On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I wrote an article for Sabaya Magazine. Thought it would make a wonderful post for my blog too.
Looking inwards through the window of the Internet
As I write this piece, I am reminded of a time not too long ago. 3 years back, when I had my baby, I put my career in Business Consulting on hold to look after her. She was all I could think of and was the apple of my eye. But some part of me missed the interaction and constant stimulation that I got from working in the challenging environment of consulting. Also having just moved to Bahrain, I didn’t know my way around here. Altogether, I could sense that seeds of frustration were germinating. That is when Technology came to my aid. I started to browse through the internet to keep up with whatever was going on in this world and to help build my opinions about different aspects of life and such. I started following blogs and twitter feeds of people whom I found inspiring. With the click of the mouse I was transported into someone’s kitchen whipping a mousse-y chocolate cake or more recently, through pinterest discovered the most interesting design ideas. It was all too revolutionary for someone like me who never took the internet seriously before this. Meeting inspiring people online motivated me to start my own blog where I started penning down my random musings. In my foraging moments, I stumbled across many self –reliant women; homemakers, divorcees, singles turned entrepreneurs with their diverse ventures on the internet, be it home baking or photography. The opportunities that the internet has provided have been capitalized by these women without stepping outside their homes. They use the social media to promote their wares and develop a self –sustaining business model over time. The internet has also offered women, especially new mothers the option of working from home for their organizations.
In hindsight it is easy for me to conclude that it was technology and my keenness to embrace it that helped me explore my potential and gave an outlet to my creative juices. So I feel it is up to each one of us women to realize and leverage the medium that would make us feel powerful and independent. Technology gave me my ticket to freedom whilst sitting in the four walls of my home. It gave me the freedom to trek my way around in the virtual world and pick and choose from what it had to offer, all the while expanding my thought horizons.
But Freedom is a tricky word. It may suggest a sense of absoluteness but it isn’t so. We all enjoy only certain degree of freedom determined by our circumstances. I may assume that I do enjoy a greater degree of freedom of choice but there are many women who do not have the good fortune to do so. Something that most women take for granted may be unavailable to many others. Most women irrespective of their background live a life deprived of the right to basic amenities, right to be educated, and the right to live with dignity. It is for these women that empowerment becomes a formidable force that would ensure them a more fulfilling life.
Technology is just a medium that could be tapped to help women reach out to the world. But feeling empowered is not the strength that someone can give you. To me, feeling empowered means raising your own consciousness. To raise your consciousness is to raise your awareness of self and what you can do. All of this is possible by looking inwards. Looking inwards would mean being powerful enough to acknowledge your strengths and accept our weaknesses with humility. Perhaps in our moments of self-doubt we may need a few kind words to keep us going but most of it is, well, being who we are. We as women don’t need anybody to empower us or provide us with anything. We have enough substance in us to embrace life with both arms wide open.
- ANITA MENON