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Snakes and Ladders

Do you remember the saying “one step ahead, two steps backward” we learnt in childhood? Maybe you played a few games based on the principle. Snakes and ladders is the commonest one, we’ve all played.

I found the same phenomenon playing over again and again in discussions with women where we come together just to share. No judgement, no advice …. just sharing how you feel.

The empathy and validation women receive from their counterparts draws out a lot of their inner core, and they appear to have discovered an inner strength.

On checking back after an interval, I find they’ve slipped back in comfort zones, the trusted and the familiar. Does the inner glow fade away?

I guess, no, but they feel safe in following social norms. 


If groupthink guides a thought process, we tend to follow the larger and more influential group. There is a women’s group willing to share, endorse and be a companion on your path ahead. But your immediate group environs appear to be larger, relevant and more influential in deciding your future.

When you cast the dice, feminism gets a 1, and all other considerations get 5 or 6. The women’s group is good to interact with on social media, a good sharing platform when you need to vent out something. When it comes to implementation of lofty principles, they appear to be far away, small and irrelevant. 

They are not decision-makers. They are not the ones who give employment or prestige or social acceptance. It is that little guilty pleasure you indulge in, once in a while, when you feel low.

Move over to other women’s groups – clubs, kitty parties, family circles where the focus is on things other than freedom, feminism and self-development and you get carried away in the flow. Shopping, cooking, holidays, lifestyle upgrades all get a higher mindshare.

The soul is imperceptible. Your conscience is only a concept. The inner voice does not have a script which can be uploaded on the hard disk of existence.


Conformity bias is an oft-repeated subject in discussions on human or organisational behaviour.

Women are not the only ones doing it … but they are a large majority doing it under pressure. The pressure is very often self-created.

Let us face the hard truth – feminism is a quest for freedom, a call for a better life, but just a distant light in the darkness.

It is not mainstream. 

It is not normal.


  • Small day-to-day decisions one takes, not to undermine the self
  • A strong commitment towards individuality
  • Listening to your innermost voice, rather than following the beaten path.

Commitment is what matters.

Freedom will anyway make feminism groups redundant.

There are no freedom-fighters in a free country.

And each woman is a country unto oneself – unexplored, unexpressed and unaware of its power to change the landscape.

Where do you see yourself?

Author: Reena Saxena

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If you have missed the series of articles, “15 laws of Power for Women”, you may download it from the link here.

Published by Empowered Women

Empowered Women is an initiative to help women Be and Become

6 thoughts on “Snakes and Ladders

  1. A powerful message Reena. You’re so right that woman often chose a path of least resistance. It maybe social pressure or a desire to not upset the apple cart. The message needs to be repeated often and with persuasion to make the woman take a stand.

    Liked by 1 person

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