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If each of us could mentor other women at work and support their rise in our way, the ‘power of us’ as women would be truly realised!
I am sure we all have heard and read a number of times about the phrase ‘breaking the glass-ceiling‘ and how the glass ceiling acts as a barrier, so subtle that it is transparent – yet so strong that it prevents women from moving up the corporate hierarchy.
Over the past few years, we, as a society, have been some inroads to break or at least make some cracks in this ceiling. Some partial success has been achieved, but there is still a long way to go. Courtney Banghart, head women’s basketball coach at Princeton University, once said, “As individuals, we can put cracks in the glass ceiling. But when you invest in the women around you, you create the collective force needed to not just crack, but shatter the glass. Lift as you rise!”
Courtney’s words remind me of women who have invested in me and offered opportunities, women who have been my coaches and sponsors, who not only believed in me but also made me believe that I can do more by pulling me out of my comfort zone, gradually helping me grow as a woman professional. I admit, I have been blessed to have these exceptionally wonderful women in my life and I thank them for helping make a meaningful difference to my career.
So the question is – how many of us, women, have thought of returning this favour to help the next generation of women achieve their aspirations?
For those of us who have the desire to contribute or to foster other women around, I think there are countless opportunities every day that can help women gain confidence and skills to lean in and take the lead. Our efforts can make a lot of difference, it’s simply a matter of time, we just have to look beyond our usual chores.
Maybe we don’t have to search really far, and I am sure there are plenty of examples in our office cubicles, our homes, where our little contribution can make a lot of difference. You will find women/ girls fighting their own battles, in their own silos, to make a slight crack in the so-called big bad glass ceiling. What is needed is if we can be their ally in this and help them through their journeys.
With International Women’s Day on 8 March, we saw a number of activities being planned, including women focussed firm-wide initiatives, events happening to celebrate this spirit of womanhood, to make our women feel valued. Well, I am in complete agreement to celebrating such initiatives, such successes, as it inspires and impacts many lives; but at the same time I feel that over and above such onetime efforts, we as women have to contribute more by giving it back to the society – a society that is not expected to achieve gender parity until the next 170 years – according to global consulting firm EY’s Woman Fast Forward initiative.
A simple request to each one of you reading this article is to close your eyes and think of at least two women (to begin with) in your lives, and think of ways through which you can foster their careers or uplift them in the corporate hierarchy. It doesn’t matter, what stage of our career we are in, we still can help other women, as we all have great learnings from our past.
I believe that we should never underestimate the power of our inputs, our experience, no matter how small they are… As Sheryl Sandberg beautifully puts it, “It’s never too early to be a mentor; we can mentor other women at any stage in our careers.”
So, act now! Contribute your bit.
#TogetherWomenCan #BreakTheGlassCeiling #WomenFastForward #LeanInTogether
First published here.