Social clock, Indra Nooyi & Shobha De

The social clock refers to significant changes in life that most people experience-childhood, adolescence, the right time to leave home, get a job, get married, have children, or retire.

The social clock can be masculine or feminine.


People following masculine social clock are more career oriented and focused. They want to develop their professional life before they have a family. Those who follow masculine social clock are usually dominant, sociable and independent over time.

The feminine social clock is centred on marriage and family ex. getting married, and then starting a family with a kid or two. Those who follow feminine social clock are usually responsible, self-controlled and caring, but also suffer from lower self-esteem over time.

Do not confuse the term with gender for ex. a male can follow feminine social clock or female can follow masculine clock. One is not superior or inferior to another; they are just preferences of individual.

Recently, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi made statement-“I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so.”

The Week magazine commented on her statement…

“Nooyi acknowledges that at some point balancing family and work becomes a zero sum game — and she is not afraid to admit she has chosen work.”

Indra Nooyi chose masculine social clock over feminine social clock. While for a moment she may be regretting not following feminine social clock, it is unlikely that she would have been happy following feminine social clock. Sooner or later, a talented and ambitious person like her would have suffered from depression and low self-esteem.


My assumption is Indra’s mother followed feminine social clock, which perhaps explains her reaction to Indra’s announcement of her becoming president of Pepsico Board…

“You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, and you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don’t bring it into the house.”

This does not mean Indra’s mother is narrow- minded, she is just following different clock, hence her priorities will be very different from those of Indra.


Diversity and inclusion is about appreciating other person’s point of view. And one person who is devoid of such thinking is Shobha De.

Shobha De comes from film journalism background. Indian film journalism does not go beyond anatomy of women, casting couch, Page 3 socialites and character assassination. Without knowing much about Indra and even less about her mother, like true film journalist, Shobha launched attack on Indra’s mother. Result was highly deplorable article in Mumbai Mirror, which is nothing but character assassination of a person who she doesn’t even know. Given below is excerpt from article…

“On some level you wanted to cut your daughter down to size. You wished to remind her that she may be a great woman outside her home, but for you, she was still just a daughter – a negligent daughter at that! Maybe you still believe you did her a favour by showing her what her real worth was at home. This is how a lot of traditional mothers think. And how wrong they are! Your insensitive attitude clearly hurt your daughter’s feelings.”

If this was not bad enough, Shobha further wrote…

“Do you resent your daughter’s fame? Do you feel jealous and competitive? Do you think she owes her success to you for holding the fort and running the house? That’s too bad.”

This is yellow journalism under guise of intellectualism. Not expected from someone who is a psychology graduate!



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