manisha lath

Manisha Lath Gupta has spent 18 years in the Corporate world across FMCG and Banking. After doing sales and marketing roles in Unilever and Colgate Palmolive in the personal care categories, she successfully transitioned into Banking as the Chief Marketing Officer of Axis Bank. Carrying her marketing knowledge into banking, she set up the marketing team and delivered on the brand and business goals and over time additionally managed all the electronic banking channels of Axis Bank. The urge to reinvent herself yet again and chase an idea of ten years prompted her to turn entrepreneur with her start up, the largest and most innovative online art platform to bring together artists, collectors, dealers, galleries and re-sellers onto a single powerful online platform.

Why Women Work? Manisha Lath Gupta

I recently read an article in the Huffington Post about how women in India have jobs and not careers. Citing conversations with a couple of professional Indian women (including a quote from Indira Nooyi), the piece highlighted how a career becomes an afterthought for most women once they don on the role of a wife, a daughter-in-law or a mother. It prompted me to dig out this article I had written a couple of years ago on Why Women Work.

Enough is said and written about why women drop out of work. But I wanted to talk about why women work, and not why women drop out of work. If the world in general focuses on why we work in the first place, there may be a better chance of retaining more women at the work place.

It’s quite simple! We work because we were brought up believing that this is what we would do. Just like parents have dreams for sons, they have dreams for daughters too. And their dream was to see their daughters well educated, financially independent and socially productive. Their pride comes from introducing their daughters for what they do, and not for whom they married. So we work for our parents.

We work because we grew up developing our creativity, our analytical skills, our communication skills, getting a good education, being able to contribute our thoughts within organisations, communities and societies. We work because our work gives us a positive self image, a status in our social circles and a positive sense of accomplishment. We work because we know that if we ever fall on hard times, we will be able to look after ourselves and those who may be dependent on us. We work for ourselves.

We work because that’s the side of us our husbands knew first –either at college or at the work place, when we first met and fell in love. They love to have a friend at home to share their office troubles with, brainstorm their problems with, discuss and debate the corporate world, people and politics. They are proud of their wives for what they do and accomplish. We work for our husbands.

We work because we really make a difference at our work place just like many of our male colleagues. We come up with ideas, we solve problems, we drive growth, and in hard times we cut costs and deliver the bottom line. We get recognition and reward; we earn the respect of our peers. We work for our organisations.

We work because working women contribute to the creation of a fairer, more equal society, and drive many positive changes in the community. We spend our time productively; help the cause of many helpers who work in our offices or homes, either monetarily or through mentoring. Women have more empathy and make better employers or supervisors. We are roles models for the less privileged women who believe that education and hard work can change the lives of their daughters. We work for society.

We work because our children are really proud of us working moms! They love to see their mom dress smartly for office, put in a hard day’s work, give career advice and discuss technology & trends. They love to hear stories from their mom about her experiences and her work place. And most importantly they have a role model in their mom, rather than some other lady on the cover of a business magazine. We work for our children.

But the question women ask themselves most often is can we really have it all? Well nobody has it all. Even the most successful of men do not have it all. But with a supportive partner, good domestic help, determination and some luck, I would say we could strike a decent balance. So long as we don’t take our gender too seriously and look at all situations through the lens of womanhood, we could. If we take the ups and downs in work life in our stride and don’t pick the slightest excuse to throw in the towel, we could. If we resist the pressure to succumb to the ‘time macho’ culture, we could. As long as we keep the long term in mind and just do our best at home and work on a day to day basis, we could. And most importantly if we strive for happiness and a well rounded life, instead of money and promotions, we could.

We owe it to all the people around us to keep working. Work is only one part, but an important part of our lives. We spent the first 25 years of our lives grooming and training ourselves to pursue careers. Our personalities are wired to work, and when we stop going out of our homes to do useful work we become competitive mothers, nagging wives and quarreling employers to our domestic help – doing a great disservice to all those who love us for what we really are!

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