Friday, 29 May 2015

“Why Women Cannot Have it All?” ―Professor M.S.Rao

“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.” ―Marilu Henner

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said brutally in her interview with The Atlantic, “I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all.”  She added, “You die with guilt. You just die with guilt. My observation is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total, complete conflict. When you have to have kids you have to build your career. Just as you’re rising to middle management your kids need you because they’re teenagers.”

The fact is that nobody can have it all. There is no point in highlighting it from gender perspective. We must learn to live with realities and balance personal, professional and social life as far as possible to provide meaning to our lives. Hence, Indra Nooyi’s statement doesn’t have any substance and it doesn’t inspire women in any way.  She could not balance her professional and personal life that doesn’t mean other women cannot balance.  When you look at women leaders including Diane Sawyer, Martha Stewart, Estee Lauder, Ruth Hamdler, Debbi Fields, and Arianna Huffington, they have it all. Hence, it is obvious that Indra Nooyi is not an ideal example for work-life balance.  When you look at American President, Barack Obama, he ensures work-life balance. He spends considerable time with his family.

People have their own expectations and work towards achieving them. But life takes its own twists and turns and finally people land somewhere else. We propose something and God disposes something else.  Life is not a cakewalk. We work hard to achieve something while the outcomes are beyond our control. Hence, nobody can have it all.

Challenges for Women

Women undergo lots of challenges at home and office. They have professional roles and responsibilities at office. They must manage office politics. Sometimes, they may face sexual harassment in the workplace. After reaching home, they must manage their husbands, children and parents. It is a tough job indeed!  In fact, women are blessed with several inherent strengths. They can multitask, and are diplomatic. They are expert in soft skills, and are assertive by nature. They are flexible, and can get along with others easily. However, they may not be able to make decisions quickly and may find it tough to manage their emotions. Overall, women are much smarter than men.  

The solution lies in stop comparing it with others. Women must not compare with other women in businesses, careers, children, money and jewelry. To conclude, it is not possible for both men and women to have it all. Especially for leaders and C-suit executives, it is tough to manage their time and juggle their roles and responsibilities from time to time.

“Life is indeed beautiful. It's times when we sink into our hectic and stressful lifestyles that we are blinded and fail to see what we really have.” - Unknown

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Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
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