PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Says Working Moms Can’t Have It All

Earlier this week PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi made some controversial statements during an interview with The Atlantic‘s David Bradley.  Having been married for 34 years with two daughters, Nooyi said that women simply can’t have it all. “If you ask our daughters, I'm not sure they will say that I've been a good mom,” she conceded. The interview was unusually forthright for Nooyi, and what it boiled down to was her belief that working moms can’t have it all. In her opinion, career women have to sacrifice aspects of motherhood to have a career, and she does occasionally make some good points. She started out pretty strong:

“…And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother; in fact, many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you. We co-opted our families to help us. We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I’m not sure they will say that I’ve been a good mom. I’m not sure. And I try all kinds of coping mechanisms.”

On the day she received word that Pepsi was slated to name her its president, Indra Nooyi left work early (about 10 p.m.) to go home and share the thrilling news with her family. Her mother stopped her at the top of the stairs. “Let the news wait,” Nooyi remembers her saying. “Can you go out and get some milk?”
Even though Nooyi’s husband had been home for hours (“He’s tired,” her mother reasoned) and the family employed several housekeepers at the time, she dutifully went to the store and returned shortly thereafter, slamming the carton on the kitchen counter.

Finally spitting out news of her promotion and balking at the errand, Nooyi’s mother remained nonplussed. "Let me explain something to you,” Nooyi recalls her saying. “You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you're the wife, you're the daughter, you're the daughter-in-law, you're the mother. You're all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage.”

Motherhood is a full time job. Being a CEO of a company is three full-time jobs rolled into one,” she said. “How can you do justice to all?”

But in order to achieve a functioning balance, Nooyi explained, the lines between home and work must be meticulously blurred. When her daughter calls her at the office to ask permission to play Nintendo, for instance, Nooyi preps her secretary with a set of questions, including “Have you finished your homework yet?” After going through the checklist, the secretary then leaves Nooyi a memo recounting the exchange and noting that she’s granted Tyra, say, a half-an-hour of play.

“So it's seamless parenting,” Nooyi explained with a laugh. “But if you don't develop mechanisms with your secretaries, with the extended office, with everybody around you, it cannot work.” Seamless though it may seem, striking this balance has been a lifelong conflict, Nooyi says -- made no easier by her gender or Indian heritage. Growing up, for instance, Nooyi’s mother encouraged her to dream big in the same breath that she threatened to marry her off at age 18.
Ironically, however, it was the men in her family that emphasized the importance of a career from an early age. “My grandfather and my father basically put their foot down and said, ‘I don’t care if it’s girls or boys, they all have to have an equal shot at being what they want to be.’”

You know, you have to cope, because you die with guilt. You just die with guilt. My observation, is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total complete conflict. When you have to have kids you have to build your career. Just as you're rising to middle management your kids need you because they're teenagers, they need you for the teenage years.

We, at Avishkaar Box, think that right now it's a time period where there's more acknowledgement that it's almost impossible to do multiple full-time jobs at one time. It puts strain on personal lives, and I think that it's essential to understanding and find solutions to the the problems of work-life balance that parents face today. It's the quality learning time spent with children that matters. 


PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Says Working Moms Can’t Have It All PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Says Working Moms Can’t Have It All  Reviewed by Avishkaar Box on 02:39 Rating: 5

You may also like

Powered by Blogger.