Women in India have always had the freedom to work, and yet within boundaries. Women have done work which allows her to give time to her family, that which is not too demanding and yet considered respectable.
Also, since a woman is not considered the bread earner, so it was always more like an engagement or pursuit of an interest, rather than contributing to the kitty in the family. There always are exceptions, and there have been women who have earned for a living to feed their family, but their circumstances have been different.
Career-driven women who seek to make a place for themselves in the corporate sector have been far and few in between. In recent times the number has shot up and not only has the female workforce made space for herself in India Inc. but the corporate world too has extended a helping hand in order to make their workplace a more gender neutral zone.
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In fact, these days’ companies are actually looking to hire women for specific roles since there are times that a woman can manage that portfolio better than a man due to her inherent skills. Some jobs need a woman’s touch and this is being realised off late.
There is one truth though, that for a woman to be taken more seriously, she has to be louder than a man, work harder, more effectively and efficiently than a man, because, at the outset, such is the conditioning of the mind that others tend not to take her seriously. So from the get go, she has to tighten her belt and make it an agenda that others take her a lot more than a grain of salt and that her work is, if not better, then as good as her colleagues.
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Today offices don’t work on a simple input and output formula. With people spending more than 12 hours a day on an average at the workplace, the office needs to become a more holistic place to be in. Women not only bring with them the balance in the equation at the workplace since they are more sensitive, intuitive and their EQ is higher but they also help in infusing a stronger team spirit since they are naturally attuned to infuse togetherness. Women motivate others to excel.
They are also much calmer than men when faced with crisis situations. It couldn’t be a better move for companies therefore to increase the number of women in their system.
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Having said that the companies in India still need a strong support and mentoring system for women, benefits such as work from home and flexible timings are spoken about a lot but seriously practised by very few places. What companies should realise is that such benefits are actually gender neutral and even though the agenda prima facie seems to be in support of the female workforce, it actually applies equally to the males and if implemented will lead to increase in productivity and efficiency. Unfortunately, the short-sightedness of organisations don’t allow them to take this into consideration.
There is still a long way to go, but the way that women have taken up the challenge and the fact that there are so many companies which are headed by women or have women at the peak positions, is such an inspiration not only to younger girls but even to boys, since it teaches you to persevere and fight against all odds and that rewards will come through surely.