Women empowerment, feminism, sexism, women’s liberation, girl power- All these words seemed barely relatable or even unnecessary while growing up. I come from a family where sons and daughters are imparted the same values and life lessons. I am my parents, loving child not their darling angel, adorned in pink accessories. I belong to a family where men are equally good cooks and women are capable of changing flat tyres on their own. Where pink and blue are only colors, not gender defining fashion statements.
In my teens, when my friends said, “women of our house don’t do this”, or the simple audacious “women shouldn’t do that”, or “Oh Akanksha! You’re such a tom boy”. It would anger me initially, but eventually, I started taking it as a compliment. Taking on tasks which were considered a man’s forte, was a compliment in its own, and subsequently, a constant suggestion of feebleness just because I’m a girl became an insult. Why was being delicate and pink started getting associated with girly stuff. Just to set the record straight, I like all colors from black to peach.
Once I got out of my house, my comfort zone, these big words started to make sense. “Be careful at night”, “be careful at all times!”, “Wow! You’re an engineer”. Me paying the bills was embarrassing for my friends. And I thought “You’re not like other girls” was supposed to be a compliment.
I was asked to write “How does it feel like being the only female employee at Tesla Innovations Pvt. Ltd”; but here I’m not “the only female employee”, I am just another employee. Thank you, Tesla, for not being too easy on me, or being flexible with the working hours, for cracking the same jokes as you would with any other colleague, for continuing to set standards for an ideal start up, for raising the bar, for guaranteeing equality of opportunities and for aspiring to go where our peers won’t. Thank you for making me feel at home where my professional-worth won’t be determined by my gender but by my merit and resolve, by the same standards for myself and my colleagues.
We, at Tesla, do not believe in giving credence to such futile labels. We have no room for sexism because we are a meritocracy.