‘Crux is the unconscious bias’
At Publicis Worldwide, one of our values is: ‘You fit in, when you don’t’ – as a commitment to create an inclusive organisation devoid of any bias. Everyone consciously tries to be – or is, to a certain degree – inclusive, but years of conditioning about gender, sexual and racial categories do leave a mark. The lack of diversity in the workplace bears testimony to this unconscious and largely inherited bias. Structural and policy changes alone cannot change this. The crux is the unconscious bias that we have to learn to recognise, acknowledge and then change.
The advertising industry, which has a huge social responsibility, should make it mandatory for its workers to undergo training programmes to address this issue and open our hearts and minds to true equality, justice and freedom. It is our duty as an industry to make the world a better place.
– Oindrila Roy, Managing Director, Publicis Worldwide India
‘Let achievements attract genuine applause’
I would not suggest a single gender-oriented change because that would nullify a woman’s ascend. The only change I hope permeates within society, is that every time a woman achieves extraordinarily, her feat attracts genuine applause and not the illiberal thought that her ‘gender‘ sought it for her.
– Lajwanti D’Souza, Consulting Editor, The Free Press Journal and Founder, Eshtory Mediaworks
‘More women in leadership positions’
While women are well-represented at entry level positions and move up the corporate ladder to mid-level in the media and entertainment industry, the same progression does not hold good when it comes to senior leadership.
Women at leadership positions tend to make the team environment more cooperative, less authoritative and bring a family-like atmosphere that bolsters productivity and creates a collaborative atmosphere at work.
Having more women in board positions, fostering mentorship programs within the organisation, hiring more women in non-traditional roles, dismantling stereotypes about the kind of work women can do can be some of the steps in the right direction.
– Priya Mukherjee, Group President – Network Development, India TV
‘Mentorship – not just for ‘performers’
As part of the beauty industry for close to two decades now, I have seen women consumers grow from a place of seeking societal approval on their skin color to now buying diamonds for themselves. This has been accompanied by a parallel growth in the number of women in the workforce who are now demanding more. At the same time, corporate growth is no longer a linear path, requiring navigation of structural and behavioural complexities. Mentorship is a powerful but often undervalued tool that can help simplify the journey for women. Structured programmes not just at the entry or the top level but through the career journey can help women stay the course as well as excel. Committed mentorship programs with seniors as also interactions with peer-to-peer groups, identified sponsorships and other relevant formats will ensure that the average woman employee is able to solve her issues and live up to her full potential. Most mentorship programs are for a select set of ‘performers’. If we want more women at the top, we need to broaden the base and ensure as many women, bright as they are, do not get derailed by challenges in the middle of the journey, where most dropouts happen. Mentorship will provide the necessary assistance in carving out her career path so that she arrives as leader at the top, in her own right.
– Ankita Srivastava, Chief Marketing Officer, KISNA, H K Jewels Pvt Ltd.