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Here’s What Women Choose To Challenge In Their Organisations

Posted: April 25, 2021

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International Women’s Day is celebrated globally to bring women’s issues to the forefront and find solutions. Often, it’s reduced to discount coupons. Here’s a look at what women really want.

Is there a need to challenge any belief or a system? Challenge comes only when one doesn’t agree with or accept things been thrown at him or her.

What leads to this conflict? We are in the 21st century. Our priorities should focus on the basic rights of people – political and social freedom as well as economic opportunities for all.

Emphasis is also on employment opportunities for women as well as supporting diverse and inclusive work cultures. We are in the digital world. We have achieved advancements in all fields of human life and work.

But have we achieved parity on gender equity? Have we created an equal and inclusive world for all? Is there still discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, economic condition, or political affiliation? The answer unfortunately is an affirmative one.

Till we reach an equal world for all, there will be a need to bring to the spotlight the issues that are important but brushed under the carpet. Creating awareness and solving issues that are not justified has been one of the reasons to celebrate International Women’s Day each year.

The hope is to bring issues to the forefront that need intervention in creating gender equity. This year’s IWD theme is rightly stated, ‘Choose to Challenge’. There is a need to challenge systems that are defeating as well as questioning all limiting beliefs and mindsets.

History and growth of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women globally. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. IWD has existed for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not a country, group, or organization specific. It provides the perfect opportunity to get involved in forging women’s equality in the workplace.

One of the biggest employer engagement days of the year, it sees organizations amplify and reinforce the commitment to helping build an inclusive world. Additionally, IWD sees many organizations celebrate and applaud the work and achievements of women.  (Source: IWD website)

Expectations from organisations that are prime employers for women

Which organizations are the prime employers for women and what makes them so? Here are a few guidelines of IWD:

  • demonstrate executive leadership commitment to gender equality
  • embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion
  • forge a female hiring pipeline from early career to executive level
  • value and support flexible working arrangements
  • provide formal avenues to address any concerns of bias
  • ensure women’s inclusion from supply chain through to decision making
  • ensure marketing and communications are consistently free from stereotyping
  • provide external support for women’s advancement
  • monitor progress and outcomes from equality initiatives and activity
  • maintain external validation of progressive employer practice

This year’s theme for IWD is Choose to challenge which I feel has been a mantra and a way of life for many women around the world.

What is it that we should be challenging?

Stereotyping – On the basis of gender, appearances, life choices etc.

Gender equity– In fact, equality can only be on the professional front. Men and women are different and have different strengths. We must complement each other and that comes only with gender equity.

Glass ceiling – Break them whatever they are and wherever they are.

Acknowledgment from others to validate ourselves – We don’t need XYZ awards from the many institutions that are mushrooming only give away awards to people who apply and pay for them. Do we really need such bodies to endorse our achievements?

What should we focus on instead?

Well-being –  Physical, emotional, and spiritual to lead a well-balanced life.

Understanding finances – Get involved in financial planning.

Empower yourself – It has to come from within you.

Demand – Understand what you deserve and what you really want; get after it.

Make sensible and well-thought plans or life choices and stand by them.

Stop any limiting thoughts or beliefs you might have – Live in the present and be confident of your future.

Mentor another lady – Can be anyone from your house help, to a friend or a colleague, build synergy and sisterhood.

Celebrate – Who you are and the way you are.

What women really want

There is a day marked for acknowledging, accepting, appreciating, and empowering women. The celebrations may continue for a week or two at the most depending on the availability and convenience of all involved.

But is it what empowerment is all about? Why should there be a need to celebrate such days? Why can’t acknowledgment and empowerment be a part of the normal way of life?

It is noteworthy to see even nature follows equality and equal opportunity in all its forms. For instance, for every male species, there is an equal female but only when it comes to humans we have managed to skew everything. Be it the gender ratio or opportunities for growth both on the personal as well as professional fronts.

We have stereotyped and manipulated at every opportunity possible sometimes denying the basic rights to women. Some are more impacted than others but everyone has faced it in varying degrees.

Empower women by giving them equal opportunities

This International Women’s Day, we urge the governments and organisations to pledge concrete steps to truly empower women by giving them equal opportunities.

Organizations need to maintain a committed and continuous focus on equity, equality, diversity, and inclusion as a part of their organisational ethos. They also should employ progressive policies, practices, or mechanisms to support women’s career progressions by way of mentorship and succession planning.

Women really don’t need public functions and discounts from brands but something that is concrete and has tangible results. They wouldn’t really like to celebrate such days and that’ll happen only when following gender equity as well as diversity and inclusion in the true sense.

Till then let’s wish the ladies a very Happy International Women’s Day.

Image source: Here

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Laxmi Todiwan - Founder Indian Women in Hospitality. She is a Professor, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker

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