CEO of video hosting, sharing, and services platform Vimeo, Anjali Sud, recently shared a picture with her son, taken right before she took the company public. The image, which is being shared by many women, encapsulates what it means to be a working mom, who simply just doesn't give up on her career dreams due to motherhood. Sud's image also encourages other working mothers to embrace their dual identities as career oriented employees/employers and caregivers to young ones.
Sud joined Vimeo six years ago, taking over as the company's CEO two years later. On May 25, she tweeted about her company going, public. " It has been a 16-year labor of love, rooted in our belief in the power of video. We put creators first, and put that power in the hands of millions. To everyone who made today possible: Thank you"
Today @vimeo is a public company.— Anjali Sud (@anjsud) May 25, 2021
It has been a 16-year labor of love, rooted in our belief in the power of video. We put creators first, and put that power in the hands of millions.
To everyone who made today possible: Thank you 💙
Now we keep building. #VMEO pic.twitter.com/vzPciuDzSA
Before the big announcement, Sud had shared a photograph with her son on social media, writing, " Good luck hugs before mama rings the opening bell to take @Vimeo public. .Can’t believe this day has arrived"
Sud's photograph reminds me of another picture that I saw- Bumble Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd holding her baby son and taking her company public in February this year. The 31-year-old new mom became world's youngest self-made woman billionaire and she did it all with her little one by her side.
This image has stayed wid me#Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd became d youngest self-made woman billionaire & CEO to take a co public in US— Gurmeet Chadha (@connectgurmeet) March 2, 2021
Board has 70% female directors. Celebrated Nasdaq opening wid her baby
New age cos that celebrate parenting will get differentiated! pic.twitter.com/fFFFEBIMud
Sud and Wolf have proved that for women today, motherhood isn't a limitation. It doesn't hamper their careers, neither do they give into the social expectation of "taking it easy" as new moms.
Women are often shy and self censored when it comes mixing work with personal life. A career-oriented woman, who leads a company, or aims to do so in future often feels the need to be seen in a certain light- the kind that projects her as an all hands on deck boss, who will prioritise work above everything else. Women do have to work twice as hard as men to prove their worth, as social stereotype tint the world's gaze towards their achievements. In a 2019 essay, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard wrote, "Make no mistake, we’ve made a great deal of progress on equality between women and men. But there’s still a long way to go before capable, competent women get the same rewards as their less-than-stellar male counterparts. Just ask Hillary Clinton."
This is the reason why we have such few women in boardrooms. This is perhaps also the reason why women compulsorily downplay their personal lives, especially the aspect of motherhood. But women like Anjali Sud and Whitney Wolfe Herd are pushing for a change in this narrative. They are not afraid of making their young children, and thus their identity as mothers, a part of their most important career events.
These pictures send across an important message for women, men and enterprises- women shouldn't have to choose between work and home, they can excel in both the avenues, as long as they find support at both the fronts. No woman should have to consciously censor her personal life simply to build an image of a resilient, patient and focused leader, because these are the very qualities that motherhood bestows us with. What women learn as moms, they can take those virtues to work and infact emerge as better leaders.
Also, as a society the onus to ensure that we have more women like Sud and Herd lies on us. Do not expect women to ace on both fronts without batting an eyelid, because that is both unfair and exhausting. Instead create a support system for them both at home and work. Normalise discussion about struggles of striking work-life balance for moms, instead of seeing it as a red-flag for productivity. The world has so much to gain, if we simply normalise the image of mommies carrying babies to work and doing both jobs on their terms.
The views expressed are the author's own.