Despite moving into a technology filled and diverse 21st century, some stereotypes still prevail in the world. One of those stereotypes, still taught to young children, is girls are weak while boys are strong. To small children, it might not make much of a difference. But the psychology is dispiriting, resulting in lesser self confidence and more insecurities in young women. Such messages indicating women are not as strong as men and their bodies are sexual objects lead to women isolating and withdrawing themselves from the community to protect themselves.
But, this has not always been the case. Spartan women, considered to be the alpha women of the Greek civilization, wielded the most power, were strong both mentally and physically and were well educated in arts, music, war, philosophy and much more. At present, there are many examples of women showing true Spartan power. For example, investing her entire life savings worth $ 5,000 into her only business idea, Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, transformed from a frustrated consumer to a fearless entrepreneur. Today, she is one of the world’s youngest self made millionaires running a $ 250 million enterprise.
The Dravidians also believed in equality between men and women. While men were responsible for protecting the society and the women, the women had rights to choose their mates, involve in the society and enjoyed much greater freedom. The Indian society became patriarchal over a period of time post the clash of the Dravidians and Aryans civilizations. The hegemonic myth that girls are vulnerable and weak, while boys are strong and independent formed strong and deep roots at this point in time.
Since then, women have had to fight tooth and nail for every right, recognition and achievement. The tech world is a prominent example of discrimination against women based on the ideology that women are genetically weak. A former Google employee emphasized a similar ideology in a memo titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber detailing the anti diversity and gender stereotypes within the tech world. According to the memo, women have biological issues that have prevented them from being as successful in the tech industry as men and are therefore less interested in high stress jobs because they are more anxious.
While the memo received widespread criticism, statistical data suggests women haven’t infiltrated the tech world or the startup ecosystem equally. Only 14% of business enterprises in India are run by women entrepreneurs despite the innumerable initiatives taken by women to venture beyond their domestic walls to enter the corporate world. Although there have been multiple role models who have broken barriers and brought down walls to emerge as successful businesswomen, the representation of women in the top roles still remains alarmingly low.
Despite the harsh criticism and prejudice, numerous women have defied convention and broken stereotypes to forge new paths and cover areas once considered to be taboo. Aditi Gupta launched Menstrupedia to educate girls about menstruation through comics. Richa Kar opened an entire ecommerce sector, allowing women to browse through lingerie online, after noticing a huge gap in the online retail industry. Globally, industrialist like Indra Nooyi, Meg Whitman, Michelle Obama, Sudha Murthy, Marissa Mayer, Ivanka Trump and Sheryl Sandberg have proven time and again that women can take on more than their male counterparts.
In this patriarchal society, the bro culture is gradually being replaced by strong, confident and tough female business leaders. There is light at the end of the long male dominated tunnel. But there is an urgent need for independent and powerful female role models in the world right now. In an industry that faces a 50 – 50 chance of failure, strong female role models will help to create a world that relies less on labels that reinforce division but rather promote equality. At the end of the day, the qualities that make a great woman are many of the same qualities that make a great man but the difficulties they face and conquer make her a great role model.
Mark Zuckerberg Life Lessons
Mark Zuckerberg is the man who redefined social media networking and gave us Facebook. Starting work on this platform at the age of 19, Zuckerberg quite literally changed the way networking and how some parts of marketing work! Check out these inspiring life lessons from Zuckerberg to motivate you to do better:
1. Always solve problems
Zuckerberg has always looked at what is the most important thing he could be doing in life. Before things get too out of hand, Zuckerberg believes in looking at what can be done to calm down the situation. Take, for example, the data leaks scam. When he started facing a lot of heat from people all over the world, Zuckerberg realised the best way to calm everyone down was by making a public announcement. This not only helped sort things out, it helped people get clarity about what was happening. The lesson to learn here is to address your problems head on and only when you solve them, can you move ahead.
2. Don’t start your business with money in mind
From day one, Zuckerberg always believed in Facebook. He never thought of how much money it could make, but how much of an impact it would have on people. While he may have had to change directions when the idea wasn’t working for Facebook, he never looked at making a profit. Did you know, he was the only entrepreneur who refused to sell Facebook, even when offered a billion dollars? Work on your passion and grow, without money being your priority.
3. Be mindful
One of the things which act as a crutch to your growth is how much attention you give to your critics. Mark Zuckerberg learnt this the moment he decided to make Facebook what it is today. According to him, if you start paying attention to all the noise around you, then you can’t grow and will constantly keep thinking about what people are saying. For instance, if Zuckerberg kept listening to people talk about how Facebook was a negative addition to the society, Facebook would not be as successful as it is. Be mindful of your passions and of how you want to grow. Everything else will automatically fall into place.
4. Bring out the best in those around you
When Zuckerberg started adding people to his team, he realised in order to make a great team, he had to bring out only the best in his employees. From encouraging women to be fearless leaders, to instilling his team with passion everyday, Zuckerberg always worked to get the best out of everyone he employed. In fact, he believed in this principle so much, he appointed Sheryl Sandberg to become the first board member of Facebook!
5. Have a vision
From the very beginning, Mark Zuckerberg had one vision—to have a positive impact on those around him. Since quite a few years, he has been working extremely hard to make this come true. From talking to various world leaders, to making an extremely strong impact with his speech at the United Nations, Zuckerberg has constantly worked to use social media to change future generations. Furthermore, Zuckerberg also aims to use the World Wide Web to eradicate global social problems, a task which he plans to accomplish without using the help of political leaders directly. Despite creating a social media networking platform like Facebook, Zuckerberg never stopped looking at how to impact the world and if he can do this, so can you!
Despite being embroiled in multiple controversies, Mark Zuckerberg always makes sure he has a positive impact on society. If you think we missed mentioning any other lessons from the man behind Facebook, comment and let us know!
Different Kinds Of Fear And How To Overcome Them
While most of us are usually excited about learning something new and are constantly interested in proving ourselves, there are others who are so afraid of doing something in which they believe, they don’t do everything they want. If you feel like you ignored what is your due because of the fear holding you back, then here is how you can overcome the different kinds of fears:
1. Fear of not being taken seriously
For most of us, fear isn’t an all encompassing factor. There are certain aspects of work which make you fear rejection so much, they don’t let your mind work for the rest of the day. In order to stop this from happening, start compartmentalizing. If you know you have meetings with a difficult client coming up, then spend the first half of your day working on less stressful things. If that doesn’t help, then keep 30 minutes aside from your day one day earlier and prepare yourself for the meeting ahead. This will help you get a grip on what is going on and will give you time to assess the situation. One of the benefits of compartmentalizing is you stay grounded and you can prepare yourself for the day ahead. The fear of not being able to confront the unknown is what keeps you keeps you from moving ahead. Stop, analyse and take stock of the situation. Only then can you push yourself through a point to where you can be completely certain of what you want to do in life.
2. Fear of not living up to expectations
Sometimes, the fear of failing to meet expectations can stop you from trying something new. One of the ways to change this is by getting clarity about what is expected from you. When you are given control of a daunting task, talk to your manager or superior about the problems you are facing. The minute you realise what is wanted from the task, you can start working toward completing the task. Understand the feedback you get from your boss and when you get clarity, you can start thinking of your game plan forward. If you keep thinking there are far more things expected from you than there actually are, then you can never overcome your fear.
3. Fear of being let go
One of the biggest fears people have at work is the fear of being fired. While there are several reasons for you to get fired and while you can’t always know when the axe will fall, you can always plan for things. Stay ahead of the curve, understand the industry and stay aware of when the tides may change. If you keep holding on to the fear of being let go, you will never do enough to stay on the job.
4. Fear of past experiences
Often times, we don’t realise we hold on to fear because of something which happened in the past. In order to overcome the issue, learn from your past experiences instead of holding on to them. For example, if you had trouble confronting a bully in school, you might hold on to the fear when it comes to talking to a superior who scares you. To get over the hump, remember you are no longer the person you were in school and you can easily talk to your boss without feeling overwhelmed. Instead of holding on to your past fears, learn from them and realise you have to move forward, not backward.
5. Fear of being considered weak
When you are going through something traumatic at work, don’t be afraid to seek support from people around you. Just because you are asking for help it doesn’t mean you are getting weak and you can’t do things by yourself. Asking for help not only makes you better at your task, it also helps in succeeding at the job you have. No one other than you thinks you are weak. Ask for help when you need it and the moment you get clarity about the task at hand, you not only overcome your fear, you learn something.
There are different types of fear and if you learn how to overcome the blockages, then life will become simple. If you think we missed out on any other ways to overcome fear, comment and let us know!
Coco Chanel Life Lessons
Coco Chanel, the woman behind the Chanel brand, showed the world that fashion transcends the beauty and looks department. Not only did she change the way people saw fashion, she also changed the way people saw women as leaders. While you may know the clothes created by the woman, how much do you know about the lessons taught by the iconic symbol? Check out these truly inspiring lessons from Coco Chanel here:
1. Innovation of any kind needs a vision
When Coco Chanel introduced the world to the Chanel group, she gave women the chance to see a different side of clothes and fashion. At a time when corsets and tight dresses were the norm of the day, Chanel made people realise there was a different way of dressing. Be it the boyish charms, the clean lines or the simplicity of her designs, everyone not only fell in love with her ideas, but with her entire brand. The lesson here? Innovation is necessary to make people see the world in a different way!
2. Create the life you want
Coco Chanel was thrown into the deep end when her mother passed away when she was just 12 years old. Her father, a peddler at the time, was financially strapped and with no way to look after his daughter, put her into an orphanage run by nuns. The orphanage was where Coco Chanel’s love for fashion and clothes started. It was also where she realised she could be who she wanted, despite society telling her otherwise. All she needed to do was grab life by the horns and make the best out of every situation. The nuns at the orphanage taught Coco Chanel how to sew. From the moment she started learning how to sew, Coco Chanel realised she had something very beautiful at her disposal. This skill laid the foundation for Coco Chanel working on what would become her empire, the Chanel group.
3. Your name is everything
When people see the Chanel brand, they think of the woman behind the brand first and then the group. The reason this happened was because Coco Chanel put in so much effort into creating her brand, she made herself be known first. Focus on creating something unique and focus on why your product stands out. Your name is what you make of yourself and when you put in all the effort you possibly can, things will fall into place. Unlike what Shakespeare said, a lot goes into your name!
4. There is power in diversifying
While some brands become famous because they stick to one particular kind of trend, others become great because they know there is power in branching out. Coco Chanel falls in the second category. She taught us, diversification is not only the best way to expand your product range, it is also the best way to ensure financial stability. If one of the multiple things you are working on falls through, you always have a backup.
5. Respond to what the market wants
Perhaps one of the reasons Coco Chanel became so famous was because she gave her audience a product they didn’t think they wanted. Women at that point of time needed to be told they could dress differently and if they didn’t have options to dress differently, Coco Chanel was there to give them the options. Everything Coco Chanel did, she made sure to have her eye on what the market wants and by doing so, she quite literally changed the world.
Everything Coco Chanel did was aimed at making things better for women. If you think we missed out on any other life lessons from the woman behind the Chanel group, comment and let us know!
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