Organizations are aiming at creating a more ‘gender equal’ culture. Targets are set around new hires, senior roles and other learning and development opportunities. It is a growing strategic priority for a lot of organizations.
While it is encouraging to know about these initiatives, the ‘real’ impact of these initiatives could be multi-fold. Here are our thoughts on the way organizations are promoting a gender equal culture and its impact on women:
Workplace relationships are based on mutual trust and respect. They enable people to support each other, be empathetic and most importantly ‘be there’ when needed the most.
A gender equal culture enhances this trust level by allowing us to be comfortable with our strengths as well as vulnerabilities, irrespective of our gender, without the fear of being judged.
Monika, one of our senior consultants who has worked with various organizations in HR roles and has driven various Diversity and Inclusion initiatives has a very interesting perspective to share.
She states “It is almost amazing as to how everyone working in such an environment feels gender equality is just a normal thing and does not need to be enforced or stressed upon”.
Harshita, who heads our Client Services Team, feels “If and when equality becomes the norm it will only lead to better relationships at work as well as at home”
Prioritization is an individual trait but may be influenced by the environment largely.
Exposure to a challenging and rewarding environment pushes us to prioritize better.
We see our world with a different lens and with clarity, become ambitious, set goals, deal with setbacks graciously and make the best of the environment we are in. These, for me are certainly signs of a focused approach towards creating a balanced life.
So, it is on us. Let us be ready to spot those opportunities within and outside our organization and make the most of it.
This holds true for any human being irrespective of the gender. Exposure to opportunities and being able to leverage on them are two different things.
To be able to leverage on opportunities one needs to work on their competencies too. So, as long as we look at opportunities as a platform to bring out our unique qualities to the table, chances are very rare that we will take it as entitlement.
Diya who is also a consultant with us feels “Taking it as an entitlement would be challenging if we have a strong and sound system”. She strongly believes that “Opportunities are given basis merits and qualities and performance is measured on pre -set parameters. Women have to surpass the same pre requisites as men”
Harshita shares “With so many capable women around it would not come easy for sure. Any woman who makes it will have to prove herself.”
Therefore, it is important that we not only value what we have but also create more value for each other beyond our gender. Empowerment gets stronger when we spread it.
This one is typically a critical one. In my interaction with women from different industries and in different profiles, I feel that even they do not want any opportunity to be seen as a ‘favour’. They believe in earning it through the right means.
But at the same point in time, I have also heard some of them share instances where the outcome inspite of the ‘right intent’ and ‘right means’ has not been positive. Then how do we keep ourselves motivated?
Diya shares “Used as a favour to give employment, promotion, etc. by means of exploitation is still prevalent” and therefore it does not have to be gender dependent.
Monika emphasizes that “Handling it with utmost integrity, trust and righteousness is imperative”
Yes, it is our responsibility. Therefore, what I believe is to always play it to our strengths and keep improving. What we are doing today probably is not good enough for tomorrow.
The key is to keep ourselves future ready.
Opportunities come and go, perceptions are built and broken but our future is our reality and we create it – Are we ready to embrace it irrespective of the initiatives? Are we strong enough to go the length and prove ourselves worthy of sitting in the boardroom? Be brave enough to say ‘No’ for the right reasons? Are we ready to help others grow irrespective of their gender?
That for us would be true empowerment and the true celebration of womanhood.
Written and curated by Sumitra Paul Chatterjee, Partner, I Train
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