Indra Nooyi knows what it means to climb the corporate ladder as a woman. She has documented her rise to become a leading woman in business in her latest book, My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future. The book is filled with lessons for husbands, parents, business leaders and lawmakers on how women can be supported to advance professionally. It’s a call for society to act and support the professional development of those who are often left behind due to family responsibilities.
It’s a timely call considering the challenges that were faced by the majority of professional women while working from home. During lockdown women carried the burden of taking care of family responsibilities, remote learning support while at the same time executing work responsibilities.
Nooyi believes there’s a need to address the work and family conundrum by focusing on the infrastructure around “care” with an energy and ingenuity like never before. She suggests that it should be treated as a moonshot, starting with ensuring that every worker has access to paid leave, flexibility, and predictability to help them handle the ebb and flow of work and family life, and then moving fast to develop the most innovative and comprehensive childcare and eldercare solutions that our greatest minds can devise.
Throughout her career she always had a support structure that made it possible for her to achieve at work. She is calling for businesses support for families to enable advancement of women at work.
She admits that this mission will not be easy. According to her it will require leadership that we don’t often see. She suggests that we will need the wisdom of business leaders, policy makers, and all women and men passionate about easing the work and family burden to come together. She insists that the can-do sense of optimism and a must-do sense of responsibility, will transform our society.
The former Chairman and CEO of Pepsi takes the reader through the life of a businesswoman with family responsibilities, how they do it. She concludes with few suggestions of what it will take to get more women to climb the corporate ladder and thrive.Whether her suggestions can work for middle class women it’s difficult to say.
It’s good to know however that she’s planning to make this her mission.
She suggests that the biggest investment we can make in the future of our population is to build a reliable, high-quality, safe, and affordable care infrastructure, focused on childcare from birth to age five, and to expand our thinking to include the whole cycle of life.