The amazing Australian PM, has gone viral in her rightful attack on the Leader of the Opposition’s sexism. I found an email I had written to a dear friend, a wife and mother, about a year ago – I think for reasons stated in it, it should be public and not private: (I know there are some generalisations for brevity – apologies to all good men)
“Thank you for your kind words about me. I was lucky to have been surrounded by strong women from my grandmother who raised me (and taught me to do the hoover!) to aunts and all the men in our family whilst they run businesses know the women are the stronger and the backbone. What is unfortunate is people rarely bother saying anything…which is what prompted my email to you…unusually for a bloke I notice stuff! When I wrote my book on women entrepreneurs (prompted by something Lopa Patel had said when we launched a very male-centric TiE) several things re-occurred to me:
- Indian women generally are expected to finish the day job, then do all the traditional household work – food, cleaning etc.
- Indian women are assumed not to be as competent as incompetent male – I know this from Indian professionals
- Plus throw in the politics – at work and at home with in-laws
- Indian men make things harder for Indian women (partly due to gender, partly due to being Indian!)
So you end up running your professional life and family life and personal life as captain of a ship in which a lot of people are dead-weight. Why as you say bother?
Well, despite the fact it usually feels like no one cares, and everyone uses, just maybe someone somewhere observes and gets inspired and without you everything would actually fall apart in several people’s lives and also because as you persevere – then you know for yourself – how much better you are than others, that you can overcome all hurdles and your broad shoulders carry a bigger weight compared to the light-weight credit takers – but you know how good you are.
I guess the bottom line is – our community, the family, the workplace – all would be poorer and a darker place if the good people, like you, didn’t stand up and lift the work of 10 people. And the reward: your own knowledge that you faced all obstacles head on and on your watch your lineage and ancestors looked on proudly….and occasionally a friend who observes and notices writes and email.
Yours in admiration: (and any time you want a break lunch or dinner is on me just let me know)”