‘Behind every successful man, there is a woman.’ In my journey with the PGMPW batch, I have seen that the corollary is true as well. When we started this management programme for women aspiring to get back to their career after a break, we were prepared to help potential participants find out ways to convince their husbands and families to support them in their journey, especially financially. However, what we witnessed was indeed a pleasant surprise. I cannot even begin to count instances wherein the husbands and fathers proactively enquired about the programme and convinced their wives/ daughters to pursue it. Intrigued, I decided to dig into this further, and the insights were profound.
“I always believed that I had been a supportive husband. So much so, that I guess I never really gave it a serious thought”, he said. “Ours was an arranged marriage,” he continued, “and my checklist for a potential bride was fairly simple. I wanted a well-educated working woman. Sounds very modern as compared to the typical matrimonial ads for a fair and beautiful bride”, he chuckled. “As far as I was concerned I genuinely believed that our marriage was based on equality and it was a level playing field. I was ok with her working late hours, traveling, calling the shots, etc. In my mind I was the fairest of them all husbands”, he confessed. Then what changed? “Taking break was I’m sure a difficult decision for my wife. For long I kept telling myself that she took a break to look after the children and that was her choice. It slowly dawned upon me that she took a break because I wasn’t ready to take a back step. She had to make our family a priority because I wasn’t around to do it. It is one thing to be ok with your with your spouse’s decision to have a career, but it is another thing to go through the grind to actively support. I realized that it is not about what I do for her, but also what I don’t do. It’s not just about men supporting women as equals in the workplace. It’s also about women supporting men as equals in caregiving”.
Unique confidence observed in our women participants who have the full support of their spouses is that they do not fear failure, and thus are open to taking risks. This agility becomes the stepping stone for unparalleled success.
Concluding, let’s remember ‘Men of quality embrace and nurture equality.’