senior Consultant

The word ‘investment’ brings in an image of money in my mind. However, when I think about it from a working women’s perspective: investment means money, the faith that people have on me, and the kind of responsibilities that I am given in an organization to work with.

I remember my first salary negotiation as a college graduate. The company offered a ball park of my monthly income and I used all my cards to negotiate for a better pay. Finally, the interviewer using a soft tone told me that “look men use money to take care of their families whereas women use it for shopping!”. So I decided to share a beautiful story of how I spend my money.

I generate active income by working for an amazing company named “AVTAR – The Power of Diversity”. As soon as I get notified about the pay remittance in my mobile I mentally calculate how much I should invest in my LIC policies, my brother’s education, our family’s healthcare insurances, and the last minute household purchases. Though my brother tells me that his certification is not important, I tell him that investing in self-development will never go a waste. I then sit down to re-check if I can spare some money to spend on my sketch book and the acrylic paints because the artist in me wants to revamp her painting skills. Wow! I didn’t know that I would become this person one day. To conclude, investing in women is like investing to uplift an entire family. If we handover money to a woman she will immediately start thinking about: keeping her family fed for as long as she can, to educate her siblings/children, to allocate money to support every family member’s personal goals, to pay all the internal and external bills, and to cover expenses that you never anticipated. Despite all that mentioned she will also save some money for the next month’s expenses just in case something goes wrong (this is where overthinking helps us :)).

It is a wonderful idea to invest in women in terms of giving us bigger responsibilities as well because women feel guilty of not being able to complete the given responsibilities on time. If someone tells us that they ‘believe in us’, until we get the acknowledgement that the task is successfully completed we will never be able to sleep peacefully. My dear readers let us break our biases and invest in women for a better world.

AVTAR offers “B-Divine Unconscious Bias” workshop for Organizations, so do enroll and become aware of your biases.


Two Stories: Ambition and Choice

Article by: Athira Premarajan, Research and Content Development Associate

Women. A word that carries umpteen meanings and incredible potential. A self-made piece of art that refracts colourful strands in various forms as strength, knowledge, beauty, courage, and whatnot. Framing the capabilities of a woman together itself is a gargantuan task for the tremendousness of it. Rather than opting for a descriptive format, here are stories of two different women, whose lives took a U-turn towards the side of accomplishment.

An ideal figure is the one whom we look forward to. There is an ideal daughter, the ideal teacher, an ideal character, etc. Most of us are taught to learn from someone who has been successful or accomplished something in their lives. Most Indian parents usually asks to look at how a neighbour’s child performs: “Look how Rashi is studying. She always comes first in class and never goes out with those crazy friends of yours every evening. Why can’t you be like her?!” Just a typical parental response. It must not be new to anyone. Have any of these parents wondered what their daughter or son has that Rashi doesn’t? No. There is no proven data as such but mothers are often seen on the judgement bench and measuring her child in comparison with the neighbour’s child. Neha, who was a victim of this torment once lashed back at her mother. For nothing else but to establish her interest in Arts and not Science. Anyone who has gone through the trouble can predict the aftereffects of this. Yes, it was like the end of the world…!

It was a busy morning, and Rashi was never more exhausted. Her kid had lost his pencil box and husband his belt. After the tireless effort – searching and finding, Rashi finally made it to the kitchen for wrapping up the tiffin boxes for both her kid and husband…

One might wonder how sadistic the author is. One story idealizes Rashi and the next thing she is tirelessly working towards the happiness of her new family. We knew from the previous story Rashi’s potential and how the neighbours envied her talent in studying. Hard or not, this is sometimes the reality. Rashi was a brilliant student at school. She never gave a chance to upset her parents with any of the struggles concerning her studies. She battled through to become a software engineer. Soon after into the job, she was married to a banker and had to give up her hard-earned career which her parents wanted for her. Not long was her journey from a corporate building to her in-law’s. Strangely uncomforting, she sailed through anyway.

…Soon, they were out of the house for confronting their daily actions. Rashi, having done with all house chores, sat in front of her laptop eager to check her inbox. A former software engineer turned food vlogger; she was a hit online. She is finally happy with her choice of career and is looking forward to expanding her brand. Her loving husband kindled the path to this, and now she is content with her life and choices.

An ally is what some people miss. If you find yours, call yourself lucky, like Rashi. Or sometimes like in the case of Neha, you need to put your foot down on establishing and going forward with your ambitions. Here, Rashi’s ally was her partner.

…! Neha was grounded for the rest of the week. She was not allowed to go out and play with her friends and all her watercolours, oil pastels were confiscated. Her table, which used to be an artist’s palette turned out to look more like an apothecary table, only with books. But she was a tough little bird, which her mother realized late. She protested, sat hungry, fell sick until she got back her things.

A few years down the lane, she is now a professor at one of the renowned art institutions in the world.

Intention and perseverance work hand-in-hand. If you lack either one of it, you may not reach where you actually want to. Neha was intentional. She knew what she wanted from the beginning and pursued it later in her life. And in the case of Rashi, though a little later, she also landed in a position which she realized at a later point in life.

It is up to us to decide whether these stories are fictional. What we mostly wonder or get mesmerized is for something which we do not have in us. Fortunate or unfortunate, sometimes there are people who are ambitious for us more than ourselves. Without giving a second thought to any of our likes or dislikes, they decide for us what is best. Take the cases of Rashi and Neha. They tried hard to cope up with their parents’ will. Rashi succeeded and made them proud, and Neha rebelled.  As an individual, what we need to understand is that we are brought up in different circumstances, narrowed choices and unknown ambitions. But, when you realize that something is missing and you really want it, pursue it. And if you are a parent who could relate your actions with the instances in the stories, it’s high-time you sat down for a talk with your kids. Sometimes there will not be someone like Rashi’s husband to show one the path. So, who better than a parent or an immediate family member to support and acknowledge the strength of their dear ones and lead them to the path of success? And who better to stand for one’s dream than oneself? A well of potential is hiding beneath all of us – to be an ally, to achieve heights of success. A diamond was also just a stone once. Unveil your worth.