"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish." - Michelle Obama
Take away the cloying WhatsApp forwards, 'Powerful Women' listings in the papers, and shopping discounts, and not much is left of Women's Day. However, the true essence of being a woman lies in celebrating yourself, not for a day, but the whole year around. But what about our day jobs, on which we spend half our waking hours? The freedom to choose work that we love, and to make a good living doing it, is the right of every woman. No more sticking to gender-defined roles or traditional jobs; today, with some smart planning, every woman can have any career she chooses. Here are some exciting and unusual career options that will fulfill both, your desire to create value in the world and your need to be financially secure in the long term.
Shows like Master Chef have made us fall in love with the painstaking rigour and creative satisfaction of preparing great food. Molecular gastronomists take cooking a step further, combining intuitive cooking processes with science lab techniques such as nitro-freezing, dehydration, pressure and vacuum, to name a few. The outcome is usually a dish that looks and tastes very different from what you'd expect!
Photography is one of those things that anyone, irrespective of gender, age or experience can take up. India has had many famous women photographers such as Homai Vyarawalla, Sooni Taraporevala and Dayanita Singh, who have inspired other women to follow in their footsteps. Photography as a field also offers tremendous versatility in medium, style and subject—from photo journalism to wildlife, travel, fashion, artistic and commercial photography.
Not many women take up scientific research and development as a full-time career. However, it is a field offering vast possibilities and the promise of strong career growth. Industries like technology, pharmaceuticals, food, oil and gas, and FMCG are always looking for technically sound professionals. Like photography, careers in science also offer several avenues for specialisation.
This is the kind of career plan that makes most of us sigh with pleasure. However, being a travel writer also requires a flair for language, a willingness to try new things and strong contacts with travel websites and magazines. There may be those who like the comforts of an air-conditioned office, but honestly, nothing quite compares to travelling the great outdoors for a living!
We are in the middle of a global entrepreneurship boom. See something you don't like around you? Think you can do it better? Go right ahead! From improving agriculture to designing playgrounds and writing software, entrepreneurs are creating value and sticking it to the large, established companies, big time.
Today, there is no dearth of platforms to showcase your musical talent. People like Vidya Iyer, Shraddha Sharma and Shirley Setia have used YouTube to great effect to showcase their skills, winning millions of subscribers and bagging commercial deals. So whether you want to launch a desi band, show off your guitar skills, or be India's first legendary female punk rocker, just go for it!
PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar have inspired thousands of girls and women to consider careers in sport. Films like Dangal and Chak De India are also indicative of the turning tide of expectations and social attitudes towards female sportspersons.
Tired of social media outraging and candle marches? You can make a difference in your own unique way! Try your hand at starting, or joining, a non-profit organisation. The non-profit sector is a great way to highlight and challenge problems in society, the legal system, governance or the environment.
A few years ago, a study revealed that nearly 12% of Indian commercial pilots are women, a fact not remarkable in itself, but huge when juxtaposed with the global average of 3%. With each passing year, the number of women applying for commercial pilots' licenses is swelling. And given the respect, attractive remuneration and other benefits a pilot commands, it's no wonder.
Sky diving instructor
If you love the idea of flying but don't want to bother with a copilot or passengers, consider becoming a professional sky-diving instructor. Sky diving is an extremely complex and technical activity, and you need to do an A license course from a reputed skydiving school in India or abroad. However, it is an expensive proposition, so make sure you plan ahead.
With all the career options out there today, women can achieve anything they set out to. And financial constraints should be the last thing to stop them, as the below video shows.
Smart planning and systematic investment is the solution for overcoming obstacles and preparing oneself to achieve one's career goals. UTI Mutual Fund's Smart Woman Savings Plan is an ally for all women who want to translate their dreams into reality.