There is an old Thai saying, “A man is the foreleg of the elephant and the woman the hind leg,” which on translation also means that behind every successful man is a woman. Yes, we have been hearing this forever now. But what about a successful woman? Who backs up a successful woman?
Not surprisingly, behind every successful woman is also a man…her father, her friend, or her husband. A man who lets her lead, a man who lets her live her dreams, a man who is secured about her position in his life, a man who doesn’t tie her down, a man who understands that she is as alive as he is, that she has her own dreams, priorities and aspirations…and most importantly a man who is so secured and self assured about his own position in her life that he doesn’t feel the need to control or tame her to feel more like a man. He doesn’t need to impose on her to feel the false sense of power. Won’t you agree?
Look at any successful woman around you. No, you don’t have to go too far and look at the intimidating pin-striped-suit wearing women CEOs and MDs. Just look around you; at ordinary woman. Women, who have come a long way from where they started. Yes, those women who work hard to be successful in their own little way, in their own private lives, in their own little careers; be it their business or a job.
Would this have been possible if her father had never let her dream, learn or have thoughts of her own? Would this have been possible if her husband would have discouraged her from working, not believed in her talents and not really thought that she can add value and make a difference?
And just so we are on the topic, let me also add that just allowing your woman to work is not enough. First of all, “I let my wife work,” itself is such a negative sentence. Who are you to ‘let’ her work? It’s her right anyway.
A man who really wants her wife to work:
- Lets her decide which career she wants to pursue and not limit her options.
For eg: I am ok if you work in a bank. It is a very safe place to work. But working as an art director on a film set??? NO way, that is not possible. That is not safe.
Meh….now what is that? Please let her decide where she wants to work. Show some trust in her. She is not a child, she can protect herself. You can’t limit her options and lay down few that you think are safe. Please don’t impose on her …let her decide. Because if you are being rigid about where she can work and where she can’t, then again you aren’t being any different from your orthodox forefathers. And if you are being so rigid, then please don’t take that burden of being cool, urban and open-minded husband also. You don’t deserve it. It’s one thing to worry about her safety and another thing to restrict her mobility in the name of safety.
- Shares her household responsibilities
For eg: Dear, why isn’t the dinner ready ?I told you that you can only work if you can manage both home and work without slipping behind on home front, didn’t I?
Whoa…seems like you are doing her a favour by letting her work. Then I request again please don’t take that pressure of being cool and modern just because you are allowing her to work. Because your behavior, attitude and actions haven’t changed a bit. You are still hung up on your old ways. Just like you, she has had a hard day at work too. She is human and she can get tired too. Shouldn’t you be helping her in the kitchen instead of just bossing around and barking orders?
- Understands that her career can also be demanding
For eg: Have you seen the time? It’s 11 pm. Just because I let you work, doesn’t mean that you come home this late. Our kids and home are a big mess, do you have any idea?
No, no, no…I am not exaggerating. I have seen families who behave that way. May be not in the first world countries to that extent, but this sure does happen in many developing countries. Just like you, she has deadlines, she has to deal with work pressure too. She has to face office politics too. Just like you, she can have a longer working day than usual too. If you were truly supporting her career and her progress, you would understand this and probably keep a bowl of hot soup ready when she returns. She would be grateful to know that you love her, support her career, and understand its challenges…you love her and you are concerned about her meals and her health. That is called support.
- Doesn’t let his family or parents ridicule her career
There are still many countries where the extended family also lives together, where the elders (especially men) mock the careers of the ladies, belittle them and ridicule their contribution. In such cases, its up to that good husband who has let his wife work, to also stand up for her in front of his whole family and show trust and confidence in her.
I am not trying to portray men in negative light here. If you thought that even for a second then you totally missed the point, didn’t you? In fact, I am saying that behind every woman who shines bright at her work place, is a wonderful man who loves her, who shares household responsibilities with her, who supports her even if that means going against the whole family, who truly lets her progress rather than just let her have a false sense of satisfaction by only letting her work somewhere he chose. Behind successful woman is that man who keeps his ego at bay, who is not intimidated or bothered even if his wife earns more than him, who is proud of her if she does, who is proud of her even if she doesn’t, who respects her passion and energy, who supports her initiatives in every way possible, who is willing to relocate if she is having a better career between the two rather than ask her to quit.
This blog is for all men in my life …father, brother, friends and now TCG who have supported me no matter what, who have let me have wings, who have stood by me fiercely…even in the face of adversity.
Without support of all you wonderful men, this would never have been possible. I wouldn’t be what I am today. Because you trust me, have faith in me; believe in my abilities, I am able to be more productive at work. And I don’t have to worry about being scolded at or being barked at once I get home. And I am really thankful and grateful for this. (Things I am grateful for: Reason # 4)