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Why So Many Women Are Insecure And What They Can Do About It

08/03/2015 8:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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An Indian woman works in an office in New Delhi, India, Thursday, April 19, 2012. The 2 billion women living in Asia are still paid less than men for similar work and are extremely underrepresented in top leadership positions, even in wealthy countries such as Japan, the Asia Society says in a report issued Thursday. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

So here we are 40 years into celebrating yet another International Women's day. The United Nations began observing International Women's Day on 8 March in 1975, but the movement so to speak started in 1909 with the US celebrating its first National Women's Day as a tribute to women garment workers seeking better working conditions.

Almost a century has passed and women have come a long way, but gender equality and human rights for women remain pressing issues. We are striving each day to become more informed about our rights at work, legislative rights and equal opportunity rights.

What I would like to look at is where women are in their thinking with regard to their standing in the society and in the world.

Let's take a moment to reflect on how we as women are oriented in our being and our influence. Just the other day I was out for an international study meet, where the women seemed to outnumber the men. Interestingly, the study head was a man and the interpreters were women. This dropped the coin for me for it weaved in perfectly well with my recent reading on how most authority figures in our lives have been men. The study meet was to ponder over the philosophy of Human Revolution i.e. how a change in one person (irrespective of the gender) can bring about a change in the family, society, country and thus the world.

And soon enough during our discussions someone remarked on how her husband already had that state of consciousness. To this I added that my husband didn't sweat the small stuff and focused on the long run. And this approach made him perfectly comfortable in his skin. This cascaded to how women can get caught up in the small stuff even when they have the ability and the opportunity to make a larger difference.

I then had an epiphany about the fact that most men are generally able to 'let it be' and 'let it go' in order to move on to what really matters. Women, on the other hand, frequently end up weaving and getting entangled in a self created web. It may be time to ponder over it with genuine intent.

The insecurity that is activated when someone asks a simple question about work or a new outfit is a result of centuries of conditioning and the difficult struggle to find a place in the world, an individual identity.

Have you ever been guilty of not sharing some work-related information with a female colleague in order to safeguard your own importance in the workplace? Or withholding your maid's details for fear of losing her services to someone else? Have you considered revealing where you got the new outfit that everyone admired so much? Well, you wouldn't want the world to copy your exact style, would you? What about the fact that you ferried your friend around in your car so many times but the favour was never returned?

The common thread running through these webbed thoughts is insecurity - whether it is regarding your job or your relationships.

Give it some thought. Is the woman seeking details doing so to emulate someone with a sense of appreciation, or is it about wanting to become that person due to lack of self-worth? In my opinion, a man is less likely to lose sleep and peace of mind over what someone wore or bother about whether a favour was returned or not. And even if someone copied him in some way, or acquired something similar, he may not spend a precious moment pondering over it. Many women, though, might make it their mission to trump other women. To get a bigger, better, newer, cheaper deal!

"Have you ever been guilty of not sharing some work-related information with a female colleague in order to safeguard your own importance in the workplace?"

There are so many dynamics at play for a woman who has had to negotiate with society and its stereotypes. She fought for her rights to be at the workplace and to have an identity other than just being someone's daughter or wife. The insecurity that is activated when someone asks a simple question about work or a new outfit is a result of centuries of conditioning and the difficult struggle to find a place in the world, an individual identity. A direct outcome of this struggle is the web of mistrust, the fear of being left behind, the doubts about being good enough or the desire to just be like someone else.

Men rarely have to fight this kind of battle. They have a clear road ahead of them and so they carry a sense of certainty and self-assurance. No matter what they give away, no one can take away from who they are.

In my opinion, women need to recognise this. We have to embrace a new mantra - Awe Womaniya! We have to find awe in their hearts for ourselves. Why wait for that word of appreciation and approval when you can embrace yourself?

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