Director Human Resources, Praxair India and ME at Praxair
The "persistent" "juggler" who works with "faith" and does her "balancing act" to perfection, rises to "leadership" and is also successful, has another story to tell. The challenges are several and most of these can be mitigated by letting women "be" just like our society let's men "be", and the two partner, distribute and carry their duties and responsibilities by dividing it equally. Easier said than done, but, not impossible.
We teach our boys "not to cry like a girl". Corporate world is a reflection of the society we come from. Our behaviour, attitude, approaches and gender stereotypes are a result of our daily interactions and experiences. Is showing emotions being feminine? Rather we could say it is "ok" to cry no matter which gender you are.
2) Multi tasking
Old adage "only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches". Successfully, sincerely and effectively juggling is highly appealing and also enhances the multi-tasking skills of women. But, doing it on a day to day, week after week, months upon months, year to year and sometimes even over decades can be exhausting. Remember, the Superwomen success may come at a high cost in the form of stress resulting in physical and mental illnesses. One of the most common reason of women buckling down the pressure and the common statement made is someone had to make a choice to run the home hence she "chose".
3)Safety and Security
Either we have become more aware of the situations and incidents today due to the development in the fields of technology and media or the number of instances have gone up. I think the later is true. Phones and videos are available to a larger population than education is. Victims are little girls who are easy prey. Not to miss out that several such cases happen within the boundary and safety of homes. This is an aspect which breaks the very thread of the moral fibre of a society. The data is alarming and it is necessary to restore the health of the society if we want the industry, business and country to grow.
If women manage to escape all that mentioned above then there is enough waiting in the form of exploitation - physical and mental. Interestingly dowry is not asked for but in the form of life long dowry an earning women is preferred where sometimes the whole salary goes to a family or spouse's bank account because the women might not know how to handle money. Paradoxical, but true.
5)War of the Sexes
There is a definite lack of role models for women in the Corporate World (Though in the last one decade there has been a positive trend). In the social side Tele Vision serials of a different kind but also with the highest viewership have worked upon portrayal of a negative image of women. On the other hand, in the corporate world the image of the modern day Indian women has struggled between exhibiting female or male characteristics. Some of us believe that exhibiting masculine characteristics leads to better acceptance. Our maturity will become evident the day such beliefs are shattered and women are accepted for their competence, capability, freedom of belief and expression and just letting them "be", leading to judgement based on sheer performance.
An economy that opened two decades back and has seen immense changes in the financial status of the rising middle class has also been witness to the changing status of women in the society. Degree and Education (which I believe are two separate measurements of a person's growth) have merged lines with earnings and jobs. From time immemorial, in any such high impact societal change women and children are the most effected. I am no social scientist but the number of incidents, occurrences and evidences in the form of crime, assaults, broken families do give enough indication of the negative side of this change.The need of the hour is not to lament on these issues but to focus on how the society prepares itself to deal better with these changes and work towards achieving it.