#EveryWomanIsALeader: Empower, Engage & Elevate

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, the 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 CEOs. 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.

Remember #EveryWomanIsALeader, provided 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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