“Women need to speak up. Not just at work, but within their families, with their friends, society” says Shachi Irde, Executive Director, Catalyst India, to SheThePeople.TV. Most often than not, women lose out on opportunities because they themselves do not come up and take new responsibilities afraid that they do not deserve it.
I realised my biggest problem was me – Neha Bagaria
Is it a cultural strain? We are brought up in an environment where even if you are given equal opportunities, subliminally it is portrayed that a woman’s career or work is worth only until marriage. Or until maternity. Things change once a woman marries because then she becomes the caretaker of the household.
Neha Bagaria, Founder of JobsForHer says that women hold themselves back. “I realised my biggest problem was me. I kept questioning myself and this is something that women need to stop doing. Do not hold yourself back!”
Recognising the significance of a dialogue around diversity and inclusion, Catalyst arranged a discussion giving opportunity for people to engage and contribute in the understanding of women as a crucially important economic resource that still remains untapped and still faces discrimination.
Catalyst studied six countries, including India and found four behaviours that encourage inclusion in work place. Abbreviated as EACH; Catalyst talks about Empowerment, Accountability, Courage and Humility that can help women be included in the work environment.
Dr. NS Rajan, Chair, Catalyst India Advisory Board, Group Chief HRO at Tata Group talks about inclusive leadership saying “when we went hiring, we saw women as raw talent and not “women”. If we had lost out on the balance in our organisation, it would be terrible.”
He also talked about the importance of empowerment and accountability and why they need to go hand in hand. “Being empowered without having to be accountable is a dangerous situation. The same goes for courage and humility; it is important to be humble about being courageous and these are qualities that help you grow.”
“Women today have to fight and deal with patriarchal overhangs in the organisation. We need to make leaders and skills will just follow,” Shaili Chopra, founder of SheThePeople said emphasising the need for organisation to become nimble about how their approach traditional structures of management.
Mamta Chander, Head Strategy and Growth, EY Global Diversity Services – Advisory commented, “Women do not have the kind of time men do. They have a limited time in which they work, meet deadlines and then have to provide a voluntary service of mentoring and sponsoring.” Men do not have a timeline to go back. Cultural restrains like this make the workings of men and women different perhaps?
Deborah Gillis, CEO of Catalyst gave an India specific example of how women, during their child’s examination are held responsible for the kid’s performance. “Why is that? Why is the father not just as responsible? Doesn’t this add a dilemma to the woman’s work life? Does this not add on stress to her work?”
If diversity and inclusion needs to become the second skin of all organisations we need to move it from being the everyday fight for equality to one that’s embedded in the ethos and driven by each individual rather than one HR department.