Women can’t have it all: Says Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO!


So, I was searching for most successful women entrepreneurs from India and I come across this impressive lady. Indra Nooyi. Who, even after being bugged by critics for quite some time after her appointment, rised against them and proved her appointment right enough.

Looking at such strong women personalities, I always thought that either these women are blessed with super-powers or with a very supportive family. And that times are changing bla bla and bla.

But after reading this interview here it really got me confused.

Why would her mom, her own mom, send her to get milk at 10 in the night saying the husband who arrived at 8 was very tired? Why would she tell her to keep the damned crown in the garage? Especially on a day she got the biggest jump of her career?

Does it boil down to the same old thing? That SAHW (stay at home women) should worship their men and provide for the family because the men are so tired after a long day at work. And working women should do the same because well, the men let them go out and earn? It baffled me.

And looking at her answer to the second question where she says that “women can’t have it all” well I don’t know why but it made me feel that empty kind of sad which comes with some sense of hopelessness. Here is a woman most of us would look up to or be inspired or awe at or you know, be intimidated by and she, of all the women out there says that “women can’t have it all”.

Is our social setup so crooked that it doesn’t let women to be genuinely happy when they deserve to be? I mean, if it were a man at this place, he would feel so proud to have brought his family to a place where they lead lives that thousands of people can’t imagine about. It would make his chest swell. And he would, very conveniently, assume that his wife would take care of the rest, the upbringing, the manners, the homework, the school appointments, the doctor visits, the home-front, everything.

Why can’t a woman at this level expect the same? For extended family to be supportive and be a part of that upbringing, manners, homework, school & medical appointments and home-managing. Why does she have to feel, at the end of the day, that her daughter wouldn’t consider her a very good mum? Why can’t she feel that her daughter would look up to her? And admire her? And know that afterall, women can go out there and claim the crown? 

I agree, the road is tough and the going would be tougher, but hey, she is the president of PepsiCo! She did it! And yet, this interview makes me think…………. I don’t know. May be this is a very confused writeup. But well, thats what it made me.

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8 thoughts on “Women can’t have it all: Says Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO!

  1. pavanneh says:

    I can see what you mean and I felt the same kind of sadness. Why is it a woman cannot be as proud of her accomplishments as a man? This is true whether she stays home and runs the household and does an exceptional job. Somehow she is still demeaned as “just being a housewife”. Interestingly enough though there have been studies where men were made to the same “job” and got little credit for it. They could not fathom how women do it everyday and still feel good about themselves. They would rather go to the office then deal with that. They understood better the “trap” that women fall into being housewives, but in the end did not see any way to change the dynamic other than giving heir wives more emotional support.
    Then you have the women that work and take care of the household duties. At least they can have some feeling of “accomplishment” at work, but may not get much in the way of praise for the home duties. Women could raise the most successful, competent, compassionate children and still not get the credit they deserve because they were “just housewives” or “mothers”. How much credit does the father get? More than the mothers most of the time and fathers are not even as involved. I personally do not understand this.
    Indira Nooyi may have found a way to get what she wants and still keep things at home relatively sane. Imagine if she did show her independence at home and to her mother and family. It is a fine line to walk. Especially in Indian culture vs American. We have our issues, but nothing like a woman trying to reach such high aspirations in India as she has. Sometimes you have to give something up. At least for the present time.

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    • A regular Indian girl! says:

      I agree. You have to give something up.

      I know that. But in my heart, I don’t find any justification for that.

      About women who work after kid. I am one among them. I constantly feel I am not a good mom because I can not be there with my son all the time. The moment I reach home and he gleams with pleasure, I feel something breaking inside me because I know he missed me. And I don’t like it. And I also feel I am not giving 100% at work because sometimes, I sit and wonder how it would be if I were with him. And then, when I see that my mother in law has taken care of him all day and I sit with my son while she does something else, again I feel guilty about it because I don’t want that also. It is impossible to do justice to everything and yet, I feel I have to do it and because I am not able to, I live with guilt for every part of my life. Thats not easy too!

      And then, sometimes, I do realise that I work because I want my son to have a comfortable life. And because I want to work. And because my husband wants me to work too! So, I am fine with it.

      This is a cycle. The up and down of it!

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      • pavanneh says:

        The sad part is that women get no credit for the roller coaster our lives become as working mothers. Men don’t go through it the same. As long as you come home and give lots of love to him..that is what he will remember in the long run.

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        • A regular Indian girl! says:

          True that. Really sad. And top it with family who expects you to be a superman, and when you are not, they don’t explicitly say it but the dissatisfaction is evident on their faces. No one who can come to you and say “you are trying hard and you are a good mom and a good wife and a good daughter in law”. No! But yes, you do look at someone looking at some mess in the room or frowning on some undone task. It hurts. But somewhere, you learn to ignore it and kill the expectation to be praised for giving up so much.

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  2. Sapna says:

    This sadly is the truth. But she overcame that anyway. Her style isn’t aggressive yet she has managed to come across as a very strong contender in one of the top Fortune 500 companies. I loved seeing her interviews on Youtube. I played Indra Nooyi in one of our plays and saw a lot of them during the preparation for the role.

    So she will continue to inspire us in many ways and if she can do it. We can too. The change has begun and let’s hope it goes really far!

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