Tomorrow is Women's Day. All women must follow their hearts where vocation is concerned

Another International Day for Women is here, a day to celebrate the glory of womanhood. It also commemorates a woman's trials and tribulations as an individual with her own identity and not just as a daughter, wife, mother etc.

Hers was a constant struggle- between her real identity and her assumed one, between what was considered feminine and unfeminine, between morals and double-standards, between having a career and being a good wife and mother. Her inner conflict was unspoken for centuries.

She could not express herself and let her feelings lie buried deep within her. Yet as the years passed and somewhere in the midst of laying the dinner, changing bed covers and doing her household groceries the stirrings within her could no longer be contained.

Breaking free of shackles, the 21st century woman moves with confidence and grace and speaks without doubt and hesitation. She has dared to venture out into new paths and avenues and found satisfaction, success and happiness.

Unlike earlier when being a woman was a curse today she takes pride in being one. With guts and gumption she continues to fight many social evils. Her story of defying stifling orthodoxy and finding an identity of her own is a revelation of her inner strength.

Fighting obstacles

For Shyamala Surendran, classical dancer and founder of Dharani Dance School, life was easy till she voiced her desire to learn dance. She says, “being born in Malabar women held a special status due to the matriarchal system. So I never felt inferior being born a girl. But the moment I expressed my desire to learn dance my parents, husband and everyone disapproved. Till the age of 40 I suppressed my desire. But art can never be contained and so too my passion. Thus with determination and dedication I won them over and today I am happy and contented. Only when a woman gets a chance to express herself can she spread happiness in her family. Apart form dancing I experience immense fulfilment from encouraging my students- women of all ages, housewives, mothers, grand-mothers by making them aware of their talents and bringing out their potential. My advice to them is to follow their dreams.”

Today's women have thus learnt to express their needs and desires.

Earlier, her career could not emerge beyond a stenographer, teacher, private secretary, nurse... Jobs in armed forces, the police, were just not proper for nice girls. However with awareness and education backed by moral strength such prejudices are passe and today many women find fulfilment in those areas earlier considered a men's bastion.

C.N.Rajam, Sub Inspector of Police, says, “Earlier women joining the police force was a rarity but today it's quite common. As a girl I loved the outdoors, sports etc and played basket ball. I had always wanted to join the police force, but I could enrol myself only later when I was married with two children for I could not let my dreams die. My husband and family were very supportive. My job is very demanding and tension filled. But I feel a deep sense of achievement and satisfaction, my profession gives me a chance to serve and protect the poor and the exploited.”

A homemaker too, whose job is a 24x7 stint, can find immense joy, fulfilment and dignity as a woman.

Bhavana Nidhish, a young mother of three school going children expresses her contentment as a homemaker. She says, “I feel I was born to be a home maker and am proud being one. A home maker's job is a full time one. My presence at home is valuable for I am the link. Its heart warming to see the pleasure on my husband's face when I am there to welcome him after a strenuous day at office and my children's face light up on seeing me when they return from school. My message to all women is to rightfully claim what is theirs- their dignity and their objectives in life.”

Thus a woman today knows what path she has to follow and she does it with poise and self-esteem.