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Let's Stop Expecting Women to Be Superhumans It is time to put an end to the idea of superhuman women because they don't exist

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I have been associated with media for the last 20 years earlier as a TV journalist and later as an advertising professional. I took the plunge to be an entrepreneur five years ago against the advice of various colleagues and friends because my career was on an upswing in an MNC agency. Today, after five years, I am glad that I made that choice. Here are a few things that have been instrumental in my personal and professional journey.

Be Brave

One of the most important traits I learnt from my father very early in life was to be brave. Bravery is not always about facing life-threatening situations. Bravery is often about just following your instinct. Bravery is about standing up for your personal and professional rights. Bravery is about not succumbing to decisions that your doesn't accept. Bravery is about following your dreams and passions even if the world around you doesn't believe in it. I have made various good and bad decisions in life, however, whatever little that success I have achieved in life is primarily because I made choices that required me to be courageous. Even when I felt nervous taking those steps, I took the plunge because I truly believe that 'Courage is Destiny'.

Be Human

Our society has conditioned us to be multitasking superwomen who are supposed to be experts of work and home at all cost. There is no scope for leniency. We are made to feel guilty if we don't fulfill the stereotypical expectations of being a woman. This is a fallacy and it leads to women feeling guilty, under stress or just plain incompetent. So throw away this inhuman idea of balance. Make choices and give them your best shot. Don't be afraid to say - 'I am tired' or 'I can't do it'. Women often fail because they are trying to be superhumans. So let's break this stereotype, and focus on whatever is at hand and give it our best shot. Let's just try and think of ourselves as regular human beings with limited time, energy and skill set. Let's not feed the idea of superhuman women because they don't exist.

Be Open

I have switched my career twice in my life. I had to learn, then unlearn and then be open to learning all over again. I still continue to learn from other people who are better than me in my personal and professional life. Often, we believe that we are equipped or capable of doing something because we have been trained for it or because we are naturally good at it. I think it's very important to try new things in life, and learn things that push us out of our comfort zone. If an area of work doesn't resonate with you, then feel free to drop it and try something new. Being open to exploring possibilities is fundamental for growth. So irrespective of your age, or circumstances, just step out and embrace the new. I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed.

Be kind

The 'Mother Teresa' syndrome of women is another trait that needs to be demolished in our country. Indian women are celebrated as 'nurturers' in movies, in advertising and in society. We are the compassionate and kind species who is supposed to take care of everyone. But, charity begins at home. So before we choose to be kind to others, it is essential that we are also kind to our own selves. So let's be kind to our bodies, hearts, and souls. We push the limit of our physical ability. We allow heartaches to happen and we take pride in hiding pain. We are kind to everyone except our own selves. No wonder that Indian women are prone to all kinds of physical ailments as they get older. No wonder that we doubt ourselves, our abilities and lack the confidence to face the world. No wonder that we feel depressed and oppressed. Being kind means we need to invest in our bodies and our spirits. We need to take care of it without any guilt. So go out and buy that dress you wanted even if it's expensive. Indulge your body. Go for a massage. Do meditation. Consult a psychologist if you need to talk. We can hive out our best if we feel the best inside and outside. Unhappy people don't spread joy and kindness to the world. So let's aim to be happy and kind.

Be supportive

The world around us is going through a massive cultural transition around the globe. I truly believe that the future of women depends heavily on other women. The #MeToo campaign is an example of the power of sisterhood. Unfortunately, we look towards men to rescue us. We want to be accepted and supported by men. However, women are often a woman's biggest enemy. We don't support and help each other enough. We are more open to helping women who are strangers. But, when it comes to women in our close proximity in the office or at home, we tend to be critical, judgmental and often malicious. Women as a species can change the future of the world. We are the glue that keeps families together, we give birth and raise the next generation and shape their thinking. We bring unique abilities as a workforce in office. So let's support each other. Next time, before you criticize another woman, try and understand her circumstances. be more patient and understanding. Women don't need to compete with each other because no one will win that way. Let's win over the world by sticking together.

Mitali Srivastava Hough

Co-Founder & Director, Utopeia

 From journalism & politics to the gnarled galleries of Advertising, Mitali’s career is a journey that few in their right minds dare to take. An MBA, TV Reporter for Zee News, Senior Correspondent & Deputy Editor for a magazine, - it was a good seven years of thriving as a Journalist after which Mitali took the plunge into advertising.

 Under her leadership, old-school brands became disruptive, large brands saw quick-turnarounds & entrepreneurial brands have joined the big league. She has been instrumental in transforming brands, impacting clients, directing businesses and leading effectiveness. Over the last 4 years, Utopeia has grown from scratch to a bustling mid-sized agency with 52 people across two offices & 46 Crores of billing revenues. Some of her clients in Utopeia include Reliance Fresh, Radius Developers, K Raheja Corp, Axis Bank, Times of India, Recron, Ambuja Cement Foundation, etc.

Today, as one of the only women planners who is a co-founder of an ad agency, Mitali is shaping a new environment for women, one that breaks age-old locker-room culture and cultivates a new one that is conducive for women to grow without compromises. Based in Mumbai and married to a British national, she rescued a cat, calls her Xena. She loves to wear boots throughout the year, regularly experiments with her hair, passionately loves global non vegetarian cuisines and repeatedly provides testimony to the fact that women can have it all.

 Prior to steering the ship at Utopeia, she worked in DDB Mudra as Associate Vice President, across verticals of DDB India, DDB Health & Lifestyle, Rapp India & Tribal DDB. She has been instrumental in establishing brands like Volkswagon & Neutrogena in India. She has also worked at Ogilvy & Mather and TBWA India. An accomplished strategic planner, digital expert, trainer and researcher, she has undertaken in-depth thought leadership on various consumer groups and is ready to launch her first book. She also led the New Knowledge & Insights cell for Ogilvy. Her career spans over brands like, J&J, Reliance, Cadbury, Big Bazaar, Asian Paints, etc. Her awards include golds at Effies, AME, James Burke & Indian Marketing Awards. She is also a guest faculty member at Xavier’s Institute of Communication & St.Pauls Institute of Communication.

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