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BW Businessworld

Letter From The BW Senior Editor: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

It is these women whose stories we bring you in this collection, all the time knowing that we have been unable to do justice to the hundreds more whose names come to mind even as we put together these profiles.

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma

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Men and women. Two sides of the coin we call the human species. No matter how you push it or twist it, one side can’t be any smaller or bigger than the other. And yet, ironically and bizarrely, one side of the coin has to clamour and cry and fight for its very right to be.

The world needs a special Women’s Day to extort men into respecting them, a mere day to think about the strengths and achievements of women in an infinite timeline that should belong equally to both genders. It’s an unequal world whether it’s the home, the street, or the workplace. But change is afoot.

For long years, the same select collection of women have been featured and re-featured as examples of inspiring success at work. This year, for the first time in recent memory, there are so many young women worthy of having their stories told that it is well beyond the limits of what this sampler can handle — for sampler it is, of what deeply admirable women are doing today.

At Businessworld, it was a unanimous and spontaneous decision to profile this different set of women, whose stories are important to bring out so that they may encourage others to set aside any hesitation they may have about their ability to take up whatever sort of work they want.

We thought it important to profile as wide a spectrum of personalities as possible within the limits of the pages available to us so that it would be obvious to others that the capabilities one needs for different kinds of work can all be distilled down to just two or three things: hard work, persistence and confidence in oneself.

In no small measure, it’s younger women who are leading the changing status of women at work. They are less afraid to strike out on their own, much bolder about defying convention and unapologetic about not doing the expected thing. Almost always, irrespective of social status, they find support from their families where once it would have been unthinkable.

And so, even surprisingly young women, barely out of college, are now being seen to take up life projects without having to wait their whole lives, fulfil everyone’s expectations, before finally getting some well-deserved time to do what they really wanted. I cannot but help comparing that self-confidence with the timidity of women — including of myself — stepping into the working world.

The enthusiasm for startups is another change responsible for young women founding businesses, many of which are based on ideas around giving to society. I find myself awestruck at how work for the underprivileged, for the mentally challenged, or for people in distress is being taken up by women who could have chosen instead to take a well-oiled path to corporate success.

At the same time, those women who had an easy start because of their parents and had more advantages than anyone else, became driven to achieve in ways that would leave no doubt that they’d taken a good thing and made it much better. Oh, these women too had their misgivings and periods of severe pressure and challenge, but they rose above them and more than managed to lead in their industries.

It is these women whose stories we bring you in this collection, all the time knowing that we have been unable to do justice to the hundreds more whose names come to mind even as we put together these profiles.

Paradoxically, although it is Businessworld’s plan to come out with a special issue on special women very year, my personal hope is that one day we will not need to. Because the success of women will be taken for granted.

It will happen. Yes, that other side of the coin is shining.


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Magazine 16 May 2016 women special editors letter