Capacity should define you, not gender. Each year March celebrates the achievements of women across the world, and brings to the forefront discussions and deliberations on women issues. One that has found voice in recent years is ‘women at the workplace’ where we talk about the glass ceiling, reservation, equal pay, workplace harassment, opportunity gaps and more.
What is heartening is that more and more women today do not let their gender limit their potential. And many of the young women who have pushed the limits and created space for themselves in male driven careers and leadership positions are those that had the privilege of being raised by parents who did not discriminate. Gender equality must begin at home because this allows an individual to find their value and make choices and decisions.
But even in the current context, gender does define you. You are judged on your gender rather than your capabilities. Women have to work harder than the average man, and recognition does not come easy. Women still are the nurturers and givers in most relationships despite being sole providers or financially more successful. The truth remains that women are significantly underrepresented in most domains, especially entrepreneurship. And while women are striving to overcome various barriers, the dialogue and conversation needs more men in it. In entrepreneurship, public and private sectors must work towards addressing the barriers that hold women back. Access to capital and market networks, embracing diversity and supporting women’s entrepreneurial growth through technology are areas that can be immediately worked on.
Enterprise is a form of power, and more women need to get into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Not just for economic independence but to advance and promote other women to exercise their material power. Every example of female leadership is going to transform someone’s life.
For women, I strongly believe, it is time we stand for meritocracy and capability instead of tokenism. It’s time we question ourselves every now and then about what we think defines us. Is it the car, the house, what I wear… or is it the purpose of my life? The answer is easy – it is always purpose. Also remember, purpose isn’t external; it’s what you own inside.