Care is a term that over the ages has always been associated with women, no exceptions. Professionalism, however, brings to mind a formally attired guy, briefcase in hand, assertive, confident, a go – getter. We are fairly accustomed to these associations, right or wrong aside.
Five years ago, a company was founded in Kolkata, which focused on care at home. The company looked for professionals willing to work in a start up, learn new things, and believe in a concept that did not yet exist in the city. The company hired, without bias, based on merit, those people they thought best fitted the requirements.
Today, that company is the largest elder care platform in Kolkata, and one of India’s leading in the sector. And through chance, the operations of the company are run by more than 50% women. That does not only include the service, this includes direct sales, emergency management, vendor co-ordinations, management of care workers, accounting, billing, payments, new product development, marketing – and more.
Now the question that automatically has come up, multiple times is what is the big deal? Women are, after all, making a mark across the world as professionals.
But through no specific reason, the company has landed up with women who are diverse in their backgrounds, thoughts, cultures, working towards a single goal – which is to make this a company with a heart. There are women who have had no previous work experience, running sales and marketing, young mothers – all of 30 years of age, calculating payments and bringing in new ideas at work, literature students who are now managing bills and processes. These women, mostly in their 20s and 30s, a couple in their 60s, have joined with no ‘special’ degree to boast about, no previous recommendations, and sadly, so often no idea of what they are themselves capable of.
The notion that there are certain roles specific to women, that they are known to be good at, is replaced by the notion that there is no harm in trying anything out. Women, in TriBeCa Care, are not averse to any work and are dedicated and zealous. This has resulted in the women heading some of the few most important departments across the company, from customer service to care resource management, from senior travel to managing hospital networks.
I am not a religious person, and the festive season to me brings more of family celebrations and food. What makes me bring this up, right before the Durga Puja, is that the image of Durga strangely resonates with the women that I work with. Not the mythology, the stories, but just the image of one woman. It felt right, to write what I feel about the women professionals I work with (or maybe I was just looking for an excuse).
These women professionals work together in perfect harmony, arguing over something they don’t agree with at some point, and then happily share their food with each other right at the next moment. They are always troubleshooting, not just for what they are doing, but for others who have hit a stumbling block. They push themselves to think more and do more, while maintaining this unspoken bond and understanding between each other. These are women professionals who are marvelous in their tenacity, sincerity and their willing adaptation to new ideas and processes, all the while keeping a perfect balance with their families at home – parents, husbands, children, and all other kinds of relatives, and never letting one come in the way of the other.
While we are hoping to move towards an equal world, we are still far from reaching that goal. We still live in a society where the responsibility of the family lies on the woman, to be fulfilled by her presence, if not anything else. It is here that I find these women so very fantastic – working with passion, giving enough time at home, and knowing how to balance all the responsibilities that they shoulder. Constantly multitasking, constantly balancing, constantly doing things that they are not expected to take up – and they are constantly successful at all of this. They are prepared be assertive, and make themselves heard without losing their self respect or disrespecting the other person. They are ready to learn, adapt, evolve, and act fearlessly.
From the 30-year old mother of two children to a 23-year old shouldering the work of an entire department, from coping with a recovering husband from surgery to taking care of a sick mother, from handling emergencies to attending parent – teacher meetings, these women do not fail to inspire me, every single day. I am exceptionally lucky to have worked with an amazing bunch of women, who are, undoubtedly, the backbone of the company. These are the women professionals I work with. These women bring heart to the area of work that can become cold and calculating otherwise. These are the women I am proud of, and respect. These are the women we celebrate this Puja.