Keen to learn more about inclusive workplaces? Want to be inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community? Download our special report with Randstad India on making Inclusion without Exception happen
Women supporting women at work is common, it is time that men stand up and support women equally, both at work and home. Gauri Das, a senior HR leader, explains how .
This article is a part of #ThoughtMatters, a thought leadership series at Women’s Web, where senior members from the HR fraternity present their personal stories, views, and wisdom around topics that revolve around [email protected]
Neeta is a well-educated woman who works with a multinational company. She is a Mechanical Engineer and has not found many women in her circle since her college days. Mechanical engineering is not a preferred choice for women because we are stereotyped since birth. It is so pervasive that there are designated colours for new-born children based on their gender. When Neeta had her daughter in her hands for the first time she was wrapped in pink colour. This reminded her of her childhood days where family and relatives would tell her how a girl should dress up, play, and even study. With a tomboy look with short hair, T and jeans, and a no-makeup look, she would always be advised by relatives to look more feminine. But she was a rebel and didn’t care for such suggestions and that’s how she ended up in mechanical engineering against the advice of her family.
During her college days, she never found anything missing and loved being with her all-men gang. However, she was shocked when she entered the workplace and found how unconscious biases and negative beliefs play out at workplaces. The prejudices result in women feeling stereotyped and developing negative thoughts and thinking about limitations rather than possibilities.
Neeti’s story is not an exception. These are practicalities and a lot needs to be done by all stakeholders i.e. the organization, men and women to make men the allies and sponsors for women.
Here are my thoughts on how men can help create more possibilities for women.
When she was in college and there was a party to be organized, her classmates, all men, would come forward and take responsibility but at the workplace she observes that such tasks are easily passed on to the women, mentioning that it is their expertise. This is an unconscious bias. Since women run homes and are primarily homemakers, they are expected to do the same at work as well. This needs to change and men must take charge of such tasks and work with women side by side.
Question to ask – Why should only women be assigned such tasks?
This should be done in rotation where every time a new team member takes charge. By doing this, men will show equality and respect to women.
Men need to change their thought process and start understanding that women mean business and they should be given equal airtime. A study from George Washington University indicated that men interrupted 33 % more often while speaking with women than speaking with other men. Men should recognize this since awareness leads to improvement. This is how men will create possibilities for women.
Question to ask: Why are you interrupting your colleague or sending out a non-verbal cue that her thoughts are not important?
Men can create possibilities for women by advocating for them based on merit. Organizations must acknowledge and address the elephant in the room and senior leadership is most responsible for this. Men in decision-making positions need to come forward and become an ally and champion this cause. They need to evaluate each and every decision with a lens of merit and not gender.
Question to ask: Are stereotypes underplay when we see decisions that are not based on data but perceptions?
Men can support women by mentoring and coaching them. A formal mentoring program is a great way to formalize these but even in absence of those, men can come forward and support. Many men are part of women network groups and they share their knowledge and experience with women and thus help them achieve their goals
Question to ask: Am I supporting women colleagues enough? Can I take more steps on this?
Men need to be more humane and deal with empathy. Until all men start taking equal responsibility at home, women will continue to do the double shift and this may lead to asking for flexibility and support. Men must understand that women have special needs when it comes to flexibility and should come forward to support them here. Small changes like lunch outings instead of dinners can go a long way in setting the right example.
Question to ask: Do I understand my team enough? Am I aware of the unique requirements of each member of the team? Am I leading with empathy or power?
In my career of 15+ years, many men have supported, encouraged and guided me and their guidance is extremely valuable. But this is not the norm but an exception. There is a long way to go here and men need to take a few more steps to support and sponsor women. At the same time, women should come forward and ask for help because if you don’t ask, the assumed answer is always NO.
The views expressed in the article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization.
Cover image collage via Youtube gathered from Airtel & Titan advertisements
Gauri Das is an engineer turned HR Professional who has a keen interest in Human Psychology. She is a strategic HR leader with 15+ years of experience in crafting and aligning HR strategy with business read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Stop glorifying biological parenthood - other methods of growing a family are just as valid, and completely a couple's choice, especially of the woman whose body goes through pregnancy and birth.
Stop glorifying biological parenthood – other methods of growing a family are just as valid, and completely a couple’s choice, especially of the woman whose body goes through pregnancy and birth.
Trigger Warning: Contains derogatory remarks about having a baby through surrogacy or any means other than giving birth through biological means, and may be triggering, especially to adoptive parents.
Recently Priyanka Chopra Jonas announced parenthood by surrogacy. This has once again sparked the debate about ethical surrogacy, which is a discussion for another day.
Arathi Rajagopalan, founder of 'House of Kalart', talks about thinking like a designer & transitioning to thinking like a business owner.
Excerpts from an interview with Arathi Rajagopalan, founder of ‘House of Kalart’ – a fusion jewellery label that merges global aesthetics and traditional craftsmanship.
When did you start ‘House of Kalart’ and what was the intention?
I started House of Kalart in 2017 as a venture where painting, drawing and embroidery are married with metalsmithing to create well-handcrafted fashion jewellery. Along with painting and styling, the venture aims to create a holistic fashion experience for a bold and dramatic woman!” As a child, I had always been fascinated by arts and crafts.
Despite our so-called 'modern' thoughts, the system of arranged marriages is still incredibly unequal and unfair to women across the country!
Despite our so-called ‘modern’ thoughts, the system of arranged marriages is still incredibly unequal and unfair to women across the country!
In our country, the concept of marriage is always understood by the joining of two families and not with the two individuals who wish to marry. The practice of marriage is itself involves a lot of cringe-worthy practices.
These include using matrimonial services for a particular caste, religion and languages. Based on these and the property they own, one family decides the worth of the other family. This system is always to be derogatory to the women. I have seen people rejecting women based on their beauty, skin colour, body, caste and even their financial status.
Without the inclusion of its women in the workforce, India's dream of being a great revered nation will remain just that, a dream. But when will we support ambition in women and make it easier for them?
Without the inclusion of its women in the workforce, India’s dream of being a great revered nation will remain just that, a dream. But when will we support ambition in women and make it easier for them?
Women and men both are pillars of a family and by extension that of the whole society. While the law provides equal rights to both, in practice there is a world of difference between men and women’s actual and perceived roles and responsibilities. A case in point is that of women who work.
The acceptance of women as working professionals with a fully functioning and well-defined world outside their homemaker role is an idea that is still alien to our society. Men still find it difficult to accept that women are capable of working at par with them, and mostly visualize their role in the family kitchen. Women also face lots of challenges at the workplace in the form of gender bias and lack of female role models, which undermines their confidence and ability to nurture their own ambitions in the long run.