The problem with Indira Nooyi's (PepsiCo's CEO) interview about dealing with the guilt of parenthood

3 years ago

The recent interview by Indira Nooyi, Pepsico CEO, and the thirteenth most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes, has been doing the rounds of social media lately. In the frank and honest interview, Nooyi talks about how she deals with parental guilt and how 'women can't have it all'. While I do appluad her for sharing her experience in an honest and non sugar coated manner, I have an issue with the message.  Her experience about her mother shaming Nooyi for not being the perfect mother and her subsequent guilt seems to send out a regressive message. (read the article here )

The message is loud and clear that as a woman you first have to be a mother, wife, daughter-in-law, and daughter and then an ambituous career woman. Because that is what the gender defined roles expect out of you, to have ambition, yes, but top it all off with the most hallowed of all roles 'motherhood'. It's that pressure of exceling in all roles to prove that you are a successful career woman.  God forbid if you decided that your career is your priority, and all the other roles come after it. You will immedately be branded 'aggressive'. 'bossy', 'selfish' even. But would anyone at all ask the same question to a man? Will he ever be branded as 'selfish' for devoting his time and energy to his career? The answer is a painful 'no'. The husband, father, son-in-law, son would be celebrated for having the ambition, for being self-made.

I don't even want to get into the workplace diversity debate here because that's a whole otehr universe. My only two cents here are that as women we need to hold our head high when we achieve something, be proud of it, and break away from the shackles of guilt that bound us. Parenthood and familial responsibilties are shared responsibilities, and thats what makes an equal and beautiful relationship. Build your support systems around people who care and not the one's who question your choices. Because your choices are yours alone and you have earned your right to enjoy them!

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