Women professionals across industries have time and again spoken about their comfort at home contrasting to the taxing atmosphere at work. Every step of the way is witnessed as challenging and demanding. Eminent personalities took the dais at BW Businessworld HR Conclave sharing their life experience and shedding light on ways to overcome the unstable bridges in the contemporary male dominated world.
“As a child I got to choose my courses, make my own decisions but once I stepped out I realized gender was an issue,” shared Surabhi Mittal, Vice President, HR at Lanxees. Her company inculcates approximately 30 percent women representation which she feels is a challenge in itself that needs nourishing.
Talking about the stereotypical branding in the society, Mittal said that women are so conditioned in their societal roles that the concept of individuality gets disturbed. Hence policies should be determined to instigate change of mindset.
Having had an experience of 24 years, Charu Thapar, MD at Property and Asset Management at JLL India said that in her industry, i.e. real estate, there is, predominantly, a male dominated environment, authority is never given but assumed . “There needs to be a real diversity in the society, not only women-centric diversity,” she added.
Blurring the lines between men and women professionals, Jyotsana Ghoshal, corporate affairs at Merck Sharp & Dohme said, “It all depends on the ecosystem. It depends on the value that one brings into the system and how policies are generated to strengthen the ecosystem.” She said she is proud of what her company has done and hopes it would continue to put forward the talent of professionals, be it of any gender.
“The challenges faced by women at workplace, vary depending on the stage of their career. Policies on inclusion should not be designed around 'one shoe fits all'," said Akila Agarwal, corporate lawyer at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and an M&A specialist.
Talking about her two maternity breaks, she said, it was tougher being a young associate mother, when she had her first child, than her second (when she was already a partner with the firm).
Akila said "Mere policies do not help. In my firm, we may not have elaborate written down policies on inclusion. But there is a culture that is inclusive, which flows from the top."