Sunday, September 19, 2010

Can Women Have it All?

Modern Indian women have it all. Or so you would think. They have a multitude of career doors opening for them like never before; they have a slowly but surely liberalizing societal system, which doesn’t frown upon love or inter-caste marriages with as much furrows as it did before – so they can choose the man of their dreams; they have an extended family to fall back on in case of help (parents, in laws, or maybe slightly more extended families) despite opting to go nuclear in some cases; they have agencies (some reliable and some maybe not) to help them get all sorts of supplementary help through cooks, drivers, maids, part-time full time hired help and etc, and mushrooming day care centers. With such a support system, you would think Indian women indeed have it all.

And yet, over the years I have seen so many discontented women, broken dreams, guilt-ridden mothers, stressed-and-depressed career women and I’ve wondered where lay the problem. I’ve known successful career women sick to the pits about a bawling baby in a maid’s arms back at home. I’ve known women who have abandoned lucrative careers for the sake of their children, and feeling guilty about “just sitting at home”. I’ve known women in their late thirties spending thousands in fertility clinics and lamenting the fact that they didn’t stop their career juggernaut to have babies, or were too scared to take on the responsibilities. I’ve known mothers struggling with freelance careers in the hope of having it all, but unsatisfied at having ‘nothing’. And I’ve known women who seem to have it all – a fantastic career, wonderful children, and a lovely home, and are so stressed by it all, that given an option, they would take a completely different path!

So where is the problem?

I think it lies in choices and more importantly in compromises. Women while indulging in their dreams forget that they have to make compromises, right from the time they enter into a relationship to when they get married and have children. And they forget that they have to make hard choices, keeping in mind these compromises and most important of all to be happy or teach oneself to be happy with their choices -- compromise-ridden as they might be -- and whether their own or sometimes meted out to them. And above all, not to fret over the ‘what could’ve beens’ because in reality there are no such things, or compare yourselves to other women, because every women and every situation is different.

As to the question if women can have it all, maybe Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce answered it best with, “You can have it all, but you can't have it all at the same time."

What has been your experience? Do you think women can have it all?


  1. I quite agree with General Quentin Bryce. I think it all boils down to prioritizing and making the best in a given situation. As women, we have the ability to adjust, blend, and nurture in any given situation - it is how we are built. However, I increasingly find that women today want to shun their basic female identities thinking that being a woman in itself is a compromise as it makes them soft. This is a shame because we are built to be able to juggle a million different things at one time. I find that women who are the happiest and do in fact have it all are those who are comfortable in their own skins -- this is truly the key to long term success and satisfaction. Its like they say, 'when life serves you lemons, you make lemonade!'

  2. LOL...well i totally whole heartedly agree with what Priyanka just commented(loved the lemons to lemonade comment!). It seems women have stopped bein' themselves ( majority, i'm not stereotypin' here), an' have been tryin' to conform themselves to this mould that they have cast for themselves(results o' media, assumed changin' social values...etc. factors involved in definin' the mould). The result is confusion an' an' despondency. If women just be themselves, or atleast be honest with! i don't know, it would be wonderful.