Let me take up a contextually relevant discussion on this ocassion of international women’s day.
Empowerment of women has been an absolutely remarkable social transformation phenomena over the past few years. Consider just a few facts for India – the head of the nation, leader of the ruling party, leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, Speaker of Lok Sabha, leader of the most populous state in the country…….the list can go on and on…..are all women. Great examples of people who have defied huge odds and shown supreme resilience to be in positions where they guide the destiny of our proud country India.
With many roles to play and so much expected from each of them, it is surely not easy to be a woman. My wife Ruchi often alludes to the challenges of managing 3 generations of men at home – our just turned teenage son, my father and me (would love to believe I am the easier one!). Work environment and the prevailing culture thereof creates its own diverse situations that often tend to draw out the best in women.
Diversity conjures up vastly different emotions. While in a lot of countries this may have the connotation of creed, colour, nationality etc etc, for me it equates to bringing in a variety in thoughts, ideas, fresh perspectives. And the way the DNA of women is configured, they always come up with a uniquely refreshing and practical output (I recommend reading the book Why Men Can’t Read Maps and Women Can’t Drive). I have been a beneficiary of such coaching from my female colleagues, team members and superiors many times in my professional career. It has simply made the organisation wiser and decisions far richer and profound!
Though the participation remains low, there has been an acceleration of sorts in women climbing up the corporate ladder, setting the agenda and delivering outstanding business performance. The ingredients for success remain pretty much consistent – focus, determination, leadership, discipline, patience. The additional element is the requirement of a supportive environment that is respectful and provides for a sense of security.
The next few years will be significant. Just the way the centre of gravity of commerce is decisively shifting east for the world (marked by the emergence of China and India), gender diversity will start to become the pivot for corporate excellence. Some organisations – ICICI for one – invested and have already reaped the benefits.
Wishing for and committing to the emergence of many more women leaders!
Happy women’s day….each day of the year……