She is a successful woman on top of the Corporate ladder at one of the biggest companies in the world. And she knows her mind. She wants women to be treated with respect. And to that effect, can't stand the terms "honey" and "sweetie" in the workplace. At the Women in the World Summit held in New York last week, Indra Nooyi explained that these two terms are a big no-no in her books and she hates them. And we agree!
But that's not all Nooyi said. She stated that women need to be respected as individuals. Nooyi believes that women can't have it all. But for reasons that we all would agree to. She shared some powerful insights on women, why they can't have it all and what they must do, just in case they still wish to make the pursuit. Here are a few key points from her talk, you can make some notes if you like:
"The biological clock and career clock are at conflict with each other", she says. Indra also believes that in order to live and survive in the man's world, there would be certain sacrifices and tradeoffs that women will have to make, which they must be very careful about otherwise "when you will look back, it will hurt like hell."
On being asked if she ever regretted working, she responded with the most heartfelt and honest answer. She said, "It's not regret; I love what I am doing. I may have regretted not doing it had I just stayed home and spent all my time with the kids. Regret is a very complex word."
Nooyi believe that societies, workplaces, companies and families need to work together in order to bring up the next generation. Citing issues of maternity leave from the point of view of the company, she said, "There is a need to reallocate responsibility." She also pointed out the following structural problems in keeping mothering women in the workplace loop:
- The problem of keeping the job open for the entire duration;
- The problem of getting out of cue in the hierarchy
Her solution- simple. Workplaces can set up facilitative ecosystems with the following few measures:
- Setting up sick baby care centres;
-Having qualified personnel for caregiving. For this, the government can set up day care certification centres that offer skill specific training to caregivers;
- To bring together the ageing members and working women in the family, through multi-generational households, a supportive ecosystem can be created.
Message for women
Indra says, "I think the sisterhood needs to become way stronger than it is today. I don't think women help women enough. We assume feedback from women means something is wrong, but if the same feedback came to us from men, we are willing to accept it." True message, though we hardly know how long it is going to take before women realize and tackle this unconscious bias within them.