Look, they grabbed the shoes and conquered the world
I recently glanced at the Forbes listing of 50 most powerful women and realized that women had come to occupy some of the most important positions in the world. Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been running one of the most powerful nations since 2005. Jacinda Arden of New Zealand emerged as the most innovative and proactive leaders during each crisis. Janet Yellen, US Secretary of State, and Christine Lagarde, Chairperson of the European Central Bank, influence 40% of world GDP between them.
Politics and policy is one side of the story, there are women leading some of the most important businesses in the world. NASDAQ and the NYSE Euronext, which jointly control a market cap of $35 trillion, are headed by women. Formidable businesses like General Motors and Oracle are also headed by women CEOs. Not to forget, the world’s largest active fund manager, Fidelity Investments, with an AUM of over $2.5 trillion is headed by Abigail Johnson, another lady who grabbed her shoes.
Fortunately, India is not too far behind. Just 5 years back, almost all the large banks in India were headed by women. The finance minister who drives macro policy in India is also a women. More power to all those who grabbed their shoes.
Fear is stupid, so are regrets
Talk to women in their 30s and 40s and one regret they all have is that they did not try hard enough to pursue their dreams. Women have different reasons for giving up on their career options or letting it stagnate. But the underlying theme has been they were afraid of undertaking something where they were not sure of the outcome.
That is where Marilyn Monroe got it bang on target. Fear is stupid and regrets are a lot worse. A fitting contribution by women on International Women’s Day will be if they decide to go out and give it a try and give their very best. They will certainly not have regrets that fear kept them away from trying. After all, it is better have tried and lost, rather than never to have tried at all.
Be a smart girl, before you become a wise girl
Every women, irrespective of whether she is an entrepreneur, corporate career woman or home maker, needs to think smart. Here are five ways to be a smart girl and this is worth pondering over on International Women’s Day.
- Are you financially secure? Events can strike without warning. It is best to be prepared with your own financial security rather than depending on the men in your family. The earlier you plan a corpus for yourself, the better.
- There is virtue in selfishness, as Ayn Rand said. Every women must be smart enough to take care of her self-interest and not depend on their family to manage the same. It is perfectly legitimate to think about your needs, your goals and your dreams.
- Make money work hard for you. Often, it is how much save that matters, not how much you earn. If you start early and set aside some money for creating a long-term corpus, you can end up with a lot of money.
- Avoid conspicuous debt. People often equate spending with wealth, which is not the case. You need to spend where essential but running huge credit card debts on your shopping sprees is hardly good economics. That is best avoided.
- Have your own goals. Remember, goals are not just about career goals. They can be goals for yourself, your future, your family’s future etc. The issue is about making your own independent decisions. These goals give you a sense of purpose and direction.
As Monroe said, “Be a smart girl, rather than a wise girl”. Know your interests, set your goals, don’t go overboard and invest money smartly. These are lot simpler than you believe.
Every girl by instinct or intuition knows what is best
That is our theme for International Women’s Day 2021. Remember, the world will never underestimate a woman if they don’t underestimate themselves. So, if you are a woman, know your worth and put a premium on your decision-making ability. You don’t always need to rely on your parents or partners to make decisions; be it financial or otherwise.
As Marilyn Monroe put it best, “Every girl by instinct or intuition know what is best”. It is just that on this International Women’s Day, every women needs to start believing in the power of their instinct and intuition. The rest will follow.
Wishing all the women, a happy, memorable and independent “International Women’s Day”!