“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” – Michelle Obama
From attaining independence to orbiting around Mars; a lot has been attained in the last century, yet the life of Indian women has not changed much since the dawn of the century, just a whole new set of responsibilities.
While it’s a piece of cake for our male counterparts, we need to struggle through all the spheres of life; From professional to personal. There’s a constant need to prove that we deserve it, over and over.
Gender discrimination is the leading cause for most issues faced in this male-dominated society; beginning from the very birth of a girl child such as selective abortion and following her in all the stages of her life like disparity in education, dowry, and harassment are just a few to state.
And this bias is not limited to just less educated or conservative people, even the most prominent organizations with most educated people are not untouched from this.
These biases based on stereotypical beliefs is what’s enabling mediocre men to attain more than outstanding women.
It starts even before a woman joins an organization. If a man and a woman with similar experience and expertise apply for the same position, it is likely that the man will get the job. Only a few organization who know the importance of diversity would do otherwise.
Additionally, when it comes to job promotion or delegating important responsibilities women are last to win the race. There are fewer women in the top positions and in fact, are more likely to stay at the individual contributor position for the course of their career.
It does not always have to be from management only, a lot of it comes from colleagues as well; from passing sexist remarks to being called feminazi when trying to defend ourselves, women by default are considered the secondary sex in India with no rights and just responsibilities.
Gender Pay Gap
Women in India get paid 19% less than their male counterparts. And it’s even higher in the IT industry with a whopping 26%.
And the Pay Gap only widens with the increase in experience, because of the belief that women are not as focused about their work due to their responsibilities towards their homes.
Lack of Family Support
The people we seek most support from often deprives us of it; many working women have to fulfill dual responsibilities [office and home] without any helping hand or moral support from their families. As people believe their families are their actual responsibilities, and working a full-time job is just a recreation.
Though a hardworking man is commended for his dedication towards his work, a hardworking woman has to face criticism and social stigma for neglecting her responsibilities towards her home.
And if a girl has to work late or in graveyard shift while risking her safety, that’s not her dedication towards her work she’ll get stigmatized for it as well.
Women pay a high price even to experience the most beautiful time of her life. From not getting enough leaves to struggling to make a comeback, this time becomes a major setback in their career.
Though the government has entitled women of receiving 26 weeks of maternity leave and eight weeks of prenatal leave, not all organizations abide by that; in fact, small organization avoids hiring women altogether to save these costs.
And in cases when these leaves were not enough, much valid employment gap becomes the biggest hindrance to a women’s career. She may have to settle for a lesser pay scale, a junior position, and more secondary opportunities, but it’s the case when you get selected for the job. Merely finding a job with a young baby is a struggle in itself.
The popular #metoo movement made us realize how much of it never said or brought to light, around 80% of it never gets reported. Being considered secondary sex is still okay than being objectified.
After all this, women have to deal with this unacceptable behavior of their colleagues as well.
Despite the odds, women face; they’ve outperformed men in many fields. However, gender equality would have made it an easier pursuit.
These are some women who proved themselves in the business domain.
Indra Nooyi – Board of Directors, Amazon
Member of Amazon board of directors and former CEO of Pepsico who rose Pepsico’s annual revenue three folds during her tenure, and led some of the most significant acquisitions by the firm.
She has consistently ranked at top positions among 100 most powerful women, issued by publications like; wall street journal, Time, Forbes, etc.
Shikha Sharma – Former CEO, Axis Bank
Since her appointment as MD and CEO of Axis Bank, the stock has gained over 90%. She has also led the bank to win many awards such as “Bank of the year in India.”
Renu Satti – Former CEO, Paytm Payments Bank
She has set benchmarks by her amazing career transformation; former Paytm payments bank CEO has been an HR for more than 10 years before turning to operations and ultimately the CEO, and what’s commendable is she aced every task she’s been appointed with so far.
Nivruti Rai – Country Head, Intel
Who led an investment of ₹1,100 crore to build a new state-of-the-art SoC (system-on-a-chip) design house in Bengaluru, is an example of how you can be better than yourself every day. Started as a design engineer 25 years ago, is now country head for Intel also leading Intel’s R&D unit in India which is the largest outside the US.
Bindu Ananth – IFMR Chairperson
Co-founder and chairperson of IFMR group, Bindu Ananth has facilitated loans of up to Rs 40,000 crore to low-income people to get easy credit. She also serves as Nominee Director for National Stock Exchange on the Board of Computer Age Management Services.
These are just a few names to state out of women business leaders, every day in different spheres women are making a difference.
At last, there’s nothing a woman a can’t do because despite what world throws at us, we know how to build our castles of them. Though having gender parity would spare us that extra hard work, that we’ve to put just to be in the same position as men.