At a party I attended recently, a woman narrated how at her job interview she was asked if she was planning to get married soon. The question angered us all, as we asked, “Why aren’t the men ever asked the same question?”
The discussion led to Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi’s recent statement on work-life debate where she declared that women can’t have it all. Of course, her statements created a lot of furor; the feminists were the ring leaders as the ones, who after their 9-5 jobs go back home to cook for their families, wondered what the big deal was all about.
But a question that hovers on my mind is why can’t we have it all? Why is it that we have to always choose?
While I am still trying to figure an answer to that, there is a new debate that has been ignited and this time by a TVC. And I am sure, by now, everyone would have seen the latest Airtel data services advertisement.
The TVC shows a woman boss ordering her subordinates to finish an assigned job no matter what. It turns out that the woman boss is the wife who goes back home to cook for her husband who happens to be the junior she had ordered. The ad is about the telecom giant’s data services, but the buzz created by it on the social media has nothing to do with the services.
‘They couldn’t afford a cook?’ is the question everyone needs an answer to. As many applaud the first half of the ad for showing the woman as the boss, there is another set of people who can’t digest the fact that she went home and cooked.
While people are criticising it, I ask what is wrong in that? What if it was one of those days when she wanted to cook for her husband? Is that a wrong thing? Most of us have seen our mothers do that for years and sometimes we do it too. Does that make us less of a feminist? She a boss and she loves to cook.
Would we have the same reaction if the genders were reversed? Most of us would have gone ‘awwww’ on the man cooking for his wife.
The question here isn’t about who cooks or not. What is needed is a changed mindset. The husband/employee is fine with a wife who is also his boss. This is a good move in a patriarchal society. So instead of debating on the latter half, we need to focus on the first.
The ad is forward looking, it should, according to me, be applauded and not criticised. It is a reflection of the fact that a woman can have all that she wants. It’s a choice she makes, and no one can dictate her.