Former United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice is one of the most successful women in the world. On Saturday, she gave five tips to career women while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
1) Choose passion: When you are selecting a career, choose a career that you are passionate about. Don’t get diverted to a certain path because of your gender or race.
2) Work twice as hard: Prepare yourself to work very hard, more than others. My parents told me, “You have to be twice as good.” I didn’t worry about whether this was unfair or not, I just took it for granted.
3) Forgive before you confront: If you walk into a room and someone reacts badly to you, do not automatically assume this is about your colour or your gender. Give them the benefit of doubt. If you react to all incidents of possible sexism and racism, you’ll only drive up your blood pressure. If their reaction persists, then confront them directly. Ask them: “Do you have a problem with me?” They often back down.
4) Merit role models: Role models who have experience in all this are good but do not assume a role model has to be like you. My role models were very old white men because I chose to be a Soviet expert and the field was dominated by such people.
5) Don’t be infantilised: It is important to have laws to protect women, but the majority of the situations we face can be handled by the people involved.