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We have come a long way, sisters …

7 March 2013 07:25 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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International Women’s Day

The financial experts agree that women are better at paying back loans and would default very rarely. Women tend to give priority to the children and the family name and would not easily commit fraud

I still remember watching the highly acclaimed movie starring two times Academy Award winner Hillary Swank, ‘The Iron Jawed Angels’, which showcased the bitter but determined struggle of American women to achieve the right to vote.

There are moments, poignant but dark, of women held as prisoners for exercising their right to protest, women being forced fed and ill-treated, women being shouted at and abused in the streets because they sought equal rights. All of it collectively provides a sound understanding of just what progress would have meant to the women of the generations before us. We have come a long way indeed.

Although in Sri Lanka, we have been lucky to be granted the right to vote early on in the century, we still struggle with many other issues such as domestic violence, inequality and sexism. We have had to fight tough for our rights and our place in society – for some of us, the struggle still continues.

One behind success  

As we celebrate yet another Women’s Day, there are many points to ponder on. Not just about women in business, women building companies but women in general for the many roles we play- the uniqueness we give the world as mothers and care givers, as daughters and nieces, as wives and partners, for our God given ability to be able to multi-task, to do hundred things at once, things that must be done, our ability to empathize and care, to listen and encourage, to gently nudge on when a sharp kick will not do.

Those are the same traits that empower women to become successful entrepreneurs and CEOs. They say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world- rules the world because we, as mothers impress upon our children the values and discipline; because we, as wives, encourage and support our husbands.

As daughters, we take care of our parents and loved ones for a lifetime. As friends and colleagues, we choose to share one another’s burdens and offer a shoulder to lean on. The hand that rocks the cradle not only rules but rocks the world!

There are many things in business, sports or elsewhere, where men have excelled, have created outstanding value and built up fortunes. Yet, for almost all of them, there has been a woman in the background, behind his success, edging him on, supporting him unconditionally – it could be a mother, a wife, a sister or a daughter.

Family before self  

We celebrate life, we savour success, we seek opportunities. As women, we understand others and are not afraid to put our mothering instincts to work when running a business. By default, we are equipped with an uncanny ability to ‘know’ when things go right or wrong. We know when something is not what it should be. And often, those instincts ring true.

It was Stanley Baldwin who said, “I would rather trust a woman’s instinct that a man’s reason.” According to the experts, women have the ability to understand and decipher the emotional as opposed to the rational and are able to combine both.



In running a business, a school, a non-profit or a home, women are able to achieve quiet success without much celebration. That’s her strength, that’s what defines a woman. Whether she is a courageous single mother who is a village entrepreneur, or a CEO running one of the world’s largest businesses, a woman at the helm will often be driven by common sense, a quiet desire to succeed and of course pragmatism. Women often have no egos to stroke, no testosterone generating feats to conquer. Whatever success achieved is shared with the children and the family almost always.

The financial experts agree that women are better at paying back loans and would default very rarely. Women tend to give priority to the children and the family name and would not easily commit fraud. As witnessed often by rural self-employment schemes, the loans are lent to the women and not the men. She forms the backbone of the family and will always put the wellbeing of the children and her husband before herself.

Say thank you

In the corporate world, women have played the role of the whistleblower in many famous cases of fraud and misdemeanor. Women would rarely put up with or accompany fraud at work. They would not want their children shamed or their families insulted – their ability to put others before themselves is always topmost in their mind no matter where or what they may be involved in.

For all the successful and hard working women out there, there is a sprinkling of women who use sex as a weapon and a way to get where they want to go – often, a short lived journey which cannot last.

There are others who take wicked pleasure in pulling down other women or sabotaging their success merely because they think they are better than she is. As it is said, jealousy is counting other’s blessings instead of your own. Envy gets you nowhere. We are all born talented and able to achieve success – only some of actually go out there and take ownership of our own success.

As another Women’s Day passes us by, let us celebrate the sweet sounding success of ourselves, our mothers, daughters, nieces and sisters, wives and grandmothers and girlfriends who form the bedrock of our lives. We share the pain of those who have endured struggles – with domestic violence, sickness, personal difficulty and the pain of losing a loved one.

And to our husbands, bosses, sons, colleagues, co-workers, friends and nephews, it would be nice if you could find the time to thank the women in your life today for their contribution towards who and where you are.

(Nayomini, a senior journalist, writer and a PR professional, can be contacted at nayominiweeraooriya@gmail.com)
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