Over the last three decades, we have seen some wonderful instances of women entrepreneurs making their mark in Indian public life. Working with quiet assurance and confidence, they have exploded stereotypes about the docile, homebound India woman who has to set aside all aspirations in the seva of family and God.
But let’s not assume that we have achieved a level playing field for women. Though there’s better awareness of the neglected girl child, we remain a largely patriarchal society. Equality between genders still remains a distant ideal.
However, the battles educated, urban women have to fight are substantially internal—they are constantly limited by the messages given to them at homes and in society. These messages are internalised at an early age and continue to hinder women from realising their potential.
Let me illustrate with my own experience. I grew up in an upper middle-class home; my father had his own business. My two brothers were expected to join the family business. Compared to my brothers I did better at studies,...