Professional success and financial self reliance does not automatically create an understanding of gender injustice (or any injustice) and the role that plays in perpetuating misogyny (or any prejudice).
What made Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo share how her mother treated her sister and her? Why did she want the world to know about this? What was she trying to convey? Is she proud of her mother… ?
Would she like to be the kind of mother to her daughters that her mother was to her?
Whether or not she wants to, in some ways, it seems, she might. Instead of explaining why she (and her husband) couldn’t attend the Class Coffee in their daughter’s school, she asked the school the names of other mothers who missed the meetings and told the daughter,
“ah ha, Mrs. Redd wasn’t there, Mrs. So and So wasn’t there. So I’m not the only bad mother.”
This is what guilt can do to parents, and this is why the dad didn’t need to be so illogical and so on the defensive.
What if the child understood that being a loving mother did not mean giving up something that made her happy? Why are working dads (generally) spared this guilt?
Nooyi said they were two sisters and they a have a much younger brother. Their mother was smart but couldn’t afford higher education and lived vicariously through her daughters. Their mother ‘put them through the paces of these aspirational jobs’, like she made them prepare presidential or prime ministerial speeches – (where she would decide who she would vote for), but she also threatened them with arranged marriages at 18 years of age.
Indra K. Nooyi says the sisters actually feared that this could happen. She did not believe she had a say in this? But isn’t this true for so many Indian women today? (of course it is, or else it wouldn’t be so easy for this minister in the previous post to ‘promise’ ‘wives’ to men in Haryana)
But, did Indra Nooyi see this as wrong? Does she come across as justifying this? Would she like to be the kind of mother to her daughters that her mother was to her?
How common in India are mothers who know their place and would like the daughters to know their place too – somewhere at the bottom of the family-hierarchy, with few rights and freedoms and with predefined duties?
I wonder if she ever – politely and respectfully, asked her mother what she thought would make her daughters happy. Was she brought up to ask questions and to seek honest answers? Does she sound like she is proud of the challenges she lives with? Does she seem to want to change the situation – or does she seem to be fine with it – maybe even justifying it (maybe, when she says she is sure her mother is proud of her but in their community they don’t believe in showing they are proud)?
Should she be burdened with the task of being a role model for Indian women, doesn’t that add further to the guilt?
Indra Nooyi explains that the men in the family put their foot down and did not allow the mother to arrange their marriages when they were 18. Why did the men know more about the changing times? Was it more about knowing that the girls could get away with not being married off at 18, or maybe even that careers could improve their marriage prospects – or was it about letting the daughters choose their own futures?
Also, if they were really liberal why didn’t the mother get similar opportunities and encouragement?
How would it have been if her mother was supportive, positive, not-misogynistic? And what if her husband was a little more involved – he did not know that there was no milk…. ?
Link shared by Madhavi with this question:
I am wondering how many working men, or all those intellectual male CEOs need to choose between being a husband or a father and their work every day.
Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.