Thursday, March 16, 2017

Being a Woman and an Entrepreneur !

"The Woman's way to Entrepreneurship." This was the topic for my talk at the K2K business meet organised by Positive commune Entrepreneurship club and Vijayeebhava Alumni at Kannur.
As with any women entrepreneur program, I expected more women audience. But to my surprise, the audience was 95 percent men. I feared that I would be judged as a "feminist" and my talk as yet another feminist propaganda. I started with entrepreneur qualities and then about societal gender stereotyping and then about the challenges women face being in business or to enter workforce.
I was immensely glad to talk to a group of men instead of an all women group. I was very candid about men's behavior towards women in worklife and about the role of family support and the role of husband /father.
Outcome: after the event, around 6 or 7 men came and told me : I will encourage my wife to enter profession or business. 3 or 4 women who attended also came and told me thanks for inspiring and they wish to restart their career. One guy was upset that his wife didnt attend the pgm. He asked if i can talk to his wife. He is pushing his wife to join his business and she is not accepting.
And yes , a few men also teased me saying that they won't introduce me to their wife because they fear i will "spoil" them by making them think independently . For them, wife entering business will be spoiling the peace at home ! ;)

March 8th - being Women's day , there happens several such events. I spoke at 3 such events in this month. Well, i think in such events, the audience should be more men instead of women. I wish to talk about women entrepreneurship in forums where more men are there! That's where gender sensitivity begins.
As a free spirited woman, my expectations from people  around me and the society is as follows.  
Firstly, As a woman, I expect that I am not being stereotyped as a woman but as a Human Being with independent ideas, talents and skillsets. If that's set, next goes my expectations as a human.
As a human, I expect I am addressed as an individual not in relation to a man . Most woman have the tag as a " mother", " wife" or "daughter", where as men have the tag of their profession or family name. Nobody tags them as "father", "husband" or "son" unless the woman is significant.
As a human professional, I don't want any one asking me " How do I balance my family and work life?" Will u ask the same question to a man ?
As a human, I expect that I am allowed my mobility to travel safely. And that i am not judged when I have to travel with another man for any purpose.
As a human , I expect that I have the freedom to pursue my passions, my career, my ideas and my wishes without limitations. A women's career decision is currently bound to the man's career and during marriage it is expected without question that the woman has to resign her job to join her husband and not viceversa(unless the woman is a nurse in UK)
As a human, I get to decide what to wear, how to wear , what to eat and where to eat.
As a human, I get to decide what to buy, how to buy and where to buy.
As a human, I get to decide how to study, what to study and where to study.
And same goes to sex.
As a human, I wish to get protected under law and religious norms and not being victimized if any violence in the form of emotional, physical and domestic violence occurs.
As a human, I wish my fellow human beings treat me with justice, honesty and care when I do the same. And as a human, I dont wish to be praised for all the sacrifices I made or appreciated for all the patience or endurance I have even when I am being treated unequally.
The only challenge is that when u replace the word human in the above list with "woman" , it becomes a difficult aspiration.
Personally, I think I am an empowered and liberated woman in many of the above statements but people like me are just less than 1 percent of the whole population. Lets make the cult to 50 percent in the coming decades! :)
As long as the above is not fully accomplished , women's day celebrations are a myth. Personally, I am not interested in branding myself as a "Woman Entrepreneur" because according to me ,
Being woman entrepreneur is getting monthly periods and traveling in Indian Railways to attend a meeting.
Being woman entrepreneur is having fun watching men who stare at you as if you were an alien.
Being woman entrepreneur is when you go for a meeting and the gentleman asks me "Didnt you boss come? " He was expecting a man who can take decisions . 
Being woman entrepreneur is smiling subtly reading "Women's day Posters " from men and wondering if the guy will actually give the same empowerment to his wife , mother or sister !
Being woman entrepreneur is being vulnerable to flirtatious or sexist approaches from dumb men!  
And Being woman entrepreneur is suddenly media glorifying you during the month of March!  
Every human being have the right to live life their way . Let's give the same with <3 and not by observances or conducting events.  Let's celebrate Gender Equality day instead of Women's day or Men's day or Transgender day.
Men, Women, Transgenders : All have equal rights 



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