“I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Woman! Hard to describe them in few words. But if there was any word that could possibly come close to their brilliance is chef d’oeuvre – a Masterpiece.
If we were to describe her in a feeling universe, her beauty radiates from her heart. This place is is bigger than any place in the World you could ever imagine. Love ,Compassion, Sacrifice, Patience, Tolerance, Humility, Perseverance and Persistence – are one of many shades of her beauty. There is nothing like a woman who knows her real beauty and how rich she already is just by being a woman. The strength of a woman lies in being a woman.
But knowing your strength as a woman is different from actually empowering yourself.
Knowledge is knowing the information printed in the cookbooks and wisdom is actually cooking. Focusing on life as a platform to empower yourself with the good that you desire EVERY SINGLE DAY is true empowerment. Imagine what you could do if you could give your everyday to it. There is no faculty, industry or platform that has yet to be excelled by women. From being war heroes to being on the moon, from running massive corporate empires to running a country. Women from different centuries, continents,castes ,culture and religion have been there and done it all.
Recently I was at a seminar and was asked to give my take on the problem of married housewives going through an unending phase of boredom after marriage. Well as much as I love to acknowledge the fact that maintaining a house and raising kids is one of the most challenging jobs in itself. I urge my readers to think again. How could you encounter problem of boredom if being housewives is your ” full time” job. This article is not for the housewives who are busy doing what they do. This is for the one’s who are hungry to do more and be more and are constantly finding ways to achieve that dream.
First and foremost I feel there is always a way to express your creativity and talent. Living in a generation where you have a world of information just at the tap of your finger, you couldn’t actually ask for more. The resources are all around you to start that first business or the dream project that you have been waiting of all your life. All you have to do is be hungry and curious and ready to take the plunge. Risk a little and careless of what other might think. There is one destination and hundred different ways to reach it. There is nothing to Fear. Fear is just the big brother of procrastination and complacency. The day you decide to act, is the day you will feel empowered. As it all lays within you.
All my life I have been raised among st strong amazing women who knew their value and were posed for greatness in their respective fields. Yes they were wives ,mothers , sisters and daughters but they were my Heroes of the real World. Starting from the women I know in my personal life to all the women I know and admire for who they are and what they stand for. I wanted to share my thoughts of some amazing women who have fascinated me by what they were able to create through their life time and continue to create even today.As its always good to lead by examples,I have put this list together for your perusal.
I would love to start with somebody without whom I would not be here today. My mother, Bhagwati J. Patel, a Judicial Officer who served Gujarat Government for more than 35 years in more than 10 different cities including Vadodara and Ahemdabad. She was raised in Billimora, a small town in Gujarat. When she was in her teens her day started at 4 :00am am everyday! It entailed milking the cows, distributing the milk,going to school,cooking for everybody in the family and going out again in the evening to tutor other kids for some pocket money and then coming back home, doing home work and calling it a day only to get up at 4 :00 am again and do the same things all over again. One of the most honest,respected and dedicated judges in the history of Judiciary, she recently took a voluntary retirement. Being her daughter and experiencing life in her shadow I learned what it is to be a woman of substance. I have yet to come across a more honest and dedicated officer and woman like her. She is the first person I look upto when I think of Women of Steel and substance in my personal life. She is not only a great homemaker, amazing chef but also a great teacher. A strict disciplinarian who taught us to do the right thing and follow our dreams no matter how extreme the situations in life get. After her retirement she resumed work as an attorney to help the poor people of the stat to fight legal injustices. She is my no1 Hero.
Now coming to a wider platform of Women of our Country and around the World who have changed and inspired the World in very many ways. Just reading this will remind you of your own strengths and hopefully will make you think differently of how amazing you already are and how much more brilliance you could hence achieve.
Kiran Bedi: Kiran, An Indian social activist and a retired Indian Police Service officer. Bedi joined the police service in 1972 and became the first woman officer in the IPS. She has also founded two NGO’s in India: the Navjyoti Delhi Police Foundation for welfare and preventative policing in 1988 which was later renamed as the Navjyoti India Foundation in 2007, and the India Vision Foundation for prison reformation, drug abuse prevention and child welfare in 1994.
Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi: An Indian-American business executive and the current Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue. According to Forbes, she is consistently ranked among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
Shakuntala Devi: (November 4, 1929 – April 21, 2013) An Indian writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the “human computer”. A child prodigy, her talents eventually earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. As a writer, Devi wrote a number of books, including novels and non-fiction texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology. She also wrote what is considered the first study of homosexuality in India. It treated homosexuality in an understanding light and is considered pioneering.
Chanda Kochhar: Beginning her career at ICICI as a management trainee in 1984, Chanda Kocchar has conquered the steps of ranks ladder and has reached the post of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Bank in May 2009. Under the leadership of Kochhar, ICICI Bank won the the ‘Best Retail Bank in India’ award from 2001 to 2005 and ‘Excellence in Retail Banking Award’ in 2002 by The Asian Banker. She was also awarded “Retail Banker of the Year 2004, “Business Woman of the Year 2005” and “Rising Star Award” for Global Awards 2006 by Retail Banker International. She has been consistently figured in Fortune’s list of “Most Powerful Women in Business” since 2005. She was also ranked at number 20 in the Forbes “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list” in 2009. She was honored with Padma Bhushan Award by the Government of India in 2010.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw :A successful entrepreneur, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the Founder, Chairman & Managing Director of Biocon, the biotechnology company delivering bio-pharmaceutical solutions. She also holds the post of Chairperson of Syngene International Limited and Clinigene International Limited. She started Biocon in 1978 and spearheaded its growth to an internationally recognized bio-pharmaceutical company that focuses on diabetes, oncology and auto-immune diseases. She was awarded the Padmabhushan for her services and contributions to the biotechnology in 2005.
Naina Lal Kidwai: Being the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School, Naina Lal Kidwai began her career at ANZ Grindlays (1982-1994). During 1994-2002, she worked at Morgan Stanley as Vice Chairman of JM Morgan Stanley and Head of the Investment Bank in India. In 2009, she became the Group General Manager and Country Head, HSBC India. She was repeatedly ranked in the Fortune global list of Top Women in Business, 12th in the Wall Street Journal 2006 Global Listing of Women to Watch and listed by Time Magazine as one of their 15 Global Influentials 2002. She received the Padma Shri for her work in the promotion of Trade and Industry.
Kaplna Chawla: Kalpana Chawla (1962 – 2003) Born in Karnal, India. She was the first Indian- American astronaut and first Indian woman in space. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster.
Indu Jain: Indu Jain is the Chairperson of India’s largest and most powerful media group, Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd., which owns the Times of India and other large newspapers. She is an entrepreneur, a spiritualist, an educationalist, a patron of art and culture and a humanist. She also holds the post of the Chairperson of The Times Group. She addressed the United Nations in 2000 at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders.
Mallika Srinivasan: The Director of Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd (TAFE). Upon completing her MA in econometrics from Madras University, she went to the U.S. and did her MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Joining the family business in 1986, she gradually converted TAFE into a hi-technology company and within a span of 2 decades, she accelerating its revenue turnover from 85 crores to 2900 crores.
Preetha Reddy: The Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, one of the largest healthcare conglomerates of India. She is also one of pioneer businesswomen of India in the segment of healthcare industry. Under her leadership, the Apollo Specialty Hospital grown to a level of being known as a major oncology referral center in Asia. Apollo is also considered to be one of the few places with facility to offer bone marrow transplantation. The hospital was first to perform cord blood transplantation in India. She was graduated in Chemistry from the University of Madras and has a post graduate degree in Public Administration.
J. K. Rowling: (Author) Rowling first came up with the idea of a boy discovering he was a wizard on a delayed train to Manchester. But it would be seven years before that idea would become a book.After her mother’s death, Rowling left for Portugal to become a teacher and married a Portuguese TV journalist. They were only married for eleven months, and Rowling was fired from her teacher job for day-dreaming. She was now an unemployed and single parent. She admits to having lived in a mice-infested flat, struggling to raise her daughter on a welfare check of £70 a week. Unable to spend money on heating, she regularly warmed up in cafés, where she revisited the idea of Harry Potter.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was initially rejected 12 times. But the rest is history; today, Rowling is author of the best-selling book series in history.
Oprah Winfrey: (Media proprietor) When she was a baby, Winfrey’s parents separated and left their daughter to live with her grandparents. For the first six years of her life, Winfrey wore dresses made out of potato sacks. When she turned six, her mother came to get her. Winfrey was abused by her mother’s relatives until she was sent to live with her father at the age of 14.
He was strict and would not accept anything less than what he thought was the best for her. This change of environment turned her life around. She became an honor student, won a scholarship and became the first African American woman to become a news anchor, all at the age of 19.She later became the host for an early morning talk show named AM Chicago, which was later renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. Rest is history.
Ursual Burns: (Chairwoman and CEO of Xerox). Burns, one of three children who shared two absentee fathers, was raised by a single mother in a housing project in Manhattan. The area was known for its gangs. Despite their poverty, however, Burn’s mother rigorously worked two jobs to send her children to school. It paid off and Burns went on to study at NYU. As she was completing her master’s degree, Burns signed on to work at Xerox as a summer intern. She permanently joined the staff a year later and quickly rose through the ranks and became CEO.
Hilary Devey: Founder and CEO of Pall-EX. After her father was declared bankrupt, Hilary Devey’s family lost everything. Devey left school at the age of 16 to earn some money, landing herself in sales and logistics. She admits that it was hard work, and gave up her social life in order to work extra shifts for cash.After two failed marriages, Devey finally grabbed hold of that one idea that would make her a millionaire within three years. There was just one problem: none of the banks would back her. She had to sell her house to get the financial backing she needed.Now, she is not only CEO of freight distribution network Pall-EX, but even garnered a TV spot on BBC’s Dragons’ Den.
Meryl Streep: Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 18 times, and has won it three times. Born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, Meryl’s early performing ambitions leaned toward the opera. She became interested in acting while a student at Vassar and upon graduation she enrolled in the Yale School of Drama. She gave an outstanding performance in her first film role, Julia (1977), and the next year she was nominated for her first Oscar for her role in The Deer Hunter (1978). She went on to win the Academy Award for her performances in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie’s Choice (1982), in which she gave a heart-wrenching portrayal of an inmate mother in a Nazi death camp.
There are many successful career women out there – in business and in other fields. Researching and learning about their background and career paths will help to motivate and inspire you. Reading their stories will give an idea of what the path to success looks like and what obstacles you might encounter along the way. The web is a great resource for researching successful business women. There are some interesting and insightful articles on websites such as Forbes and Harvard Business School. You can also read the memoirs or biographies of a number of successful women and gain an insight into their professional experiences – both good and bad.
Hopefully this article urges you to think differently and empower you to be the best YOU.