We have come a long way since humans started living in civilized society, yet gender disparity has been and is a struggle that cripples the modern civilization in many ways says Shubhra Mohanty the founder of Women and Convention and inspirational speaker.
Whether it is gender bias, gender stereotypes, gender discrimination or workplace gender dynamics this women is all set to change the face of modern-day workplace.
As Mohanty so eloquently quotes, “Diversity is like including all colors and inclusion is actually using them to paint the canvas”
Individual, gender reaction is deeply ingrained in our highly malleable perspectives yet the shift has been nothing but a chaotic dichotomy between social doctrine and morality. The inherited socialization process has helped the problem mutate and it has successfully contaminated our workplaces in various ways. Like I always say any bias starts at home before it manifests in the workplace. But having worked with women in diverse roles and having interacted with c-suite executives across the world, it’s clear that one essential trait that works as a tourniquet and prevents the poison from spreading up the layers is leadership, Mohanty emphasized.
The word leadership is synonymous with initiative. Whether we talk about the will to lead or use the word to refer to the typical workplace hierarchy it all boils down to one thing “the readiness to contemplate, challenge and change”.
When it comes to women the will to lead is often misconceived as an inborn trait. It is probably the greatest mistake our generation is making. Every time you are holding her back whether it is washing the car, fixing the furniture or working on the yard, you are very subtly making her set up perpetual boundaries for herself”. A work is simply a work and needs to be executed, it’s that simple! The need to lead is a human need which is rooted in the need to be valued and the need for significance,” Mohanty said.
Most women find it comfortable to be led and that’s where the problem lies. The urge to be leading a project, to be leading a team or talking at a meeting is a choice and it should come naturally to women and then we don’t need too many voices to echo. Every new generation has been luckier than their predecessors because of some women who have made the most of their will to lead and bring change. Now, it is up to each woman to take it up at their own levels regardless of where you stand, what’s your age, what’s been your past. It’s time to look forward and claim. Your urge to lead, to hold positions, to add skills, to ask, to go get it should exceed your perceptual boundaries. And here is a message for young women, learn to evaluate before you internalize social doctrines. Ask questions and go break the rule. I think a nameless life is scarier than a life with labels. I mean, who hasn’t had one. What’s the big deal? Cut to chase, try being a woman!
Mohanty’s will to lead led her to take control of her life when she met misogynistic opinions and transitioned from a career as a brand strategist to thought leadership and public speaking.
“This was the beginning of my new life and the best part, on my terms and conditions,” she said. Her will to lead made her start a movement to equip women with defenses so that they can maneuver the corporate jungle and move up the hierarchy. My will to transform the face of modern-day workplace was born out of my willingness to start alone, yet bring structural changes in the system that can set things right for millions of other women who are about to give up and the next generation which is getting ready to take over.That’s what leadership is all about…”It’s no longer about you, it’s about the bunch of people looking up to you,” Mohanty said.
Unfortunately, things aren’t much different when we talk about today’s leadership that dominates the hierarchy at the workplace. Women hold only 21% of the C-suite roles so the 79% have a big role to play to buck up their counterparts. Men can be the catalyst. I have always been a feminist who upholds the principle of egalitarianism and I truly believe in the ideology of an equal world Mohanty assertively puts it. Positions come with power and one needs to make the right use of it.
Well, when it’s about gender disparity we always talk about what women should do, but the point is men are a major stimulus and a significant source that generates a reaction. How we socialize our boys has a massive impact on how they treat their female colleagues at the workplace. How can we afford to miss out on them?
If men have the reign, then they have a major responsibility too. When you are sitting on the top you need to have a better vision of the ground.They have a major role to play in sharing, nurturing, listening, appreciating, acknowledging and understanding. They need to question the stereotypes as much as women do because they aren’t spared either. We have rules for them too!
More than anything, men need to be an example!
A truly modern-day workplace puts skills over the length of the hair, experience over skin color and aspirations over social doctrines. Leadership is the greatest defense against the gender war. The will to lead and the willingness of the ones leading, together can lay the foundation a more equal world.
A gender equal workplace is a step towards a growing economy and a progressive world. The onus is on both men and women to lay the foundation of a more gender tolerant workspace. Let’s continue the conversation!