Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world

I often get asked , what are the biggest challenges I face as a woman leader?

Most often it takes me a while to think of an answer as I am always weary of sounding ungrateful given that my position of privilege and being able to set the tone and culture of our organisations and my home life have often shielded me from the typical challenges women face.

But then, my mind narrows it down, and it always comes back to the same thing -Can women have it all? Are women ever going to be equal to men?

And here is my opinion : No. Not in the way society defines equality today.

I know this will trigger all the aggressive ‘feminists’ out there , but the truth is women cannot be equal to men, women can and are possibly superior to men, but not equal.

Society somehow equates equality with equality in the work place and most often leadership is defined as leadership in the work place- what about equality at home ? What about leadership at home ?

We seem to be so focused on trying to find equality in the workplace that we forget to nurture the superiority we have elsewhere and possibly even in the workplace in certain situations . Today all metrics are linked to financial positions and gain- what about the superiority in women of compassion, love, kindness, nurturing others and being able to multi-task in a way that most men cannot, even with all the technology and support .

This is no way a men bashing and I am guilty of generalising – but aren’t we all?

So here is my advice : women can’t have it all, neither can men. We have to focus on what we want or need to prioritise, wether it is by compulsion or choice and go after that unapologetically.

COVID life has given us an opportunity to completely embrace all the roles we play because never before have they intersected as intensely as they have this past year.

Therefore the challenge we have to choose is : what role do we enjoy the most and are we willing for our identity to be dictated by that without feeling the pain of the sacrifice – because perhaps it isn’t a sacrifice to begin with ? And perhaps we need to stop striving for an “equal future” and remember that the laws of nature will always create opposing forces and imbalances – and perhaps the equality we need to seek actually comes from creating equality between our aspirations and desires with what we set out to do.

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As Executive Chairperson of Antara Senior Care, Tara’s aim is to give a new dimension to senior living and assisted living in India.

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