Sunday, 14 April 2013

Why Asian women definitely can't have it all?

Social Media and Internet is abuzz with discussions after the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg called to reboot feminism with her new book Lean In - Women, Work and the Will to Lead.

Based on one of the article - Why women can't have it all, my personal opinion is that an average Asian Women*, across all economic barriers and all sections of the society, definitely cannot have it all. Here are 10 reasons for that.

1. Asian society is inherently patriarchal.
    Men are breadwinners and Women are caregivers.

2. Most Asian societies prefer a male over a female child.  
    Family tree is traced by the male members of the family.

3. Education is unequal. 
    My father didn't have the money to give equal education to all of us, only boys went to good schools.

4. Marriages are unequal. 
    I want marry a girl who is less ambitious.

5. Women are expected to be selfless and maternal with kids on top of their priority list.
     I don't have any problems with my fiance working till we have a baby.

6. Women are groomed to backup men and not compete with them.
    Why do you want to study so much? What more do girls these days want?

7. Men (and Women) do and say sexist things, without even realizing it.
    What is the need for her to work when her husband has such a high profile job. She can quit and stay at home to look after her kids.

8. It's an uphill struggle for women who wants to have it all.
    You girls do not go with the flow by fighting against the system. You are the rebellious generation.

9. Being gentle and mellow are more likeable attributes in women.
    Women who appear competent are often perceived as less likeable. Men don't face this. - Deborah Gruenfeld, Professor of Leadership & Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business

10. Most women don't even dream big because they are told "women can't have it all". 
    The word “ambition” for women is a troublesome one in Asia, often equated with evil and greed. - Jane Horan, the founder a diversity workplace advisory organisation, Singapore.

*My opinion is based on my experience working with many Asians and my travels to South, East and South-East Asian countries. I have no personal experience of other parts of Asia, so this generalization does not apply to North and west Asia.

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