Friday, 4 November 2016

We are raising our girls to be perfect and we are raising our boys to be brave!

I am a working woman and I work for an IT company. Last year in November, I joined a new project which is kind of based on cutting edge IT technologies. After 15 days happened a top level meeting in which all senior people like managers, account heads, and super bosses were invited. During the discussion, one of the senior members asked for summarizing the work that my team had been doing since last 15 days. I noticed for 2 minutes no one answered the question and my manager was really upset seeing the dumbness of the whole team. I started answering the question to best of my knowledge. Honestly, I was nervous and fearful. It was my first interaction with top level people and I was not sure if they were buying my explanation. I tried my best and then the meeting went forward with other topics. After the meeting got over, my account head came to me and said “It was a great reply. Thank you for briefing everyone.” I was so relieved and even happy. It was a bold step for me because I did not have the complete details about the work of my team but I took this question when no one picked it up and I was able to hit it. Then my account head asked me few more questions which I was not able to answer (because of their gray nature). However, I was satisfied that just one bold step made him recognize me out of 25-30 people.
You might not seem interested in understanding what was happening at my office. But the point I want to put here is as a woman I faced the situation bravely battling my fearful mind. I told this story because this is a daring step of my life, out of the very limited bold steps that I have taken in my life so far. This was the first time when I didn’t try to be PERFECT. I have seen many women around me who are working in professions in which they are perfect and they don’t want to change it. I have such female friends who refrain from changing the technology of their work because they fear for not being perfect in that. The reason is obvious. It’s because of they way most of the girls are raised!
Most girls since their childhood are taught to avoid risk and failures. They are taught to smile pretty and place safe. Their parents want to keep them safe inside the boundaries of their home. So generally girls are always cautious about being perfect. Perfect grades, perfect school, perfect outfits and importantly perfect makeup. Girls even want a perfect husband and a perfect life.  Boys on the other side are mostly taught to be tough, rough and are encouraged to face challenges. Boys believe in fixing things, perfection is not their first goal. Mismatched clothes, lower grades and challenging tasks, boys are happy in any situation. By the time they are adults, they master in handling the unknown, awkward and fearful situations. They get habituated to take risk after risk. And they even get the benefit of taking risks.
My mother always taught me the best way to stop a heated argument is keeping ourselves mum. “EK chup Hazar preshania talti hai “. But I now feel she was wrong when she taught this to me and my sister. It eventually made me a reserved and little introvert. Unintentionally parents are making their girls weaker with over protecting them and teaching them to win always. In other words, we are raising our girls to be perfect and we are raising our boys to be brave. This bravery deficit is the reason for women not being 'that' successful in life and relationships which obviously they can. And studies have proved it. Girls are outperforming in every course and exam. Still, women reaching the top levels are very few. So it’s not the question of ability. It is more about how boys and girls approach a challenge of their lives. Women because of their upbringing are always overly cautious. And even if they are ambitious, they want to take fewer risks which ultimately lead them to saturation in terms of success.
All I want to say is our girls need to socialize to be brave instead of socialize to be perfect. This is high time, change is needed for the benefit of our girls in this competing world.
Thanks to Reshma Saujani's TED Talk upon which this blog is based.

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