We, the women of Akal, had one of the most empowering and enlightening experiences as we celebrated International Women’s Day on 8th of March at Akal office.
The idea was germinated by HR based on a simple yet powerful thought. All of us- the women, irrespective of our Age, economic background, ethnicity, are all in the same boat. Our challenges though different on individual level and yet very similar on a macro-level. All of us our fighting everyday for our dues in the male dominated society, all of us striving to maintain the balance between personal and professional life and ultimately neglecting ourselves in the process.
So, it was decided that this time let us go beyond chocolates, flowers, and gifts. Nothing could have been more worthy a women’s day celebration than an empowering session for the women, by the women, of the women. The HR hence arranged a pep-talk by the four most experience women (both in personal and professional life), the four pillars of HR- the heads of four critical departments of Akal on the topic.
The topic was decided “How we as women manage personal and professional lives” and a slot of one and hour was booked to the ladies of Akal. As these, ladies began to narrate their simple yet in its own self powerful journeys, what started as a Pep talk, slowly turned into a group discussion. The chord of familiarity, the sense of having gone through something similar was so strong that the other ladies and girls could not stop themselves from stepping and sharing their own experiences. We were inspired immensely by their strength, voices, drive, and passion on gender equality.
As the session proceeded, it was astonishing to know that all the four key speakers had one thing in common- their aptitude for meditation and how they owed whatever semblance of balance they had to meditation. All of them, as a matter of fact, narrated their own transformation journeys, how they were a totally different being prior to practising yoga and meditation and how it changed their life for better.
During the session, multiple other women and girls also stressed on the importance of meditation and breathing practices not just for maintaining personal and professional balance in their hectic schedule, but also for inner peace, mental and emotional strength. It gave out a very positive message, especially, to young girls, the newly married and the freshers from campus that how they must start early on this journey and find something similar, either meditation or something for solace that will help them to maintain their balance (which they would have to discover on their own, in the process of discovering themselves).
We decided to focus on a subject on the challenges faced professionally and personally for most working women in India. We shared our routines on how we manage our everyday life to make it easier for us to be working professionals, which was a wonderful idea because we got to share pointers on how we, as women, can enjoy a harmonious professional as well as personal life as a working woman.
As the event reached mid-way, we decided to change the atmosphere to that of some fun and engagement. For this, some fun activities were already planned by our four key speakers. It included, asking all the ladies present in the room two intriguing questions, to which they all give their individual perspectives. The questions were.
- What do you want most in life?
- What are the things you like the most about yourself?
These questions were designed to help every one of us in the conference room, including those who joined us virtually via video conferencing about how as women we all mostly want one thing- peace. Though the words, vocabulary, phrases differed, it all stopped at three things, peace, contentment, and smile.
The judges (key speakers) found it very hard to select three best answers from these but once this tedious task was done, a final question was asked to three shortlisted ladies. This question “Why are challenges important and what was the one challenge that changed your life?” was the crux of entire event.
The best answer rather the story that touched the judges most was given a small token of appreciation.
We ended the session by practicing what we had been preaching that is with a 5-minute-long meditation session, which was a cathartic experience for us all, after which we bonded over bites of our chocolates we received as gifts. The key speakers were also facilitated with small gratitude tokens for their precious time and experiences.
In the end when we all left that room, each of us was glad for this session, for each of us, had realised some key things that day. We realised that of us somewhere, have similar stories, journeys, and challenges. We realised that women should support women in this male dominated world rather than being each other’s cause of pain. And last but the most importantly we all realise that in managing everything, we should not forget the most important of all- OURSELVES. When we left the conference room each one of us was committed to pay more attention to ourselves- our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
And this was indeed a very Happy and Empowering Women’s Day for us.