Tuesday, March 10, 2015

“Women are as good as men”

Says leading women entrepreneur Beena Kannan in an exclusive interview

By Shevlin Sebastian

What is the present status of women in Kerala?
Women have a very good status in Kerala. They are treated with a lot of respect. They are as good as the men in the professional fields.

When you meet the young women of today, what is the difference that you find, compared to women of previous generations?
All of them are very smart. They look smart, they behave smart, they do their work smartly. But I have noticed a difference in attitude between my generation and theirs when it comes to facing problems. The smartness and courage of the youngsters are far less. The problem with the youngsters is that they get everything so easily. They don't have to struggle for it. They cannot face difficulties the way we can. They lack inter-personal skills because they spend so many hours in front of the computer.

On the other hand, when we were young we would do so many physical exercises and were always interacting with people. We would play outside. We used to develop our physical side so well that automatically our mind also got developed.

Why is there an increasing rate of divorce these days?
That is because women want to be treated as an equal with men. The good news is that there are men who give their wives equal status. But there are many who treat their wives as somebody below them. Women can no longer accept this situation, unlike in the past. They will not suffer or wait for a better day to come.

I do believe that if a woman waits for two or three years, the man does change. Unfortunately, younger women no longer have the patience to hold on. They just want to get out of the marriage. They know that there are many opportunities to earn a living, unlike the olden days. So why should they wait?

But if the parents can convince their children that by waiting, the problems do get solved, then it is a good thing. Otherwise, she will walk out of the marriage, and she might remarry but it does not mean that she will be happy.

What are the qualities that you have which is different from a man and helps you in your leadership role?
Everything of a woman I bring to my job. I am a mother, sister, daughter-in-law, and a friend. To my women employees, sometimes, like a mother, I show compassion to them while they are going through a difficult time. When they do well, I will give a pat on the back of the women, and a smile to the men. I help them out. I will not scold them unless something goes wrong. So my experience as a woman makes me a better leader.

When you have to make an important business decision, do you rely on your intuition?
I don't know about that, but I make decisions very fast. When I see 500 sarees, I will select 50 in less than three minutes. Many people in the workplace find it difficult to handle the speed at which I work. So far I have not gone back on any decision that I have taken. So I believe this is the right way for me.

As a leader of an organisation you have to endure a lot of stress. So how do you handle it?
I do a lot of physical exercise. Every morning, I do yoga, walking or jogging. Earlier, I would do a lot of Bharatanatyam and that relaxed me a lot. The time taken is anywhere between 45 minutes and two hours. Once I do this physical exercise, I feel that my life is under control. And even if I sleep for only four to five hours, I still feel fresh.

What is the attitude of male rivals towards you?
Who is bothered? I am fighting with myself. I don't care what others think. I know where I stand. My aim is to perform well every day. And I always have a desire to improve myself. I know that hard work always pays off. I am happy to say that I am leading the Kerala fashion scene, especially when it comes to Kanjeevaram sarees. Many people look to see what I am doing. So far, many of the designs which I have given have been accepted by the market. 

Any plans for March 8?
Yes, on March 8, I am going to launch a product, called transparent Kancheepuram. This is the first time this is happening. This is pure silk Kancheepuram with pure jari. This has been woven together for the first time ever. It gives the youngsters a new presentation and is easy to wear. A dye will be used in Kancheepuram sarees to give it a shaded look. This is also new and will be launched at the Kochi and Kottayam Seematti showrooms.

(Published in The Women's Day Special Supplement of the New Indian Express, Kerala) 

1 comment:

  1. They are as good as the men in the professional fields
    What about salary....same for both or....