Monday, June 11, 2012

IIPM Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri on 'DO NOT BE AFRAID TO DARE'

“Attacking is the only secret. Dare and the world always yields; or if it beats you sometimes, dare again , and it will succumb.” --William Thackeray

Do not be afraid to do different things; things, which had never been done before by any woman; for if a whole lot of women had not dared, the world would not have been the way we see it today.

If she had not dared to enter a “man’s profession”, we would not have discovered radium. Marie Curie went on to become the first woman to win the Nobel Prize; and she said, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” If it hadn’t been for these daring women who took enormous chances and made great discoveries in spite of or rather because of the resistance they faced in the male-dominated field, a lot of mysteries would not have been solved. If research is to be believed, then according to the book The Madame Curie Complex, women scientists have often asked different questions, used different methods, come up with different explanations for phenomena in the natural world, and in doing so, have transformed forever a scientist’s role. They have also proved that the concept of ‘male professions’ is a myth. If decades ago, Madame Curie had to fight hard against the general perception of people that science was not for women, then today a whole lot of women are fighting the perception that ‘technology’ is not a field for women. Those are daring women like Sheryl Sandberg and many more who have worked hard to change this mindset and pave the way for future female leaders. It’s not surprising that this time, IBM decided to appoint Virginia Rometty as its first ever female CEO, something unheard of in technology companies. However, women like Meg Whitman (e-Bay) and Carly Fiorina (HP) have already shown that women are as capable of handling technology as men!

The world may not always have been fair to the fairer sex, but it has not deterred many from daring to live their dreams. According to an old Chinese proverb, women hold up half the sky. Do they get their ‘half’ of the pie on earth too? We still live in a world that does not do justice to women, and this fact has been highlighted in the numerous true stories compiled in a book aptly named Half the sky. The best part is that these are stories of courage, of hope. These are stories of how women across Asia and Africa turned oppression into opportunity. One story is of a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery who had the courage to run away and start afresh. Today, she runs a thriving retail business. Another heart breaking story is of a woman from Ethiopia who suffered devastating injuries during child birth. Not only did she fight for survival but in time, became a surgeon. Ordinary women, but with extraordinary stories. They may not have changed the world. No, not yet. But they dared to change their world; that’s what courage is all about.

It’s time each woman dared to change the rules and dared to live her dream. 

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