Celebrating the spirit of womanhood, we have Pragya Mittal, a postgraduate student at the Indian Institute of Management, Visakhapatnam, sharing her take on life and womanhood.
1. What was high school like for you? How did it contribute to your personality/ the person you are right now?
High school was like metamorphosis for me. It was the first time I stepped out of my cocoon of safety, my home and started living away from my family in a new city. Things also changed because I shifted to a co-ed school after having studied in an all-girls institute throughout before that. It was also the phase which demanded a lot in terms of focus and hard work to fulfil my career dreams. All this brought with itself challenges in several forms. Whenever I look back to those two years, I see the errors of my ways and the person I evolved into at the end.
2.If money was no object, what would you do all day?
This is simple. I would spend my days in travelling and nights in reading all the books I would have bought during the day.
3. What advice would you give to a 5-year-younger you?
I would say ‘In the end, it doesn’t even matter’.
So, be patient. Think less and worry less. You will see that it is all fine in the end.
4. How do you think women are better equipped to deal with problems as compared to men?
I wouldn’t say one is better than the other in any way. Otherwise, the whole concept of equality between the genders is lost.
But if I still have to point out something then I would say women are kinder and believe in giving. And that makes them stronger because they don’t see expectations as a burden.
They can do so many things even with the mind flooded with thoughts. That is something men can’t do. They tend to switch off their mind while they are doing anything. Women cannot do that and still excel in everything.
5. Many IIMs and other b-schools award extra points for being a woman. What is your take on that? Do you propagate the concept OR Have you faced any backlash for the same?
I do not support this idea to persist forever. But it seems to be a need of the hour for a country like ours. In our patriarchal society, women have started stepping out into the world now. Earlier the number was limited and confined to the urban areas. These extra points can help in promoting the presence and boosting the confidence that women lacked. I think it pays a key role in providing more women with opportunities and help in reaching a gender balance in society. Although, I do not support this rule to stay there forever. If ever the time comes when opportunities are same for both the genders then these points can be and should be removed.
6. Name one incident that you encountered where someone told you, you couldn’t do something because you’re a woman.
Being told what I couldn’t do because I was a girl was a part of my growing up. I couldn’t go out alone because it wasn’t safe. I couldn’t talk a lot because it doesn’t look good. I couldn’t sleep till late because my future mother-in-law would not like it.
But I am happy that things are not the same. The earlier generation has become more accepting of the equality between the genders.
7. If you are out on a date, do you prefer to pay yourself? If you insisted that you want to pay for yourself, how did the other person react?
Absolutely. I do not expect the guy to pay every time. If we want equal rights, we have to be ready to perform equal duties. It is important for my independence and for the other to accept the same.
I have paid on several occasions and I feel that men today are more accepting. My will to pay was always respected.