Oh Pune, I do love you. Four years ago, I came into your life and you were a welcomed me like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. You gave me my first real relationship, my absolute darling kid, great friends and a strong sense of community. You also threw me into the deep end of a career pool; I swam with great vigor and became a self-starter. Part of me wants to celebrate the victories, but another wants to ask- is the city shorting my professional future?
Wait- don’t throw shev pav and daggers at me just yet, I have a point.
Being a working mom is hard- period. I have no regrets about shifting to freelancing or a work-from-home lifestyle to suit my needs, but I expected a boost from the city. I spent too much time (and still do!) obsessing about the absence of a “freelancer acceptance” culture in Pune, but actually ladies- the problem is multi-pronged. How so? Read on. (Working moms- this one is specially for you.)
Recently at conference in Mumbai for working women professionals called AccelHERate, I had the opportunity to listen to some interesting panel discussions about “Women Coming Back into the Workplace” and the acceptance of gender diversity.
Of the three women in the panel- Sarika Naik (Capgemini), Anuradha Ganapathy (Credit Suisse) and Preeti Gupta (Aditya Birla Group), Sarika’s one statement stuck with me – Women, we need to ask and aspire. Ambitions are great, but are we asking for better positions, better roles, better jobs?
Here’s my point- are we asking for more out of our careers? Are we expecting more out of our pitch meetings? Are we asking for more opportunities? Have I asked more out of my Pune, has it fuelled my aspirations? I don’t know the answer yet. It has given me a second chance, but I honestly think it needs a growth revamp.
Sure, we are no longer the stepchild of Mumbai and are constantly evolving, but have our mindsets changed? The sleepy town has come alive, it’s cosmopolitan, but has it embraced the aspire ethos? Frankly, Pune – not yet. Why?
More coming up in the five-part series of The Working Woman in Pune, so stay tuned. In the meantime, leave your thoughts/questions in the comments section, and we’ll chat!