• What’s gender got to do with talent?

    With the tides constantly changing in the world of business, technology and innovation, adopting and embedding technological revelations within our strategic fine print has become imperative to stay in the race. In such a fast-changing scenario, never has it been more important to prioritize talent over gender in the hiring and empowering processes.

    There is a reason why Michelle Obama’s charisma, confidence and connect with her audience goes a long way in influencing voters and keep the playing field levelled. “When they go low, we go high” – her clincher in the recent Democratic Convention that went viral and hit home with a vast majority of Americans resonated far beyond the United States of America too. In her memorable performance on stage, the First Lady centred her entire inspirational speech on the one question that not just Americans but all of us worldwide need to ask ourselves too: What kind of government do we want to be looking after the future of our children?

    This speech hasn’t just scored Hillary Clinton mileage in terms of voters, but also repeatedly brings to light the impact of women leaders across the world and their ability to connect with people effectively.

    Playing on the offence might not be the best route

    In our neck of the woods, this is been a bit of a dampener. Case in point: ex-HRD Minister Smriti Irani. After a turbulent term fraught with controversy and calamity, the she has finally been made to exit the post. Proving time and again that she was a force to be reckoned with, putting eminent journalists in their place on live television and turning many a Parliament session upside down with the roar of her inner tigress, Irani failed to be the inspiration that young Indian women need.

    Needless to say, women in India, whatever their designations and whichever field they are in need to work just that little bit harder to prove their mettle time and time again. This is the reality whether we like it or not.

    The real test then becomes how we can overcome the constant condescension, apprehension and gender favouritism that still preys upon our societies, not just in India but across the world. Smriti Irani’s method of always playing on the offence was perhaps not the right way.

    Michelle Obama

    Michelle Obama, Picture Credit to Biography.com

    We are still chained in archaic notions of motherhood

    It’s always a proud moment when our women break the glass ceiling and bring back medals and accolades. But it isn’t without a world of struggle. The weight of the archaic perceived notion of what women are meant to be doing – rearing babies and looking after the family – has continued to chain them even today in a world that we like to call “modern” and “progressive”.

    Then there’s the working mother who struggles with the guilt on her own and doesn’t need the condescension and criticism of the family and others that rains down on her, even if in deafening silence.

    The path to a woman’s success is heavily laden with every kind of obstacle. She doesn’t need pity or criticism. She just wants to be treated equally and be allowed to perform in such an environment. There is no end to her achievements if that happens.

    At work, we are just people working towards a common goal

    I am an employee of a company in the IT sector. The general opinion seems to be that women and technology can’t go hand in hand. I am often asked what interests me about being in this industry. “Software? Isn’t that boring for you?” The elephant in the room when it comes what we do and why is always palpable.

    My answer is always my story. When I first walked into this company back in 2012, I had no clue what it was about. A software provider for the oil and gas industry, it was obviously a very niche sector and the need for technological and technical knowledge was eventually going to be immense. There was a lot to learn in a short span of time.

    And of course, as was expected, I was one of maybe two or three women in the entire company.

    The people as they say, make a place and not the other way around. This was true here also. Surrounded by a collective hunger to work hard, to persevere and to succeed come what may, the gender ratio in the organization soon became irrelevant and I was sucked into the heady passion and desire to make a difference and deliver. I sat with different colleagues for hours every week to educate myself, taking in every bit of information that was thrown my way.

    We were one or two women in a room full of men debating, discussing, discovering and solving together. And it felt great. Man or woman was soon forgotten. We were just people working towards a common goal together.

    I soon became adept and interested in technology in other ways too – ways that have given me new skills and also greatly contributed to getting my writing off the ground.

    So no, it doesn’t bore me. It excites me. Because today I can tell you the different stages in pipeline construction and the different ways in which pipeline construction companies can enhance their processes with products like ours. Because today I can build my own website without the need of a professional web designer and I can at least basically understand how to play around with some code.

    I can almost hear the crack in that stubborn ceiling. Can you?