YOUR PRESENCE & POWER MATTERS IN THIS WORLD!

Article by: Archana Sathish, Strategic Design Unit

“Women are born to cook, do household chores, and be responsible for childcare”. To be precise, people in older days believed, “women are not just born, but fit for only these tasks”. To rewind the Indian society also believed in child marriage and certain bizarre practices such as Sati, female infanticide etc. which is very rare today compared to what it was in those days. 

Thanks to Industrial revolution and Education which had actually changed the whole idea about what women are “also” capable of. Let’s just say that earlier women just accepted the rules and restrictions constructed by the Indian society. But if we see today, right from driving a train to holding the highest office in the Government, women are present everywhere. Women today have the courage to voice out opinions whenever necessary due to the given exposure. 

As we all know that women still do face obstacles today at the workplace, maintaining the work-home integration, and various other responsibilities. But the way women tackle issues at work and at home is praiseworthy! Yes, it is now widely acknowledged, and pretty much accepted, that there are no differences between men and women in either capability or potential as women are proving themselves again and again. However, whilst this is true of all the professions, and broadly across all manufacturing and service sectors, there are still some stark limits to perceived parity. 

Women comprise a significant segment of the workforce. And, while the number of women working today is a substantial increase from past years, there’s still a lot that can be done to increase the number of women who are not only part of the workforce, but remain engaged and active throughout their careers. 

Why are women important for workplace?

One possible reason is diversity. Diversity at work brings together different types of energies that complement each other. In a male dominated culture, the workplace loses out on all that women bring to the table – multitasking, customer-centricity, teamwork, a nurturing mind-set and so on. 

This does not mean that men don’t have these qualities, but women by design are more conditioned towards these characteristics. 

Secondly, women make for nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population. For a more balanced workplace they need to be represented equally, too. Actually, they need to have an equal representation in the larger scheme of things everywhere. 

Ready to look at some facts and figures?

  • By 2050, India Will Be the Most Populous Country in the World.
  • By 2027 the working-age population in India will be almost 20% (18.6%) of the entire global labour force.
  • Reaching gender parity would have a bigger impact in India than in any other region in the world.
  • Increasing women’s labor force participation by 10 percentage points could add $770 billion to India’s GDP by 2025.  
  • India’s labour force participation rate for women is low due to lack of suitable work, especially for women, is not readily available. Flexibility in work timings and proximity to their households are important.

When we have to talk about attainment of goals or building a solid workplace culture and atmosphere, traits such as empathy, intuition, and optimism of women are required towards the benefit of the company. Their emotional intelligence and passion helps to create a healthy and positive workplace relationship and well-rounded workforce. 

Male dominated workplaces is slowly turning into a myth. This might be the result of gender willingness, career intentionality, and confidence of female employees. To conclude, women are fighters! They are born to bring in revolution to the world!

 Let us all continue to respect their capability and recognize them for who they are! 

Reference: https://www.catalyst.org/research/womenintheworkforceindia


Movies made by WOMEN for WOMEN

Article by: Sumona Chetia, Executive Content Development

Following the death of George Floyd, a black man at the hands of a white policeman in The United States, massive protests against institutional racism rose to attention. The impact was such that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced to introduce new initiatives to address diversity and inclusion objectives within the film making industry. The proposed new rules constructed to offer more importance and recognition to people of colors and, women are all set to open up a new chapter of education and endorsement of all strands of diversity and inclusion in Hollywood and the Global Film Industry.

With this shining ray of hope, let’s take a look at these awesome five movies by and about women. No spoilers ahead, for sure!

  • Mulan- Niki Caro

Acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro brought Mulan (the epic tale of a brave heart Chinese female warrior Hua Mulan) to life on the big screen. This Disney production is the projection of a righteous, fearless, and empowered Chinese maiden taking herself to the forefront of a battlefield to save her father.

A must watch for your young daughters.

  • Lady Bird- Greta Gerwig

A coming of age drama for teenage daughters and their mothers directed by the fantastic Greta Gerwig is a delight to watch. Lady Bird is a story of anguish and love surrounding the delicate relationship between a rebellious teenager and a passionate mother.

Greta Gerwig’s second solo directorial venture, “Little Women” adapted from the classic novel of the same name, is another name to include in this list.

  • Chhapaak- Meghna Gulzar

Chhapaak is the sound of stamping your feet on a muddy water puddle but, in this Bollywood movie, it refers to the sound of acid splashed across someone’s face. Inspired by the true events in acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal’s life, Chhapaak by Meghna Gulzar is a recreation with a few embellishments, but leaves room for facts face up-front.

  • Misbehaviour- Phillipa Lowthorpe

In 1970, the grand stage that celebrated beauty witnessed the crowning of the world’s first black Miss World moments after being invaded by Women Liberation protestors. The feminist protestors took the stage by storm to bring in a wave of change. Now the story of that night is being retold by Phillipa Lowthorpe in Misbehaviour, inspired by the memoir of Jennifer Hosten, who won the beauty pageant and made history.

  • Panga- Ashwini Iyer Tiwari

Panga is a Bollywood sports drama by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari. It follows the story of a former Kabaddi player and, now a working woman trying to make a comeback to the Kabaddi ground with the support of her husband and her son. Male allies in gender advocacy, indeed!

This list falls short in many ways. You are welcome to jot down a few more movies made by women and not necessarily for women in the comments section. But the actual problem lies in the question, “Why aren’t there more women film directors?” To find answers, wait for the next week’s blog article.


Corona or Dalgona?

Article by: Athira Premarajan- Research and Content Development Associate

You know how it works. Fresh today and gone tomorrow. That’s the pace of social media trends. There was a time when a ‘winking beauty’ from Kerala, took over the social space of the entire world. Though it stayed for a little longer than anticipated, it was long forgotten the very next week! Now trending are the frothy Dalgonas. This will forfeit too. So will the Corona.

Rising to the challenge is not new to any human being. We have learned to survive the odds even during the hardest of times. Journeying through the most unprecedented times of the century, we are slowly regaining our world step-by-step. In this process, the role of technology in leading us is huge. It has opened the window of possibilities and opportunities – Learning from home, cooking from home, celebrating from home, invoking from home, working from home, et. al. Among this, the popularity, reach and requirement of ‘remote working’ or ‘work from home’ concept tops the list.

Though it was already in the scene, remote working had not gained limelight until recently. The social stigma that sustained with remote working was long gone within a couple of days since the outbreak. Although, it is sad that a pandemic had to teach us the vast possibilities of the different tools and products made by humankind. Anyway, better late than never! This opportunity has proved the world – both employers and employees, the availability of alternatives. This has made a huge impact in the lives of millions of women – who are trying for a job with flexibility, who has requested for flexible working hours, and for those of who wants to balance familial duties and earn, working from home. Now, just to list out the benefits, how has this window of opportunity given the women workforce a breath of fresh air? Let’s find out!

Time for Dalgonas (*wink*):

Working moms often are seen working tirelessly towards bridging the gap between her kids and her motherly duties. This unexpected vacation has given her round-the-clock chance to bond with her kids, dishing out their favourite snacks and of course, the trending Dalgonas!

Update and Upgrade:

Skill building is an essential aspect of any business. In lieu of the time spent on travelling, working moms can now focus on upgrading skills and knowledge from the vast ocean of courses, webinars and workshops available online.

Multi-tasking and Crisis management at its peak:

Going through sibling crisis is a more complicated task than even the pandemic, a mother would agree. Not saying this would give her a certification but, surely does this innate talent helps in her everyday tasks, especially in her work. Prioritising also falls under this.

Better Control of Finances:

With online services shut, travel expenses hitting zero, and complete home under control, financial matters have never been so much easier. The cognitive capability of women takes a new spin every time while planning the week, accurately listing the requirements, which again benefits them in their work to better plan and process.

In the Comfort of Home:

Productivity is never better when you work from home. Believe it or not, it is proven as well as approved! Nothing better than the comfort of one’s home to concentrate and get creative.

Women are the masters of handling situations. Be it at home or away. In the era where we are proceeding with our baby steps to incorporate AI in every field, our world is not far away in reaching the sci-fi imaginations. Women, nevertheless, we can all agree, are beyond imaginations – their strength, capability, discipline and perseverance, most of which are her innate qualities.

Though the scenarios may differ than what is mentioned above, with the lack of domestic aid and online food services, we sure can find time for doing our favorite hobbies or learning new things. Understand that no one has their day planned accurately. Pull out one hour from those lazy evenings or preferably weekends, to rejoice and explore what you loved doing or what you always wanted to do. Look at the brighter side and make use of this unexpected vacation to procure expected and productive outcomes.


Do Women Have What It Takes to Be Great Leaders?

Article by: Shobhika Ramanathan, Associate Research Analyst

The topic itself gives us a suspicious question as women are already multi-taskers. But why is there a persisting doubt against them as great leaders? There are many instances where women prove that they have all the qualities to hold the position of leaders.

According to the research done by Harvard Business Review in 2012, with a database of 360-degree reviews, women scored as equal as men in handling leadership positions. The surprising fact is, when the same research was held in 2019, women in senior leadership roles remained relatively steady as same as when the original research (2012) was done. This is one of many such examples.

Gender shouldn’t be a factor determining a person’s leadership qualities – a person’s leadership abilities depend on their strengths and personality traits. Women see leadership roles from a different perspective. One research states that 65% of women describe a leader as one who shares their knowledge to uplift his/her team to reach success. When this attitude of women is put in managerial roles, it can make them stronger and effective leaders.

Let us take a look at why women should be given the throne:

  1. No “Nos” To Multi-Tasking 

Women are used to multi-tasking since their young age. Managing many works at the same time is what she had mastered already. Hence, for her, this is a go-go!

2. Patience in Full Battery Level 

This doesn’t conclude that women are always polite. But they know how to handle a situation or an argument without losing temper. Given any situation, she knows how to tackle them.

3. Already A Winner Against the Odds

Yeah, some people would say otherwise, but being a woman, we know how to work against the odds. You know why? Because we have always faced discrimination and restriction – regardless of which, many women have come out and stood up for themselves and succeeded against the odds in flying colors. They have the drive to prove people wrong, who put a barrier in their way and succeed in whichever path they are working in.

4. High Scale On Emotional Intelligence

The ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others and relate is something that accounts for a great leader. Married or not, a woman always possesses this character. With this power, she can handle all kinds of people with clarity in what she wants for her team and herself.

5. Easy Mingle Policy

Normally women don’t stay alone in any situation. Although she is always with her companions, she clearly knows whenever a decision must be taken. And, it will always be in favor of everyone else on the team. This fact helps her more when it comes to an organization. It gains her respect for being the kind-hearted individual she is and will for sure cheer her to go on.

The above-stated points are only the match’s highlights. The real match is yet to begin. There are for sure many other qualities of women that suits up to the mark, to fit in as a leader in the corporate world. So, come on let us try to understand those boons and reserve her a seat!


How to beat the cultural definition of gender-based roles?

Article by: Athira Premarajan, Research and Content Development Associate

Janaki waited anxiously to hear about her culinary expertise at her new home. She was so proud of herself applying all that her mother had taught her since the day she stopped going to school as she was told it was time for her to learn domestic chores. Leaving her colourful textbooks behind, which mostly had untouched leaves of Ruskin Bond and R K Narayan, she happily obeyed her mom’s advice. Within a year’s span, Janaki saw herself in the new red saree draped beautifully around her – leaving her home – being welcomed to her new family.

“Janaki,” whispered her mother-in-law, “I am glad you got it right. He always likes his Rotis soft and fluffy”. Unexplored still stayed in the dusty corners of her open wardrobe, Bond and Narayan.

Disclaimer: It isn’t a tale. Also, not a real story. But it is an inspired piece from thousands of lives who are still alive today. There are two aspects we can infer from this: The hefty burden of familial duties a woman is bound to carry and lack of knowledge of education. We sure aren’t in Utopia or the Barbarian era. However, some of the ideologies we keep quite are Utopian or Barbarian. It is really not necessary to state the obvious but, time and again we have been failed by traditions and ideologies, which are outdated. Yes, gender discrimination is an earthed topic, still hot on the plate. However, the measures taken to curb it is always off the plate.

Before traversing globally, let’s take our nation’s state on the same. According to studies, Indian women spend an average of 300 more minutes than men doing household chores. Now, is it because men are not healthy enough or they have less than 24 hours as opposed to women? No. It is the centuries-old practices and lack of sensitization that holds responsibility for this data. Even in the families adopting the best of gender equality practices, chances are that certain unknown biases act up, in turn, making women responsible for house chores and caregiving.

Now, how can this be curbed? Is there a written set of rules and norms? No. Have they conducted studies on it? Yes. But here, especially during the time of the pandemic, we are putting out an easier set of activities that the men allies could adopt in creating a better home for your other half.

  • Fix your Ideologies:

The term hereditary, as a matter of fact, is a term that we own up to proudly – for the caste, race, region or any such category we belong to. These come with a couple of tagalongs – traditions, rituals, ideologies – which has been imprinted in you probably even before you turned four! Out of the several good aspects these tagalongs carry, you have been taught or per se experienced certain illogical set of norms meant to be done by a particular gender. A boy usually runs to the grocery store while the girl does the dishes. This stigma apparently has affected several other of our routines inflicting a sense of gender inequality. Fix it.

  • Sensitize your Peers, Correct your Elders:

You may belong to a set of prominent broad-minded thinking peers. However, when it comes to reality topics like washing one’s own clothes or dishes, these forward thinkers would still be at the mercy of their mother or wife. Or for instance, your mother asks to leave your plate on the table after dinner, offer to clean it by yourselves. In two words: Identify and Rectify.

  • Put that down, ‘he’ will lift it:

Well, we cannot alter the biological form we are born into. It is true that several jobs require people with good physical built and sometimes not. And there are certain roles that cannot be fulfilled by a substitute. However, judging a person’s strength based on gender is unacceptable.

Note: Saleswomen and women working in the service industry also feeds their family.

  • Remove the Social Stigma:

Women, often a victim of this, is usually stamped with duties pertaining to house chores. Surprisingly enough, accrediting to the ascribed talents and acquired knowledge, women themselves find it odd when men help them in the kitchen cooking or doing dishes. Nor will they find it easy to involve in financial decisions. The need of the hour here is a ‘Reset Button’. Do you have it ready?

  • If it is Boy, Engineer, If it is a Girl, Doctor:

Bet you remember this dialogue from the famous movie ‘3 Idiots’. Well, it would be boring to iterate it in any other format. This and several other scenes in this comedy epic captures a load of gender disparity issues. Watch it once and think about it. And, prevent it from happening with you.

Good luck and be the driver of change!


The double whammy every working woman faces

 

 

 

Article By Lakshmi Vijaykumar, Principal Research Consultant – AVTAR Group

A few months ago, a comic visual that nailed the challenges faced by a working woman climbing the corporate ladder made waves in the Internet world. The image was shared on Twitter by Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Indian business conglomerate Mahindra Group. He mentioned on his self-realization moment while baby-sitting his one-year old grandson at home.

Read More » “The double whammy every working woman faces”


India Inc can fight patriarchy with gender-inclusive policies

Padma, who sells delicious kozhukattais (a sweet dish) out of a small roadside eatery at a busy corner of T Nagar (Chennai), was having a raging argument with her 26-year-old daughter. Read More » “India Inc can fight patriarchy with gender-inclusive policies”


Changing Roles

Article By Lakshmi Vijaykumar, Senior Research Consultant -AVTAR  Group

I decided to write this piece after watching a series of movies (mix of Hindi, Tamil and English) over the last few weeks. We all know that this is a corporate platform and we talk about issues related to working women, mothers and the likes. Cutting that stereotype, let’s look at how Cinema (we’ll stick to Indian) is breaking the stereotype on the portrayal of women in silver screens — because films are the mirror of society and reflect on what happens in the society. Read More » “Changing Roles”