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Top CEO’s Take on Sexism at the Workplace Has Struck a Chord With Working Mothers

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Manisha Girotra is one of the top executives in India. She is the India CEO of Moelis & Company, a Mumbai-based investment bank. In 2007, the famed Wall Street Journal placed her as one of the 50 Women to Watch in their annual survey. And as a working mother, she says her fight isn’t with her work but with gender equality.

Why is it that women have to struggle that much more in order to achieve success?

In a now-viral Humans of Bombay post, she says that having been brought up in a middle-class family, she always harboured the dream of making it big with her career. Despite the fact that many at her workplace thought she would quit after marriage, she has steadily climbed the corporate ladder and had a daughter along the way.

However, she also noticed the double standards that plague women in the workplace. She speaks about how her husband once had to go for a parent-teacher meeting because she was too busy and was actually applauded by the mothers there for being an involved parent.

She says, “He is the best man I could have ever asked for, but why does society place men on a higher pedestal? Isn’t he as responsible for her school and extracurricular activities as I am? Aren’t we equals?”


You may also like: TBI Blogs: This Hard-Hitting Poem About Gender Stereotyping Is a Wake-Up Call for Indian Society


Ultimately, she notes that it is time to stop judging women harshly. It doesn’t make someone a “bad mother” if they choose to pursue their careers and nor should men be put on a pedestal for being an equal co-parent in the upbringing of a child. The goal should be equality.

As she so eloquently puts it, “If we really want to progress, gender equality should be on top of the list — where men and women are equals, where a woman’s career is deemed as important as a man’s and where a man isn’t treated like god for being involved at school or in the house. Just basic equality.”

“I was raised in a middle class family that placed the most importance on education and being financially independent. …

Posted by Humans of Bombay on Saturday, March 11, 2017

Read the full post here: 

“I was raised in a middle class family that placed the most importance on education and being financially independent. I was one of the 50 students hired by Grindlays Bank right after graduating from DSE and I started at the bottom. My first few stints included delivering pizza to my bosses, labelling 15,000 chairs and keeping stock of stationery, but I loved it! It was a male dominated work environment, and most people thought I would get married and quit…no one really took me seriously. But I did everything to excel — I would study long hours after work, I would be the first one to enter and last one to leave. In fact, I met my husband at this company and even though I was married at the age of 24 — my passion to make it never died.
Even when I was pregnant, believe it or not I was working right ‘till the day of my delivery — I finished my meeting and left straight from office for my surgery! Back then, the maternity leave was just 3 short months and there were no creches at work — so I would bundle my daughter up with the nanny, keep her in a hotel nearby and rush in between work to feed her. While my daughter was growing up, I realised that the stereotypes are created by society and on so many occasions by women. I remember, I was traveling for work once and couldn’t attend her parent-teacher meet, so my husband took her instead and all the mother’s there applauded him for being so ‘involved’— he came back feeling on top of the world but for mothers it’s considered a part of their duty and that’s where the problem lies. I was termed, a ‘bad mother’ because I couldn’t make it and this is 1 of a 100 incidents. Once when he took her to a birthday party, everyone there praised him and said, ‘your wife is so lucky — you’re a great husband’. He is the best man I could have ever asked for, but why does society place men on a higher pedestal? Isn’t he as responsible for her school and extra curricular activities as I am? Aren’t we equals?
When she was 2 years old and had 104 fever, I had a road show the next day — so my husband stayed at home and asked me not to worry. Leaving my daughter behind when she was ill doesn’t mean I don’t love her– on any other day I would have taken that day off…but my husband did it instead…so does that make me a bad mother?
My fight is not about my work, it’s about not having gender equality. As a working woman, I’ve been so disciplined and made my way to being the CEO of UBS, I’ve cracked billion dollar deals and gone home after to help my daughter with her science project. I’m on the World’s top 50 women on the business list, we set up Moelis from scratch and I still have 20 hour days but that doesn’t make me any less of a homemaker. If we really want to progress, gender equality should be on top of the list — where men and women are equals, where a woman’s career is deemed as important as a man’s and where a man isn’t treated like God for being involved at school or in the house. Just basic equality.”

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