We, as women, are often put on a pedestal and judged unconditionally for our successes or failures in the work place. Why does there exist such a vehement gender bias? Not just the men but the women in the workplace too, take the liberty to judge their counterparts, subordinates, superiors, etc. The efforts women make are overshadowed by heroic accomplishments of men in their office. I’m not saying that women can’t be where the men are, but even with similar educational background, skills and experience, she needs to try ten times harder to be shoulder to shoulder with men.
Working round the clock, handling both home and work effortlessly with utmost finesse, women certainly prove their mettle. But we need more. We need to empower them. We need to provide the neo woman with the necessary impetus to grow and evolve in today’s world, to be recognized as an individual first, and a woman later.
Organizations need to make concrete and concentrated efforts to capacitate their women members. The following efforts, if undertaken, can prove to be a great start towards a perennial healthy work environment which promises to empower women as employees:
Recognition: Someone cooks food only to hear ‘it tastes great’. Similarly, being acknowledged for their work by employer gives a great boost to the over-working women. She tackles kids, husband, in-laws, maid, inter-work competition, and many things at once. So a concrete effort by the manager towards knowing, appreciating and complementing his women employees will give them the necessary boost to perform better.
Let them Lead, not follow: An ardent effort must be taken by the employers to let the women in their team initiate or lead the presentations or meetings instead of acting as a support member to the team who don’t come in the foreground. They should participate, must ask questions, must be answered, their recommendations must be thought over and recognized. They must be asked about their opinions on the subject of the meeting. These efforts would make a working woman feel valued in her organization.
Organize training sessions: There are times when women, due to their very packed schedule, are not able to render to the necessity of improving their soft skills. The employers, aware of the paucity of time and the necessity of upgradation of skills, should organize on the job training for women. This will enhance their ability for quicker and quality work as well as they will be dynamic enough in the cut throat competitions today.
Encouraging Feed backs: Women in the organization must feel free to speak their minds. Feedback, need not always be formal and written. Seeking assessments from the women in the team informally gives a personal touch and they also feel very associated to the team. They get an impression that their thoughts are valued and would put more effort during conversations to give relevant feedback.
No Stereotypes: The employer should make a conscious effort to not inculcate a culture of professional stereotypes when it comes to gender. Every individual is different and has different set of skills. Such skills should be recognized individual to individual, and shouldn’t be gender centric.
Equal Opportunities: Gender shouldn’t be a factor deciding what opportunities should be provided to whom. Be it travelling, presentations, etc. , women are equally qualified and willing to do what men do. Therefore, gender shouldn’t be a basis for making selections. The criteria set should apply equally for both men and women.
Convenience: Women are different from men cause of the fact that they have a biological clock ticking. They have maternity they need to render to, medical issues because of the former, a family to cater to relentlessly, etc. As strong as a woman is, there are biological fragilities she succumbs to, and employers must honor that. She is contributing to mankind, raising kids, making money to contribute to the household, dedicated to her work, she will do it all nonetheless but some convenience to perform these roles will make her life so much better. Efforts can be taken by the organizations like work from home and nursing hours that can assist the women employees in efficiently managing their work-life balance.
We must understand that women long for similar recognition at work, not gender preference, reservations and quotas. Women today are necessarily skilled, laborious, ambitious and they carve their own path towards success. No work is a man’s prerogative. To corroborate the claim, women have gone to the (Late Kalpana Chawla), run for elections(Smriti Irani, Kiran Bedi, Indira Gandhi,etc.), have made their way to the entertainment world with zilch support(Kangana Ranaut, Vidya Balan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, etc.), have proven their hard work in sports (Saina Nehwal ,Sania Mirza,Mary Kom, etc.) heading their organizations with utmost grit and determination (Shikha Sharma, Chitra Ramakrishna, Zia Mody, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chanda Kochhar, Vinita Bali, Vanitha Narayanan, Kumud Srinivasan, Naina Lal Kidwai, Aruna Jayanthi, etc.). There isn’t any facet of work that women today have not explored. Provided the right set of exposure and amicable work environment, women have the courage, ability and attitude to ace it to the T. These women have bent over backwards and achieved what might be thought of as not possible. They made it possible, and so can others.
Women today have the required skills, abilities and determination to achieve the unachievable, all they need is the right platform. An organization can be that platform where gender doesn’t curb individual development, where people are allowed to evolve with better skills, given equal opportunities and recognized aptly. Women are not willing to steal someone’s thunder, they just want to be recognized for their own. Let them be the women in leadership.