If you’ve ever read or followed my blogs, you’ll know that Women at Work is a topic very close to my heart.
Why? Because I’m a woman, I work and I’d love to see more women at work finding their spot under the sun.
I dream of a tomorrow where
- The workforce includes at least 50% women by default
- Women are given “right, fair and equal” opportunities, exposure, experiences and environment to blossom and reach their true potential
- Globally, there is at least 30% representation of women in business, politics, policy, education, reforms and everywhere where it counts
- She is not “discriminated” against in any way in any phase of life (especially for her gender, physical appearance, social standing, or choices of life)
- At work, she is compensated and progressed for her knowledge, skills, competence, performance and results
- She never experiences abuse of any kind at the workplace – physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, financial abuse or social abuse
- She can “truly” exercise her choices – with respect to education, choice of career and employment, choice of her life partner and the decision to be a mother ; and also have a satisfying career on her terms
- She does not face the “glass ceiling” (which exists even today for women) as a part of her professional career
- She has “true” freedom and control over her personal finances
- She believes that she can aim for the stars, and reach the sky – if she sets her mind on it
- The law of the land / policies / processes will protect her for her rights and interests; and not tilt in favor of power, position and money
I’m also at a point in my professional career where (young) women [There! I said it! – I’m now part of the older generation 🙂 ] come to me for advice, suggestions and general career guidance – from fundamental questions to “Should I work?” to more complex questions around “Is entrepreneurship right for me?”
I generously share my perspective with the hope that it enables, empowers and equips them to make the right choices and decisions, and try to play a small part in “rightly” shaping their career trajectory
Here are a few facts I learned along the way
(1) Women at the workplace – Issues exist, and are complex – Every one of us is unique, including the woman. So there is no “universal set of problems / questions” and no “One size fits all” solution / answers. A lot depends on the women, the kind of person she is, her aspirations, her upbringing, her mental conditioning, her supporting ecosystem, her education, the kind of career choices she has made and the company she is currently employed with.
(2) It is tough for working women – in India and all over the world. So firstly, kudos to all those women who brave it out there every single day by showing up to work, and working through the day! Things will only get better from here is what I believe.
(3) Things are changing and evolving for the better; but a long way to go – It is a crucial point in time for women at the workplace. Many women are now educated, confident and aspiring to make a mark at work, but multi dimensional issues exist, and impede the career progress and growth at various points in her career path. From corporate policy, to power equations (at home and work), to legacy (of systems, people, processes, culture) and how things have always been, to general public safety, to workplace dynamics, to the era / society we are living in.. It is a complex complex complex equation.
(4) Conversations make all the difference – I’ve been through lots of good, bad and ugly experiences as a part of my professional career. Let’s face it – by law of averages, that it is how anyone’s career will be. For a long time, I stayed silent. I did not share or speak about my issues until I realized that it was the biggest disservice I was doing to myself, and the cause of women at the work place. One conversation may / may not change things. But it is a start. It can get people thinking. It can show you a new perspective to an old problem. It can open doors / possibilities which you never knew existed. And if it does not really help you directly, it will help hundreds on women somewhere down the road. And trust me, that one conversation is worth your time and their time. So speak up!
(5) Where you reside influences your decisions and impacts your choices more than you realize – As a working woman, you can’t ignore the influence of your immediate living environment on the challenges you face, the choices and decisions you make. Every country has its own legacy, history, evolution, growth story, political scenario, policies, laws, educational framework, economic growth, culture, “ways of living” and employment guidelines which influence the mind-set of the “community at large”; and this creates unique set of country-specific-issues when it comes to the topic of “Working women and the issues they face”. India is no exception.
Given that its a subject so dear to me, I’m starting a new space on this blog called Women At Work in which I aim to share observations, insights, lessons, perspective, opinions, resources and stories of / for / by women at work. This space aims to be a hub of information for women / working women / working mothers on things which can help you be productive on a daily basis, bring you a smile on a gloomy day, share information on resources that can keep you going through your career journey or which can help you navigate through office politics and power.
You’re worth it
You deserve it
You’re meant to fly..
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
And I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
BY Robert Frost
As I sign off, I hope you find your space and spot – under the sun, at the workplace and at home.