On the occasion of International Women's Day 2018, we asked the women of top b-schools across India to highlight their achievements, views on feminism, the #MeToo campaign and their perception of gender inequality in our country.
“Your prison is golden, your prison is a stage,
No matter how beautiful, it's still a cage.”
- Juan Olivarez
Being a girl child in the family brings a lot of privileges, yet everything comes with a cost like overprotective parents and their never-ending worries. It takes a lot to come out of your cocoon to fly into the stormy sky to prove your mettle. Pursuing an MBA at XIMB was one such decision that I took for myself in order to get out of my comfort zone and unleash my true potential.
How would you explain feminism to a 10-year-old?
For a ten-year-old, who is unaware of the biases present in the world, it is essential to establish the true meaning of feminism, which is equality of the sexes. It is not just about asking one to “respect women” but also doing away with stereotypes like “women can’t do certain things” or “boys don’t cry” because these ideas breed in their minds, resulting into ideologies that create the gender disparity. Not only do we need to make our boys understand that women are at par with them and that they need to respect them equally but we also need to make our girls understand that they are strong enough. We need to instil the confidence in them that there is nothing which they cannot do and the onus lies on us to build their will-power so that they stand on their own after every fall.
Which female icon has inspired you the most and why?
Mary Kom, the Indian Olympic boxer, is an inspiration to every woman who wants to live her dreams. A poor family background and lack of family support couldn’t deter her from chasing her dreams and achieving her Olympic goal. She is an epitome of strength and perseverance who has fought against all odds to achieve such great honours.
What kind of impact do you think the #MeToo campaign created? What are your thoughts and feelings about such movements?
The #MeToo campaign has shown the true reflection of the happenings around the world which usually gets overshadowed. Not only has it been successful in exposing sexual harassment and the contours of sexism but also given strength to many to stand up for themselves. It has made several people realise that they are not alone and has brought women together on such a large scale to fight for their rights and make a stand. I think this is the start of a revolution, an appropriate fightback, because if women don’t make an effort and stand for each other, who else will?
What attitudes towards women have you encountered by men in education - professors and students - that you wish to be corrected?
A girl pursuing mechanical engineering or scientific studies still doesn’t fail to amaze quite a lot of people. Even if higher education has brought about a change in the thought process of people, a significant mass still considers women as less competent than their male counterparts, which is why women are usually not preferred for tasks involving huge responsibility or a lot of physical strength. It is high time women take up more of such roles and do away with the gender disparities.
Having gotten the benefit of elite education, how do you plan to pass it on to other disadvantaged women?
I wish to fund the higher education of at least one girl child in my life so that she can pass it on to someone else. I believe little efforts can make a big change, just how a tiny droplet of water makes an ocean.
MBA-BM 1st year
Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar, Xavier University