• Trisha Bhattacharya

Int:HerView-4: Working Women- The Next WW

Updated: Jun 2

What comes to your mind when you see working women, women who are dynamic, ambitious and go-getters? Do they seem rare and just leave you amazed at the prospect that they can multi-task and manage various things in their life? If you don't feel this way, then congratulations, you deem fit for the modern world. You have learnt to appreciate the fact that gender isn't a barrier as to how well one can distinctly manage different aspects of life. That women being career-oriented, men being homely is normal. You must be also appreciating the fact that you are living in an era where women have a lot more freedom, a voice and opportunities compared to some decades ago. It's already a revolution in progress, a war with women against the patriarchal norms, women's inner conflicts against overshadowing societal shackles which many a times point towards women having to limit their boundaries, avoiding risky situations and just being "good" women.

Here, today, in conversation with one such woman in her late 40's (a woman doesn't necessarily have to hide her age after all, I guess) who values self-independence not just as a must to survive as we dig deeper into the world, but also as a powerful tool one can have to feel self-fulfilled at the end of the day.

Q- How do you balance life and career? Any struggles that you had to overcome at home to work? Why do you think working is so important, especially for a woman?

A- Planning in advance helps to balance. You have to create a strong support system both at work and home whom you can fall upon in times of emergency. Financial independence should be the primary objective, however, for many, it provides a personal space which is solely and only theirs.

Q- How has your work life been so far? Have you faced any hardships at work till now based on your gender, if yes what?

A- Good, I have been lucky or I would say I have been strong enough to eradicate any gender inequality at work, but sometimes not having any women as your colleague may make you feel a little lonely where you will not be able to have those women talks/gossips or go for a quick shopping at lunch.

Q- How can the ecosystem of a workplace be made friendly/welcoming for a woman? How about in-office and recruitment policies by hiring managers and HR that favor women?

A- Our age women were happy with separate washrooms and a 3 months maternity leave, now for modern age women, organizations are coming up with so many things- creches at office, special vacancies created for women after a career break for child birth, leave for child raising or infertility treatment, creating safe environment at work, work from home policies and the list goes on.

Q- How can women make a mark in their workplace?

A- Hard work, hard work and hard work. Many a times, we women, prefer to take advantage by delegating work to male colleagues stating their affair. I strongly recommend not to do so except for dire need as you are being watched. The key is to forget your gender. In a workplace, you are merely an employee.

Q- How do you think pay gap should be omitted? What is stopping organizations to facilitate equal pay for a particular position irrespective of gender?

A- Pay gap shouldn't exist in any condition as salary is a compensation given for the time you invest. I hope cost of time for a woman is equivalent, if not more than her male counterpart. Its only the mindset of that specific organization which inhibits equal pay.

Q- Have you noticed incentives in job descriptions to attract women to roles? How is your company overcoming unconscious biases? Any conscious effort for that?

A- Most reputed companies are working on creating an inclusive workplace embracing the diversities of background and perspectives of the employees. Women as a subset are also included in this exercise.

Q- Best example of positive change in your workplace in the last 5 years for women that you have witnessed.

A- Fortunately I have been working with an organization which is known to create women leaders across the industry, so it was always women-friendly. One important women-friendly initiative in the last 5 years: allowing a nanny and the baby to travel at company's expense for new mothers who need to travel for work.

Q- Best piece of career advice you have received and one that you want to give to a woman starting out her career?

A- I have not really received anything at the start of my career but considering yourself solely as a sincere employee and a professional within the workspace would help your colleagues to treat you the same. Work hard, work smart.

Q- Workplace harassment is quite a sensitive topic. How can workplaces deal with it? Have you witnessed such an issue?

A- I, myself, have not faced but had to look out for such issues happening within the team around me. Strong harassment polices at organizations take care of such things.

Q- How do you think other women around you can get inspired by you? I am sure you do inspire.

A- Read regularly and be aware of what is happening around, take ownership and lead from the front and do not exhaust your energy in petty fights, stand up for only the bigger ones.

Q- Where do you see yourself after retirement? You have what, 10-12 years more to work? so, what do your plans look like?

A- 10 years from now, post retirement I would like to keep myself engaged with my hobbies and earn from it.

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