The Asian woman’s definition of ‘I’ has evolved vastly over the past century. With the stereotypical roles of women fast unravelling, it is no longer acceptable to only define the woman by her place in the home, in the workplace and within society. We’re fast transcending these boundaries, and with female figures pathing the way globally, this has inspired girls and women to do the same on a local level.
As I write this article, I take this opportunity to reflect on these roles of mine – as a mother, as a businesswoman and as someone who is highly involved with my local community. ‘I’ am what the world sees of me, but the world needs to understand who I am. Whilst these roles do not define me, they have served as powerful platforms in empowering females around me.
Taking on the role of Maatrutva – motherhood, my role within the home is extensive. On the surface, there is cooking and cleaning, food shopping and DIY, but looking beyond the rigmarole of school runs and bickering teenagers it is truly incredible to ponder on the notion that my husband and I hold this compelling bond with these humans that we call our children. I am not only their mother but also their educator, their role model and their friend, with the aim of instilling the correct sanskaar to guide them in becoming good people, in working hard and in helping others. To encourage them to be better than I am in all avenues. Is that not evolution at its’ finest? The maternal desire for her children to evolve and thrive for the benefit of future generations?
As with my work, I’m a successful business owner within the financial industry – one of the most, if not, the most male-dominated industries to exist. Being mistaken for the PA at conferences where men make up 90% of the room can get a little bit awkward when I mention the name of the company that I own! It can also prove to be challenging to be heard and to succeed at times, but as most women will be able to relate – we are a powerful and determined species, never taking no for an answer!
Whilst my day-to-day work centres around helping others, the act of Kartutva (dutifulness) – helping people to buy their first home, to upscale to their dream home and to invest in the property market, the act of assisting people extends far beyond this. On a deeper level, my role as businesswoman aims to inspire women to start their own businesses, to succeed in their ambitions and celebrate their successes – the fact that I refer to myself as a successful businesswoman is an example of this, and I hope other women feel as equally empowered to refer to themselves in the same way.
In the wider community, my desire to help others and perform seva, parallels my work ethic. By running a Gujarati school on weekends, this allows me to fulfil the Netrutva aspect of womanhood – leadership. The ability to teach students, equip them with knowledge which will remain with them for life and mould their outlook on life is extremely gratifying – again being able to better future generations and encourage them to do the same.
Overall, we are more than just women in the home, the workplace and in community; we cannot only define the self using labels assigned to us by society, but if we can use our roles as mothers, businesswomen and educators as a platform to better those around us, we are fulfilling our roles of Maatrutva, Kartutva and Netrutva (leadership) to better ourselves as people, for ourselves and for future generations. By concentrating on the ‘I’, the world will concentrate on you…