The current social order is highly governed by economic relations. These relations have been driven by capitalism, ever since the Industrial Revolution. The revolution might have allowed women to step out in the public sphere and take charge of their lives, but there are still a lot of issues that patriarchy has perpetrated in these structures.
Thus, was born the need to create spaces for dialogue amongst women who struggle to create and maintain their identities in the corporate arena, distinct from their own stereotypical gender roles. The founders at Shethepeople.tv realized this need where women could freely voice their thoughts and come to know and believe that ‘we are not the only ones’- that no matter how much we deny it, the world is still a man’s field where all women go through more or less the same struggles.
The journey of these power packed discussions with women from the corporate sector that is going to be held in 12 phases at 12 different cities of the country was kick-started at Sofitel Mumbai. The esteemed panel members included Ameera Shah and Anuranjita Kumar. While Ameera is the MD and CEO of Metropolis India, one of the top chains of pathology laboratories in India and has its presence in various parts of the world as well, Anuranjita is the MD and Chief Human Resource Officer at Citi Group. Young, influential and some of the very few women with real power that India has today, both ladies engaged in a candid conversation with the women entrepreneurs, investors and holders of leadership roles in various corporates. They shared some deep insights that came from their observations and more importantly, personal experiences.
The discussion mostly revolved around the different ways in which women are expected to limit themselves within a box, possible reasons to the same and ways in which these power women deal with such subtle expressions of patriarchy. The panel also discussed ways in which women can stand up for other women through mentoring, and how female mentors “can bring that unique experience of sharing, which men possibly could not”, in the words of Ameera Shah. She also spoke on how simple guidance on conversation could help women in a multitude of ways.
It was interesting to see how these super successful, super powerful women, unlike their male counterparts, wanted to throw gender battles out of the window and work on existential issues of individual choice and autonomy. Ameera said, “The women or men who tend to be successful are the ones who hear their own voices. Women hear a lot of voices other than their own- their family, society, husbands, etc. Guilt comes from that.”
Speaking about inadequate representation of women and hence their voice being in the minority, Anuranjita said, “There are more men out there, and that’s a fact. Unless more women don’t get out there, the definition ain’t gonna change overnight.” She also spoke about the behavioral differences between men and women, and how men are pushier than women when it comes to an appraisal or promotion. Women are okay with the success only as long as they are not overpowering their own men.
Through her personal experiences, Ameera cast some light upon how there is lesser credibility for women than men in the entrepreneurial space and the everyday subtle sexual advances that she faces with her male counterparts. In conclusion, she said that “women need to navigate with what they want without ego rejection of men, and this can only come through when women help other women by sharing experiences.”