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Indra Nooyi Says The Coming Years Are The Decades Of Women. Let’s Hope We Take More Steps Towards Equality

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All my life I have looked up to strong female role models and aspired to imbibe some of their better qualities. One of the people I idolize is former PepsiCo Chief Executive Indra Nooyi. An Indian-American businesswoman, she is one of the few who smashed the glass ceiling and headed one of the world’s largest companies, PepsiCo, for nearly 12 years. Indra Nooyi has consistently ranked among the 100 most powerful women, she is a true inspiration. And my admiration for her only grew stronger when described the next 20 years as, “the decades of women”. I love everything about this.

Speaking at a virtual event organized by Procter & Gamble and United Nations Women entitled #WeSeeEqual, Indra Nooyi suggested that the coming years will witness significant changes for women. She urged countries and companies to get behind this change. Indra Nooyi said she doesn’t believe that any economy can bounce back after the pandemic without “tapping into the incredible potential of women”. Well, if one of the worlds most influential women is also saying this, what’s your excuse to not believe it?

Indra Nooyi said that the event, “I don’t believe there’s any economy in the world that can be successful without tapping into the incredible potential of women going forward. I just don’t believe that’s possible.”

Also Read: India Has Been Elected To The UNCSW Body Which Shows Our “Commitment” To Gender Equality. What Commitment?

However, she moves on to say something very weird that makes less than no sense. Indra Nooyi said, “I also think almost every economy in the world needs women to have children too because we need the replacement rate for the world. We ought to sit down and say to ourselves: ‘They need us.’ They need us for the economy, they need us to have kids, and we put in all the unpaid labour so far. So I look at the next couple of decades and say ‘it’s our time.’”

I don’t get it. For too long women have been treated like child-rearing machines. Don’t you think it’s time we get out from under the thumb of patriarchy? I agree that the economies need women but not so we produce children but for our strength and talents. Yes, it is our time now but in more ways than producing children. Frankly, I am a tad disappointed.

Surprisingly, during her tenure at PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi was widely lauded for making the company more diverse and inclusive. Talking about reducing the gender gap, she said that if companies and countries focus on these three key areas, they will go a long way. First, every company and every government should emphasize paid maternity, paternity and family leave. Second, she said that COVID has really allowed for flexible work and that can open up huge opportunities for women. And third, the most important, Indra Nooyi said is proper childcare facilities.

According to her, if these three elements work in tandem, change can be created. Indra Nooyi said, “I would say it’s going to be a different world; there’s going to be a lot more equality than we saw before.”

While I agree that these coming years belong to women and we are fundamental for the growth of economies, I don’t understand why having children should be our prime focus. However, let’s hope that these next few years bring significant changes and take us a few steps closer to equality.

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