Can Women Have It All: Exploring Balance for 21st Century Women


Every woman who has battled societal pressures and internal conflicts in pursuit of her professional and personal ambitions can almost certainly relate to the challenges of juggling a successful career and family life. Those who succeed the balancing act are hailed as superwomen, and those who struggle with it are often faced with making difficult choices.

Working under the assumption that all women want a successful career and a family life, join our panelists as they explore the perplexing topic of whether or not women can “have it all”. How do we define “all” or “success”? After all, what constitutes these terms is subjective, and is dependent on an individual’s perspective. Is this phrase coined primarily for women of an elite society? Or can this be applied to women of various social strata who don’t have a choice whether they want to work but need a double income to support their families? How do factors such as field of work, professional rank, or financial necessity play into determining an individual’s ability to successfully balance work and personal life? Given the changing family dynamics in contemporary society, which places an emphasis on redefining fatherhood, where do men fit into this dimension of the work-life balance?

The topic itself stirs up a tumult, with assertions that is not only possible but fesible to be equally commited to family and profession. By simplistically repating "you can have it all," are we airbrushing the realiaty of managing two full-time jobs?

Avani Saglani Davda is the Chief Executive Officer of Tata Starbucks Limited. In this role, she provides overall strategic direction and leadership to the joint venture in India. She also played a pivotal role in the development of the joint venture relationship between the two companies in preparation for entry into the India market. Prior to this, she worked in the Vice Chairman's office for Tata Global Beverages.

Shobhaa Dé is one of India’s top best-selling authors and a super achiever. All her 18 books have topped the charts, created records and have been translated into multiple Indian and international languages. Ms. Dé, who is the recipient of several awards for her journalistic contributions, writes prolifically for Indian and international publications, is recognized as an important social commentator and something of an authority on popular culture. 

Mini Menon is the Executive Editor of Bloomberg TV India and a well-known face on Indian television. She has led the popular series Inside India's Best Known Companies and has authored Riding The Wave. She is a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence, The Zee Astitva Award for Journalism, and the 2009 Best Business News Anchor by the Indian Broadcasting Federation. Currently, Menon serves as the Regional Chairperson of CIIs Indian Women Network.

Ira Trivedi is the bestselling author and her latest book and first work of non-fiction is India in Love: Marriage and Sexuality in the 21st century, a landmark book on India's new social revolution in marriage and sexuality. She graduated from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, USA with a BA in economics from and gained her MBA from Columbia Business School, where she won the prestigious Feldberg Fellowship. 

Manu Joseph is a columnist for The International New York Times and The Hindustan Times. He is the author of two novels - Serious Men and The Illicit Happiness of Other People, which have been translated into over ten languages. He has won The American PEN Open Book Award and The Hindu Literary Prize, and has been shortlisted for several awards.

This programme is part of Asia Society India Centre’s Women of Asia Series, which brings eminent women from the fields of Asian business, arts, culture and policy, and provides a senior level platform for discussion on issues of current interest affecting Asia and the world. This series promotes the collaboration and leadership of accomplished women through a range of informative and network building forums that facilitate the sharing of best practices, critical issues and personal experiences.

Event Details

Tue 16 Sep 2014
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Coomaraswamy Hall, CSMVS Museum, 159-161, M.G Road, Fort Mumbai
Admission: Free
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