Indra Nooyi: Secrets of balancing work and family life

She was worried and struggled to maintain a balance, but kept on going. Indra Nooyi talks about the demands of being one of the most powerful women on the planet.

In this episode of #LeadershipTalks, Annurag Batra (Chairman and Editor in Chief BW Business World) speaks to Indian-American business woman and one of the most powerful self-made women in the world, Indra Nooyi.

When she left Pepsico, Indra Nooyi was asked why a woman did not replace her. She noted that women were leaving Pepsico at the early stages of their careers as they found it difficult to juggle family and career.

Women want to have it all, strive to do it all, but are often held back by the lack of a support system at home or office. They feel guilty and often drop out of the workforce early in their careers. Indra notes that many women don’t reach upper ranks of the corporate ladder because of the demands of balancing work and family life. This is something that many of their male counterparts are not expected to.

Women who choose to stay at home can have regrets and resentments that create a negative environment at home, and at the same time, women who choose paid work over staying at home can experience guilt and anxiety. There is no “right” choice, Indra Nooyi notes.

It is a personal choice, and whatever you choose you will need to create a support system for yourself.


Takeaways from Indra Nooyi:

  1. Develop a habit to give and accept constructive criticism. Women tend to accept constructive criticism better when it comes from men. We have to change our whole approach to supporting each other, taking advice from each other, seeking it out.
  2. Stop trying to be perfect. Let go of perfection, we have to make sure our partner is an equal partner, not a silent partner in helping with the household chores and family, caring, and everything else. 
  3. Whether you choose to become a home-maker or you take up paid work, there is no “right” choice. It is a personal choice, and whatever you choose you will need to create a support system for yourself. The glass ceiling will go away when women help other women break through that ceiling.

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