dentsu India Team

It is a paradox that females are addressed as 'Lakshmi' while also being expected to prove themselves to be more skilled and superior to men in a variety of ways. There's an inherent contradiction in the expectation for women to achieve equality and respect alongside their male counterparts both at home and in the workplace and eventually to have parity in terms of 'Lakshmi' for the same type of work.

All of this causes us stress, disrupts our mental peace, and has a negative impact on our hormones, but we keep going. Even so, we continue to accept testing at work and at home. 

Having said that, how come it is so easy for both men and ‘women’ to treat a male boss with more deference and honor, even though he may have less experience or value to offer to their careers or lives? Conversely, why is it so common for everyone to label a female leader as ‘bossy’, even when she is more deserving and simply fulfilling her duties?

What does it mean to be ‘bossy’? Never heard of a man being bossy!

At home, the same bossy woman is termed too ambitious and criticized for not paying enough attention to people or household chores as she is 'supposed to’ in society’s head. Whereas all she is not paying attention to is herself.

But who cares? We yearn for a society where women are treated equally every day eradicating the need to celebrate womanhood on specific days.  

What do equality and inclusion stand for? Why and how do we want this? I frequently wonder... For me, equality means equal opportunities, pay parity, and not being judged for things a man is not usually judged for. For instance, not expecting women to prepare their own meals daily for work, especially after a long day of work, when there are bills to pay, groceries to buy, and various other tasks to attend to. It's a challenging journey every day, believe me. Include us instead of excluding us based solely on gender.

Just as men conveniently and proudly claim they don’t know how to cook, and have no desire to learn, despite cooking being a basic life skill rather than a task assigned by gender, I wonder why women can't similarly and confidently say, "I don’t know how to drive, and I don’t want to learn," or any other skill for that matter. How do most of us make fun of women drivers on the road and pass on comments like, ‘zarur ladki chala rahi hogi’; ever heard a comment like, ‘namak tez hai zarur ladka chef hoga’? Never, right?

Without denying the fact that men also have to go through their share of struggles with all the burdens of responsibilities, and lack of space for vulnerability,. I want to underline all the struggles that women go through—physical, mental, financial, and psychological. It's only fair to treat women equitably in numerous aspects of life.

If we must celebrate womanhood, let us celebrate her freedom from the hundreds of stereotypes that have caged women since eternity. Unrealistic expectations of every human around us, and definitions of what an ideal woman, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, and mother should likely behave and dress up like. Just like we easily say, ‘Men are like that’; why can’t we say the same for women?

Only by shedding the facade of grandeur and diminishing the sacrifices expected of women can we pave the way for true equality. Let's move beyond shallow compliments about women's appearances and instead emphasize the importance of embracing one's true self. Rather than restricting women to traditional roles as mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters, let's celebrate them as unique individuals, independent of their relationships. It's time to stop perpetuating the myth that women must constantly multitask. Let's encourage women to be kind to themselves and find happiness even in moments of perceived inadequacy.

Stop confining her in the boxes that society has created for women because they were not meant to fit into them. She was blessed with the ability and capability to create and give birth to a new life and all these years we were telling her to fit into different roles and boxes that we forcefully launched for them.  Let her be imperfect, whimsical, irresponsible, boorish, lazy, fierce, non-opinionated, or too opinionated, bossy, flabby, ungroomed, adventurous, unpredictable, or too predictable, impractical or too emotional – just let her be her version of a woman.  

(Ritu Taneja, Group Head - Strategy, Posterscope)