In the 1900s, women oppression and inequality were gaining focus and attracting debate across societies and countries. Women entered workforce and started movement for parity. In 1910, idea for
celebrating Women’s day was formed at the International Conference for Working Women at Copenhegan. First International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911 in Austria. Since then women in workforce have come a long way, but they still have a long way to go.
I list down here my personal learnings, of being in the corporate workforce for over a couple of decades, on how women can command more authority and respect in the workplace, without shouting too loudly for women’s rights and privileges.
- Help fellow workforce grow – don’t raise doubts based on their gender!
“Are female bosses better, or is it better to have a male boss?” has been a classic question, ever since women have entered workforce. Biases have ruined projects, careers, relationships, and entire lives. A team with a woman in the driver’s seat can excel equally as a team with a man driving it (and vice versa!). Look at the capabilities of your managers and team mates, as professionals. If they are capable, let them grow, without worrying about their future plans or personal responsibilities- if they have a limitation, they will tell. Become an enabler, not a disabler.
- Keep the competition healthy – don’t expect special status!
A team for a project is a team of professionals, it is not a team of men and women. Compete on your capabilities, if you feel you need to reskill or upskill, do it. Show your forte with your performance, not your special status.
- Mingle with all – diversity brings advantage to all!
Don’t keep off men’s groups, and don’t keep out women from your group. Mingle with all – everyone carries a certain value, and there is something to learn from everyone. Interacting with more people helps you understand different perspectives, develop empathy, make course corrections, and above all, makes you socially comfortable, which goes a long way in development of your own career.
- Voice your discomfort – A word in time saves nine more!
If you are not comfortable, say it. Do not give in to pressures - personal, social or professional. You could save yourself, and a number of others, by just speaking out for yourself at the very first time.
- Draw your line – and keep it up!
Taking liberties of frequently arriving late, citing personal reasons regularly for defaulting at work or excusing yourself from corporate events all the time, mixing personal with professional, all these are traits of unprofessional-ism. Entering workforce is a personal choice for most of us, and although companies do try to make it easier for their employees to work by giving various facilities and flexibility, you have to stand up for yourself and hold up your decision to work with pride, only then will you be able to command respect for yourself at your workplace.
A Very Happy International Women’s Day! Let’s be torchbearers to all around us!
Written by - Dipti Jana, Board Infinity Coach
Coach Dipti Jana has experience of 21 years in IT Industry. She has Strong exposure to Onsite-Offshore model and overall project and people management. Expertise in Software testing and E-governance projects. Certified Software Testing Manager (CSTM) from IIQM, Jaipur. Also handled Project Management Office (PMO) and Knowledge management (KM). Certified Trainer from TISS.