Every year Women’s International Day comes with a theme. This year’s campaign is #EachforEqual which upholds the concept of equality that says ‘An Equal World For An Enabled World’.
Despite thousands of women continuing to break the glass ceiling every day with their work, at some point, they face gender disparity in a working environment. To fill in this gap, many companies have taken initiatives as fillers, for instance, Ola has started ‘Women On Wheels’ to empower women drivers. At Infosys, the focus is, nurturing equitable workplaces that truly celebrate the diversity of our workforce and nurture inclusion to harness innovation. These are one of the examples from the two different sectors. Let’s discuss, how industry women leaders are celebrating the equality:
Pearl Tiwari, Director & CEO Ambuja Cement Foundation
In our experience of working with thousands of rural women across India, we’ve seen that the aspirations of women are really growing and coming to the fore. The more opportunities women are given the more they grab those opportunities and run with them.
Securing women’s ‘participation’ is the key and provides the necessary launching pad for women to build networks, learn, earn and grow. We’ve seen that women who participate in SHGs or livelihood opportunities build confidence and the necessary skills that elevate them as community leaders – either formally (as Sarpanches, Ward Members and the like) or informally (as change-makers in their community) – tackling social issues and influencing others to get involved.
Traditionally, the saying goes that ‘women are the weaker sex’ but really they are much, much stronger! If given the chance, they can juggle so many of life’s complications – be it work family, society – in a far greater capacity than men.
Dr. Babita Shekhar, Advisory Board Member, iE3 Innovations
The precision of the “human computer” Katherine Johnson was instrumental in rocketing men into space and ensuring America’s lead in the space race. As a part of NASA’s “Computer Pool”, Johnson, along with a group of brilliant black women, made US Space travel possible. A pioneering mathematician, she was the inspiration behind the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures”, which depicted well the struggles of women to make place for themselves in the field of mathematics, technology and engineering.
When Indian scientists successfully put a satellite into orbit around Mars, it should come as no surprise that there were again a group of women scientists in the control room during the launch. The path for women achievers has never been easy, be it Katherine Johnson in a segregated NASA or Anuradha TK, the senior-most woman officer who joined ISRO at a time when there were few women in the engineering department. These women and others like them have broken stereotypes about women and inspired generations of young girls to aim for the stars.
Despite these and other such inspiring stories, women are still under-represented in science and technology. STEM had been a predominantly male domain, largely due to cultural and social biases. The fourth industrial revolution, powered by disruptive technologies is also leveling the playing field for women and ensuring their place as equals in the workplace as well as in society.
Akshita Gupta, Co-founder and CMO at ABL Workspaces
Specifically in India, the increasing number of success stories of women entrepreneurs highlight how women are now breaking stereotypes when it comes to entrepreneurship. I firmly believe that every woman should have a dream and determination to achieve the same. More and more people are now realising the potential of a woman with their unique qualities like the ability to multitask, being more patient than men, making them the perfect business leaders.
Running a business for the last 3 years have taught me a lot of things, but one most important learning for me has been to be persistent and focused on our goal even when society pressurizes us. I also believe that this will be my one advice for my peers who are trying to make their mark in this male-dominated industry.
Shanai Ghosh, ED & CEO, Edelweiss General Insurance
I think notions of gender-based differentiation are sowed in childhood; the value and belief systems stay deep-rooted and it is difficult to change these, later in life.
Home and school have the maximum influence on children during their formative years and while I think we have made progress, we still have a long way to go. So, I look at parents and educators of today, to ensure that children are instilled with values and beliefs that ensure equal freedom, choices and opportunities, for both boys and girls.
I am encouraged by what I see around me but as this is a very urban view, true progress will be when we are able to change the narrative at grassroots, where the birth of a child, whether boy or girl, brings equal joy and hope to parents.