Women are leaders everywhere you
look, from a CEO to a housewife that holds together a home. - Denise Clark
When you talk about women in
leadership, the first name that comes to my mind is of Margaret Thatcher
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. Of –course, closer home
we had Mrs. Indira Gandhi. More recently there are women like Angela
Merkel, Marissa Mayer, Indira Nooyi, Malala and many more of course,
who not only lead by example but inspire as well.
Today there are women at top
positions all around the world, across industries. Today, women are not only
leading in all spheres but leading by example as well. Things have changed for
the better definitely but is the picture as positive as you and I might have probably
wanted it to be? Truth is, if you analyze carefully the percentage of women on this side
of the divide is not very encouraging. And that is because there are still
countless odds a woman needs to maneuver through to reach somewhere.
According to a report that I read
in Forbes a few months back, less than 5% of the top companies have women
Well, you see what I mean? Or, just think about how many heads of
states are women? So, you see how skewed this divide is?
What I see around me is that fewer
women are there in the middle and upper management positions than at the entry
level. Yes, that’s true. For some reason, after a point women find it easier to
drop out of promising career options. Why is that? Well, I’ll tell you why. In
the Indian context, the policies to aid women with families balance both worlds
is not at par with those in some of the others. Work from home options or
extended maternity leaves are still areas where women are not given the much
needed support. While the 3 months paid maternity leave is something organizations
are bound to give due to it being a law, extension of that is a strenuous battle.
And then more often than not most of the Indian companies and sometimes even
the Indian arms of some MNCs make it a choice between either coming back to
work, leaving your baby alone, or losing your job. So, is it really a surprise,
this existence of the chasm? No, not really. So, it is hardly a surprise that fewer
women scale the ladder of leadership and stay there.
What I mentioned though is just the
tip of the iceberg. You know well about how women are almost always paid less
as compared to their male counterparts. There is still a shadow of misogyny in organizations
around the world which subtly and discreetly make it an ongoing battle of
survival for women. Some survive, many don’t. I remember being told repeatedly
that I was promoted out of compulsion because of items made mandatory by company
policies. I remember being told that it was my male counterpart whom they would
have rather promoted inspite of the fact that I fared well in every respect.
That’s the ground reality. It is a never ending battle.
So, inspite of that if women reach
positions of influence then it has to be applauded. It has to be talked about
to inspire even more women. It has to be written about to ensure that things
change, so that more and more women achieve what they want to.
the biases dissolve away. You and I need to make sure that in our own small
ways we empower, engage and elevate women. And not only that, but also encourage
the society to do the same. You will join me, won’t you?
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