The August Co. started the #TheAugustWomen series last Thursday, to celebrate stories of substantial women. It was inaugurated by the powerhouse RJ and Podcaster, Jane Jeyakumar. She spoke about her journey, her struggle for equality and her indefinite love for her job.
Having been an RJ for over a decade, tell us about your journey.
“Ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved to talk. After pursuing MBA in Marketing, I interned with Radio Mirchi, Chennai, right after which I switched to a corporate job at HP, but something was pulling me back. I was in a constant dilemma between a high paying job and my passion. But it was time to choose my destiny, so I joined, Chennai live 104. The scenario at the station was that of a ‘fish in an aquarium’; where the RJ is the fish and the visitors spectate the RJ. It took me 2 years of sheer dedication to become an RJ and my 1ST show was about books. My love for being ON AIR still gives me the rush every single day, even after interviewing about 3,500 people, till date. Making a significant difference even in 1 listener’s life, just keeps me going.”
Were you ever subjected to ‘you are not enough’ or was there a bias?
“I am a feminist but the reality of the matter is that women need to compete 3 times harder and as you rise up the ladder, the grind becomes difficult. I have experienced this personally. Apart from the women centric jobs which need specific EQ and glam quotient, women don’t just break the ‘glass ceilings’ but ‘walls’ too. My biggest struggle was demanding equal pay. Statistically women are paid 19% lesser than men and this culture is a more prominent reality in the corporate sector we work in and I take pride in being vocal about it.”
Women are pushed to adhere to some kind of standards, what are your views on it?
“Women are subjected to adhere certain ‘standards’, but women need to break these barriers and be vocal about whatever they stand for, whether it’s your sexuality, which I am widely vocal about in my podcast called the ‘Missbehaved Podcast’ or being a corporate freak for the rest of your life. The choice is theirs and they need to stand true to it. Whether I want to show some cleavage, or feel strongly about #beauty beyond size, taking inspiration from Ashley Graham and Sakshi Sidhwani, it’s my choice. I love the fact that The August Co. incorporates this in their clothing and there’s nothing more important than women standing up for each other.”
Even in your bad days, how do you still manage to be so vivacious?
“Drama and bad days are a part of everybody’s life and the same goes with me, but once I am On Air, even a mild contribution in making, even one listener’s smile, gives me my daily source of boost and keeps me thriving. Be it, helping a bipolar girl stranded with us in the station for 7 days during the Chennai floods feel better or doing my show every day, I invest in people and that keeps me interested.”