Women, There Is Nothing Wrong In Being Ambitious.


What is wrong with women being ambitious?


I was watching The Crown a couple of weeks back and something in there caught my attention. And I thought why not share that with you? It was about the stark contrast in the expectations on ambition or rather the degree of ambition a woman is expected to hold as opposed to a man.


So, in The Crown when Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne, it transformed the role of her husband, Prince Philip, in public life as secondary. The series, if you watch it, showed how that made the latter disgruntled. It troubled him to the point of making him cranky for he wasn’t allowed to pursue any official position other than being the consort of the Queen. It bothered him to the extent of rocking their marriage. Of course, what really happened between them I do not know. But even if for a moment the series and the newspaper reports that I later read are to be believed, Prince Philip struggled at not being the star in their marriage.


And it made me think. It really made me think because I have seen women putting their husbands’ careers before their own. It’s something intrinsic to us that makes us do this like we are programmed to do so without even batting an eyelid. A lot of it has to do with gender-pay-gap I suppose because it makes sense for the one being paid more to keep going on, be at the forefront. But I digress. I have seen women who have given up their careers because aren’t they supposed to do so being the wives, the women in the relationship? Women are for some reason not supposed to be ambitious. Or, let me rephrase, women are supposed to be ambitious only up to a certain point. And my question is why?


And then there is that thing about an ambitious woman being labeled bossy or difficult. But a man imbibing the same characteristics is seen as focussed, a taskmaster, a doer and more. Why is it that the moment a woman gives her career priority she is called bossy with a negative undertone? Why is it that a woman being ambitious is frowned upon while a man being the same applauded, celebrated?


Women are supposed to be ambitious only up to a certain point. And my question is why?


Why is bossy used as an insult to women? #Women Click To Tweet


“Let me take a minute to say that I love bossy women. Some people hate the word, and I understand how “bossy” can seem like a shitty way to describe a woman with a determined point of view, but for me, a bossy woman is someone to search out and celebrate. A bossy woman is someone who cares and commits and is a natural leader.” ― Amy Poehler


Why is a woman's ambition incumbent on her partner's career or childcare? #Women Click To Tweet


Even to this day and age, women, educated and qualified women give up their thriving careers to go settle wherever their husbands are posted. Sometimes it’s done by choice but often that becomes the natural course of action. A woman almost always needs to check her ambition or navigate it around her family and her husband’s career. Anything else often leads to problems. This is one of the reasons I admire women who never sacrifice their ambition either for marriage or children in spite of the judgment which they, I’m sure, face from family and society. Their lives tell us that there is nothing wrong with being ambitious for a woman.


Imagine if all women who had to give up their careers ended up sulking or being disgruntled. If they were cranky for giving up their professional training or settling for something other than what they had hoped for in order to not inconvenience their families. What would be the equations at such homes? And make no mistake about it, that’s most of the homes around you I’m talking about.


“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man.”― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists


Somewhere the scales are skewed, the expectations unfair. Sacrifice is sought almost always from a woman when it comes to her career and her family life while a man can have it all. That is the reason why I still say a woman can’t still have it all but it certainly doesn’t mean she shouldn’t try to.


So to the women I say, it’s not wrong to be ambitious, to be bossy. Be all of it and more. Seek more and be more for yourself because you deserve it and not what the society stipulates. Don’t sell your ambitions short because someone else won’t do it.


“Ambition is not a dirty word. Piss on compromise. Go for the throat.” – Steven Erikson, Gardens of the Moon


Why are ambitious women called bossy or difficult to work with? Have you thought why women are taught that ambition is a wrong word? What is wrong with women being ambitious? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, women. Read this post to see what I think. And I have great quotes for ambitious women too. #Women #AmbitiousWomen #Feminism #FeminismQuotes #FeministQuotes #Quotes #Girls #Truths #Careers #Wisdom #Inspiration #GirlPower


Pic Credit | Dirima via Shutterstock






This post is part of the #FeministMondays series (previously called #IAmAFeminist series) on the blog. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists, I intend to talk about the need for feminism through my posts, posts on my experience and observation as a female. I intend to talk about issues concerning women.

Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.



10 thoughts on “Women, There Is Nothing Wrong In Being Ambitious.”

  1. Thank you for sharing this post. I once heard a man praising his wife about how “self effacing” she was and how she had given up her career to adjust to his…I truly wanted to ask him if he would do the same for her if the situation arose ..

    It saddens me when I see this gender inequality..

  2. Thanks for a good post and I can only say, “AMEN!” I have been a pastor’s wife all of my adult life, and initially my task was that of “pastor’s wife” but then my husband and I chatted about it and I went back to nursing. I was still a pastor’s wife and didn’t shirk from being a support of him, but I was far happier once I had my own life too! Plus of course that of mother to three growing children. Is it true that Variety is the Spice of Life?

  3. Great post as always. I think it’s an expectation that women give up their careers for family but men aren’t expected to raise kids. It’s sad and like you said, the numbers are skewed.
    Parul Thakur recently posted…5 reasons to try YogaMy Profile

  4. I know exactly what you mean but ambition is women is still looked down upon. Somehow that equates with aggression and that she would not be a good mother and wife. It makes me really sad that such thought processes prevail. Perhaps patriarchy is the reason for it. A man at home and a wife going out to work and running a family is still looked down upon.
    Rachna recently posted…Why I Feel So Proud This Mother’s Day?My Profile

  5. Did I tell you about a women’s round table that I attended at work a few years ago. They had a chart there that showed the decrease of women in the work force after they turn 28. It is mostly due to parenting and also due to the fact that apparently women prefer to take a step back while they are given a chance to rise in their career. I heard of a lot of women who refused to take promotions because that would increase their workload and they would not have time for family. Do such women even think of ambition? Or are their thoughts limited by the pressures of society?

    It is 2018 and my in-laws still think that women are supposed to be subdued and not ambitions. Their only ambition should be to have fresh food on the table for every meal. Yes, even my MIL believes this and expects me to be the same. For every incident/practice that I rebel against, they think that it is because I work or because I am ambitious. They envy the lifestyle that my husband and I have today, but they fail to realize that it is because of both of us working and contributing equally to the household.

    Apparently, ambition is a bad word when it comes to women. If you are ambitious, you are either immoral or a bad woman for not putting the family first. Sadly, a lot of women themselves think so.

    As usual, I piss on compromise (Oh! how much I hate that word) and do only what I have to do. I’m every ambitious and have huge plans for myself. Everything else is secondary.
    Soumya recently posted…#FeministMondays | Women In Indian CinemaMy Profile

    1. Soumya this is exactly what goes on for me.too. I quit my job at 28, yes bowed down to parenting. From a corporate performance appraisal to now am appraised if I am able to cook up a lavish meal every single day and serve it hot for the man of the house who works really hard. You need to convert this comment into a post to Sowmya

  6. Men hate bossy women. Period. Men hate ambtitious women. Period. Sadly, women are expected to be shadows even if they are successful….. you just have to look at the lazy Lion who lords over his pride and the jungle as KING while his hardworking mate chases and catches the food, tends to the cubs and does what all females do….. purr in the background. This is the law of nature and we can only raise our voices against it and do what we want to do for ourselves!
    BellyBytes recently posted…Deceptive Urban Jungle #WordlessWednesdayMy Profile

  7. This is so true Naba. Often ambition is looked upon as a negative trait in a woman where as in a man it is appreciated. An ambitious woman is also often tabled as one who neglects her home and children. Where as when a man is ambitious the family is expected to encourage him in entirety. The bottom line is her roles are defined and home front is her primary role, hence she is expected not to have an ambition. In fact she is expected to take her husband’s ambition as her own.

  8. A great article indeed. We need to speak up more often about being the best and most fierce woman we can be!

Comments are closed.