“Women’s Day? For us every day is a struggle, everyday is a fight, everyday is a victory. So, everyday is a celebration,” says Meenakshi Vijayakumar, the first woman officer in the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services.
Summing up her emotions about women who have fought their odds and achieved success in society, she says every woman is born to achieve.
Dominating the field which was once considered a male bastion, Meenakshi, now the Divisional Fire Officer in North Chennai, doesn’t deny that life is an every day struggle.
Describing her initial days as fire officer as the toughest days, she reveals that she had to undergo lot of struggles and criticism to move forward. But ultimately it was her confidence, positivism and her understanding family that stood by her in times of turmoil.
“Society cannot decide our fate, we have to decide. If we think we are capable and if we show them what we are, we can be leaders. They follow you, Whatsoever. Of course, there are rejections and comments. Women have to pass through the righteous path of non acceptance before success,” she says, revealing that acceptance is never a problem once women accept their own self.
It is that which she feels is missing in society now. Passionately involved in a profession that involves rescuing and saving lives, giving commands, talking to people, fighting fire and managing family, she observes that many women are still comfortable in their cocoon.
She completely disagrees with the pattern of ‘normal’ living where women study, get married, watch TV, raise their kids and claim that they have no time for other things. On the other hand, she also opposes the ‘Westernised’ culture that is followed by girls who claim that wearing skirts and going to parties is freedom.
“Unfortunately, that’s not freedom. They have to come out of their comfort zone and take a step forward to do something for the society. Women need to think about their needs and the needs of society. It is not the society that suppresses women, but women themselves. We have women achievers in all fields. There is nothing that women cannot do. Hence, it is the mindset of those few women that needs to be changed,” she signs off.