Gender based Social Conditioning – The enemy within

At a very basic level, social conditioning is the norms of society that gets ingrained into us from the moment we are born. This is probably needed for us to conform to the collective, so we can belong. It is a sort of code of conduct, or in corporate jargon, ways of working that was designed to maintain uniformity, law and order. We don’t really if this happened by design or default. Just that it is invisible mesh that holds the society together and binds us all to it.

These start with simple habits like bathing in the morning and lighting a lamp and extend all the way to patriarchy and the pecking order. While some conditioning is good for us, some can get very toxic or restrictive, especially during changing times. Gender based conditioning comes in very early into our lives. Boys need to study so they earn money. Girls need to leave their parents to live with their in-laws. Boys don’t cry. Girls don’t fight. The list is endless.

My interest in this topic came about when I was reflecting about my life as I started writing my book. I realized that gender-based conditioning had played a massive role in the decisions I had taken in my marriage. And as I got thinking, I realized that the spider web of this conditioning had spread into my professional life too. I could suddenly see why many of my colleagues grew faster in their careers. I know why I found it difficult handling office politics. I understood why I got the feedback that I was too soft, and hence couldn’t take bigger roles. I understood why I could not change. As this got clearer and clearer, I started talking to other women colleagues and friends working in other companies. The story was the same everywhere.

The invisible enemy that holds women back from being successful and fulfilling their dreams is the very thread that holds us together as a society. If the problem is so inherent to our existence, is there a solution out there?

Read more about how we can overcome this gender based conditioning.

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