Meera kaul

A lot of people who know Meera Kaul , love her for her warmth, genuine love, open mindedness, kindness and an ability to connect with everyone she meets.

Youlia Tzen
Created by Youlia Tzen (User Generated Content*)User Generated Content is not posted by anyone affiliated with, or on behalf of,
On Dec 31, 2018
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Few Women Make it to the Top of the Business World

In 2017, the world wept to see Hillary Clinton dressed in suffragette white , cheering and weeping at a convention which she was supposed to win. She stood for a possibility. Every little girl in America looked at her and saw a possibility that she indeed could also become a president because Hillary could. Now she is a constant reminder to many of us of the limits women continue to confront every day in their lives.

Even today as we look around us, only a few women have managed to sustain and scale the corporate ladder and only a few have traversed the global entrepreneurship game. The ones that we normally hear about are always white, privileged women. I will not discount them. They have had their own struggles but it is definitely been easier for them to ride to the top compared to the brown and black women. And then comes the paradigm of the stories of women who have made it in the structured environments of Europe and United States v the unstructured chaos of the east. When I see the power an Indira Gandhi yielded versus the practiced rhetoric of Hillary Clinton – there is no comparison. A woman like Indira Gandhi swayed the minds of billions of men and women in South Asia in the midst of a patriarchal society of the 1960’s where they expected her to be a submissive daughter of the soil; yet she was a ruthless politician and a fearless leader. I will never cease to admire the power with which Benazir Bhutto ruled the hearts and minds of the religious zealots in Pakistan who ultimately killed her. In United States, the conservatives still argued if Hillary Clinton was smart enough a woman to handle Iran.

I do not discount the achievements of white women in the corporate circus like Mary Barra, Sarah Blakely, Sheryl Sandberg, Jan Shields, Meg Whitman. We cannot compete with the fact that they were born into greatness. Their networked with the right people, went to the right schools, wore privilege on their sleeves and moved the right circles. A lot of what defines America and what every outsider looks forward to be a part of. The whole idea of being here is to be in. In that brotherhood or sisterhood of schools and groups and networks and friends and fraternities and favors and scratching my backs and so on and so forth.

At a panel discussion held a couple of years ago by Washington Post in San Francisco, I keenly listened to the two panelists- it was Meera Kaul, the famous gender evangelist and serial entrepreneur and Amanda Bradford , founder of the League – the dating app; I was amazed at the particularly bold views of the panelists. I mean, isn’t silicon valley the place where people do not like to be controversial?

Here were the panelists breaking the norm. I liked the Meera, who came from a very varied world view, did not fear the perceptions. She made her points clear about her experiences as a female entrepreneur and her rise in a very chauvinistic male dominated world she came from where she did not expect niceties. On the other hand, Amanda’s world view was that of Silicon Valley where she expected the niceties. Together the world view was a 360 degree.

It made me think. Living in the United States , we expect things to be easy, we expect the privilege and when we do not get it, we revolt. Coming from countries where she had to fight for even her right to live, women like Meera Kaul, do not expect privilege, they respect it. So for her, she earned it the harder way. Much harder than any of us. Women like her have to break many social and economic barriers and sometimes even put their lives in danger to become independent.

I have new found respect for women who rise to the top in countries with unstructured entrepreneurial ecosystems. We may have the innovations, but the real entrepreneurs are those, who have bled night and day to make their dreams happen.

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