The six women panelists, achievers in more ways than one, urged women to focus on their potential to make life worthy.

“Time and age should not stop you from achieving the goal you have set for yourself” was the message the audience got at the panel discussion on “Unleashing Your Feminine Potential.” It was held as part of the second edition of the Amrita International Conference on ‘Women in Computing’ at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham that kicked-off on Wednesday.

Physical disability, domestic circumstances, societal pressures, and gender biases, were no excuses to prevent women, who aspired to do their bit for society, from doing so, the panelists said.

Academics Hema M. Murthy, Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and Ranjani Parthasarathi, Professor, Department of Information Science and Technology, College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai, said that the characteristic features of women, viz., patience, perseverance, and sensitivity, had a bearing on the technologies and softwares developed by them.

“Though there is no difference in ability while developing softwares, these characteristics often give an edge to the work done by women. But it remains a fact that they do not take the initiative to become project leaders,” Ms. Murthy lamented.

Scheduling skills

“We are better than computers in multi-tasking and scheduling skills and are the best operating systems of the world,” Ms. Parthasarathi said. For Jyoti Mhapsekar, who founded Stree Mukthi Sangatna, a women’s liberation organisation in 1975 to fight for ‘mukthi’ from secondary status of women, realising the feminine potential was about providing equitable work opportunities and work environment to men and women.

Learning to like oneself without being apologetic was required by women to stand up for they wanted to achieve in life, according to Mala Ramanathan, a demographer.

For visually challenged Sushmeetha Bubna, Founder, Voice Vision, Institution for Computer Training and Overall Development of Blind, Visually Impaired and Low Vision, succeeding in life was not only about overcoming physical and societal pressures but also disability.

Accepting one’s disability without trying to make efforts to change it was a failure, said Ms. Bubna, who had many achievements and awards to her credit.

While the panelists agreed that even in the most advanced countries, the women’s share of domestic responsibility was the highest, they pointed out that it was time that India moved away from the stereotype of giving more importance to sons than daughters.

Motivation

Summing up, panelist S. Saraswathi, Post-Doctoral Scientist, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ohio, said that it was essential for parents, especially the mother to motivate the girl child to get an education and take up a career. It was also essential to encourage them to establish a separate fund for themselves to make them experience the true sense of independence.

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