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Revealed! What India's working women really want

March 06, 2019 08:20 IST

Many women feel bound to conform to a male leadership model and thus sacrifice or forget what their sources of strength and personal power are.
Husbands need to take equal share, parents can lend a hand, employers can allow a day a week of work from home, split shifts for work can be considered. 

What working women really want

As we get ready to celebrate International Women's Day, take a good look at the women around you.

Are they employed well? Are they happy in their careers?

If not, what is stopping them from taking the plunge ahead?

Why are there fewer women in leadership roles?

What is it that you and I can do to give them a positive workplace and a brighter future?

Four entrepreneurs tell us about the challenges majority women face at the workplace and how it can be overcome.

1. Inclusivity and awareness at the workplace

Saroja Yeramilli, CEO, founder, MelorraSaroja Yeramilli, CEO, founder, Melorra

Workplaces are tough and more so if you are a woman.

Gender inequality, harassment, lack of equal promotion and pay, etc. are just some of the many issues women face.

Corporate spaces are often male-dominated, and this often can often hinder a lot of essential interactions for women.

Other factors such as parenting pressures and work when they become mothers or lack of parental encouragement.

A recent study by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. indicates that women have a 15 per cent lesser chance of getting promoted than their male counterparts. It also reveals that women aim less for top management positions than men.

I think the very first step to overcoming these challenges is awareness.

Many women feel bound to conform to a male leadership model and thus sacrifice or forget what their sources of strength and personal power are.

They must start relying on their emotional intelligence and what a situation demands and move out of any preconditions.

It is also important for them to stay true to and act on their strengths in their everyday approach to work.

Initiatives to support women are being put in place in several organisations.

However, more needs to be done at the level of top management to ensure inclusivity and equal opportunities.

2. A good support system

Dr Sunita MaheshwariDr Sunita Maheshwari, co-founder and chief dreamer, TeleradiologySolutions, RXDX and TeleradTech

I think for women to be able to be completely professional (i.e. on time and in the office everyday, able to work long hours when the need arises, travel when needed) is not always easy.

It can be challenging especially when they are trying to manage a family without a good support system in place.

As an employer this is the top challenge I notice for women who join the workforce.

In order to overcome this and enable women to achieve their maximum potential at work while simultaneously enjoying and growing their family, all stake holders need to get involved.

Husbands need to take equal share, parents can lend a hand, employers can allow a day a week of work from home, split shifts for work can be considered.

There should be more affordable high quality day care centres near or inside workplaces.

Above all this, a never say die attitude may just help her manage home and work well.

3. A flexible work environment

Sonal AgarwalSonal Agarwal, co-founder and head of design, Campus Sutra

Women in India face numerous challenges at the workplace -- from lower pay/benefits as compared to men, cases of harassment and prejudices about women’s capabilities to lead/perform certain roles/tasks etc.

The biggest challenge however, is perhaps the multiplicity of roles that every women needs to perform -- both on the family and personal front as well as at work.

It requires women to have the ability to move between roles and for employers and families to support women so neither (of the roles) gets compromised (as one has direct bearing on the other).

Employers need to be especially cognizant of this and be extremely flexible by providing women a competitive and meritocracy-based work environment.

However, what must also be appreciated is that workplaces today, provide better opportunities and resources to excel than ever before.

There are many women who have transcended barriers to become successful in their domain of work.

Women must realise that the power of change lies in their hands.

The very fact that these are called 'challenges' not problems indicate that they can be overcome.

Above anything, it is important for women to dispel any self-doubt they have.

Moving full steam ahead in their career can only happen when they have faith in themselves and work towards their goals.

4. Believe and stand up for what you deserve

Naina AggarwalNaina Aggarwal Ahuja, founder, Talking Point Communications

Women are excelling in every field.

But despite their hard work, commitment and success, several women continue to face concerns such as a gender pay gap, work-life imbalance and sexual harassment at work-place.

It is important for all such women to speak up and demand what they rightly deserve.

Believing in oneself is key since only we can write our destiny and not others around us.

It is also important for women leaders to mentor and support those around them.

With the right mentorship and guidance, they can be an inspiration to many, urging others to take the lead.

Lead image -- a still from Vicky Donor -- used for representational purposes only.

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