Fri, April 12, 2024

‘The human cost of forgoing women’s talent and potential is unquantifiable’

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Most women live with the hidden barriers and costs that come with being working women and leaders. A silent bias persists in our homes, organisations and the society compelling us each time to walk the extra mile more than our male counterparts. A significant body of research shows that this bias disrupts the learning cycle at the heart of becoming a leader. Women work harder for the same pay or less. Women often have to seek approval from the men in their families to do things. Women must be answerable for their decisions and choices all the time. Their success is measured differently at the workplace, in society and at home. From her body to her identity and her dreams, she is made accountable for the choices she makes. Her work in the house or in the fields or in the family business is often unaccounted for. Even when she is better qualified for a job, she must prove why she deserves it. Women in leadership positions have it even harder – their authority is questioned and challenged every step of the way. Leadership transitions then are often more challenging for them. Focusing exclusively on acquiring new skills isn’t sufficient; the learning must be accompanied by a growing sense of identity as a leader. The feminine energy is prayed to and revered. Hindu Goddesses - Shakti. Lakshmi. Saraswati. Durga. Kali. Bhawani – we pray to them in temples but women who are made in their mould are denied equality in varying forms in even the most educated and wealthy homes. When violence happens, we look for reasons as to why a woman must have provoked it. When an accident occurs, we immediately say, it must be a woman driving. When a woman walks into a boardroom, she is measured for the way she dresses and her looks. Women are objectified in advertisements and films. Women's success stories rarely make headlines. It’s a boys’ club in the newsroom, in the bar, at the meeting, and at social gatherings. As changemakers and advocates continue to catalyse sustained action to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, we as individuals must remember that female rights are human rights and equality is at the heart of all that is progressive and good. The human cost of forgoing women’s talent and potential is unquantifiable. This is both an obligation and an opportunity. READ ALSO:
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MARCH 2024

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