Women’s Day has come and at some point, it will go. The changes it brings forth, however, are going to last for long. While we see how certain workplaces and sectors have evolved, a lot yet remains desired, and we can only hope will be achieved in the coming years. On this International Women’s Day, we speak to a few women leaders on aspects that need to be recognised, talked about and acted upon.
Additional Director Programmes, Population Foundation of India
First and foremost, we must ensure that all girls complete at least secondary level of education. Evidence shows that girls who have completed at least 12 years of schooling have better health outcomes for themselves and also for their children. Children of mothers who have gone to school are also more likely to attend school. Basic education helps build confidence and negotiation skills. Second, reproductive empowerment of women is imperative. It would lead to greater agency in taking decisions about their lives and their families – when and whom to marry; whether to have children, how many children, and at what intervals. Third, India should develop inclusive and gender-transformative policies to improve women’s participation in the workforce. This would help build the agency of women, which is the most sustainable way to uphold women’s rights.
On Celebrating The Women Who Are Forging Change
The entertainment industry is going through a dramatic change with women leading from the front, whether it is their role within stories or in creating them. From continuing their profession post marriage and childbirth, to not hiding the baby bump, they are stepping forward with determination to drive their own narrative with empathy and inclusivity. From dropping the skeletons in the closet with campaigns like #MeToo or claiming their space, women are challenging the status quo. Women are running production houses, shouldering films and web with elan and ease, holding fort in top positions across content platforms – women are forging change, and in a massive way.
And while the country spoke of female rivalry – in the fraternity today we have top of the line women actors headline a female multi starrer! Here’s to all women for having their skin in the game and owning it like they have never done before.
On Fostering Women Empowerment At A Greater Level
Surbhee GroverFounder – Love, Indus
It’s a challenging time to launch a new business, an interesting time to be an entrepreneur and an exhilarating time to be a female founder. So far, we’ve weathered all that’s come our way (from lockdowns to late deliveries and everything in between). But we couldn’t have done it without our amazing partners, a gratifying number of whom have been incredible female-led organisations from across the world – including our lead design agency, retail partners, several critical ingredient suppliers, and even our manufacturer. Each of them has contributed unique and creative perspectives that have helped shape, define and elevate the business we are building. I truly believe we’ve all learned from and supported each other, challenged each other to rise to greater heights, and hone our (individual and collective) potential in ways that make even small victories for one seem like big wins for us all.
On Challenging Conventions
CEO and co-founder – Your-Space
The change we desire is painstakingly slow but it’s happening, women now stand shoulder to shoulder with men in industries where it wasn’t conventional. Women’s contribution to the GDP is the lowest in our country, monetising even a percentage of unpaid care work that women provide is a step in the right direction. Access to education, women-specific legislations and a shift in society’s mindset towards the economic empowerment of women can bring about a positive change. Remember, change begins at home and as we create more opportunities for women to contribute at workplaces, women find themselves in a secure and respected space they need to thrive in today’s world.
On Women Entrepreneurs Having More Platforms To Connect With Mentors
Founder – Women Inspiring Network
I founded the Women Inspiring Network during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being surrounded by a network of some of the strongest women in the industry, I was inspired to create a platform to connect aspiring women leaders from different walks of life. The endeavour was to connect a vibrant bunch of female leaders who create a community of sharing stories and empowering one another thereby creating a network of like-minded individuals. I realised that providing aspiring women with a platform to connect with one other to share their dreams and beliefs, would create a domino effect of sharing stories empowering future changemakers and bolstering women’s entrepreneurship and leadership. Today, we are a community of over 7,000 remarkable women, and a network spanning across wellness, fashion, film industry, journalism, entrepreneurs to activists who weave the different narratives of various women into a vibrant, integrated fabric that illustrates the often-untold stories of struggles, perseverance, and hope.
On Women Having Equal And Appropriate Platforms At Work
As society becomes more aware of the need for global equality, we continue to advance in the sphere. Women are now increasingly being seen in leadership roles and across different professions, which is a huge stride in society’s growth. It is imperative to continually give them a platform to showcase their work and talent and give women a space at the table, which they couldn’t have had the chance to do back in the day. A simple yet powerful way to do this is to listen and observe. I have been fortunate enough to have a strong and equal voice in the workplace and that has helped me become the leader and employee that I am today. I strongly believe that such a welcoming and nurturing environment should be provided to everyone so they can spread their work wings and fly.
On Embracing Inclusivity And Diversity
COO and co-founder – Your-Space
Organisations need to understand the economic benefit inclusivity and diversity could drive home. In the annals of Indian corporate history, last year saw an increase in women representatives on boards but we don’t meet the global average yet, why? When it’s clear and when evidence points that this is not only in the interest of women but can be profitable for corporations, there’s a systemic flaw in not recognising these benefits. Policy change does help, media has a responsibility to amplify our voices but more importantly, keep the conversation alive, explain it to your children, family, friends, employees, stakeholders and we can be the change or, break the bias.
Also read: This International Women’s Day, Let’s Foster An Empowering Environment