On the occasion of Women’s Day, Medianews4u reached out to some successful women leaders to understand how they overcame stereotypes at the workplace.
Leila Pourhashemi, VP -Technology Business Operations, Blackhawk Network
“Gender equality and diversity of thoughts and experiences deliver better business outcomes. At Blackhawk Network, we strive to lead the way by mentoring women around us, encouraging them to ‘lean-in’ and sponsoring them to seek new opportunities to advance in their careers.”
Shikha Pillai- Head of Strategy, Siemens Healthineers
“Women bring a unique energy and perspective to leadership and therefore it’s imperative to focus on inclusion and balance in organizations. The playing field needs to be leveled to enable #EachForEqual. That said, it is heartening to see that there are many more opportunities for us today and women role models are spearheading change in various fields. Each woman who carves a path for other women is transforming our world for the better!”
Raghu Chandrashekar- Senior Vice President & Head Human Resources – Siemens Healthineers
“To be a truly diverse organization, one needs to have humility and awareness of bias which is only achieved when gender stereotypes are knocked down. At Siemens Healthineers, we are committed to creating a gender-inclusive workforce. On this International Women’s Day, we strive to build an ecosystem where women have a platform to express their thoughts, respected and recognized for their exceptional work. Diversity alone has the capability to strengthen our innovative capacity, unleash the full potential of our employees and thereby directly contributing to our success.”
Lakshmi H Shastry, Principal Architect, Technology Advisory & Consulting, Brillio
“At Brillio, we are a young team and believe in giving the employees, an equal opportunity. Initiatives such as Brillio Academy, Winspire, etc., enable us with the ability to influence and seize the opportunity rather than wait for it. We are constantly upskilling ourselves to align with the evolving technology and market requirements. On this International Women’s Day, I would like to say, we can see the needle moving in the right direction and workplaces becoming more inclusive. The unconscious biases have reduced, however it is slow and steady progress. It is, therefore, imperative to persevere and never give up on a personal sense of self-worth as well as professional achievements.”
Bindu Surendran, Senior Principal, Delivery Management, Sabre GDC, Bengaluru
From resisting social expectations to adopting a new culture, women today are faced with many challenges. Great work is not enough for women, just need to focus on the work you do and believe in yourself and on the way to your success help others, investing in learning and development for your self and for others. Be open to criticism and make the effort to get better and stronger.
Sumathi M Chari, Director, and Senior Partner, PRHUB
“The number of women in the PR industry has consistently increased over the years and it continues to grow. At entry levels, the ratio of female to male hires today is approximately 3:1, as per a recent PR Week Article. Despite this, the gender stereotypes in the industry glare at you. The age-old one that overrides, of course, is ascribing female PR practitioners as ‘good looking and trivial, small-talk weapons’ to manage client and media relations. As a result, a large number of them are confined to roles and to domains such as fashion or lifestyle perceived to be women-centric. Women PR professionals should work towards breaking this image by increasing their domain knowledge and more importantly, by engaging in conversations focused on such subjects with peers, media and clients alike.
The other sad reality is that despite a large number of women in the industry, few emerge and sustain at senior leadership levels and roles in organizations. While there are multiple larger factors including the perception issue of the business value that women in leadership roles bring to the table, maternity and family-work balance continues to be a big roadblock for many young, capable women at mid-levels, just when they are at the turning point of their careers. Undoubtedly, this is a phase that needs to be handled as per an individuals’ comfort, however, women should stop two things- planning for it much in advance & slowing down and talking about it or posing it as a constraint extensively and more than required. I have seen women stretch, remain flexible and contribute as effectively as their male counterparts but they create this as an obstacle in their growth themselves, simply because they are talking about it at work all the time with the hope of setting expectations, despite working equally hard!
The PR industry would definitely benefit by breaking these and other smaller gender stereotypes, enabling us to tap into quality talent better.”
Rose Tsou, Head of International and eCommerce, Verizon Media
“Organizations have to support women when they really need help and in a way that is meaningful for them. It’s essential to create a work environment where women feel safe, trusted and empowered. It is not just about the skills and training that women in tech require professionally — though that is important — but about the critical support they may need at points in their career to balance work and family. It means trusting women and mentoring or empowering them to take on greater leadership responsibilities. Ultimately, it is about creating a work environment where women can bring their ‘whole self’ to work, not just their ‘work self,’ which maximizes their potential and contribution to an enterprise.”
“Nurture an inclusive workplace, where differences are celebrated. Technology today touches every part of our lives. When you think of how to apply technology to solve existing problems or tap new opportunities, you need different perspectives, skills, and viewpoints at the table. This can only come from a more diverse workforce, where employees are celebrated in the work environment for how different they are. As a company, at Verizon Media, we have 60% diversity in our workforce and believe that is our strength, which helps us innovate more effectively.”
Ayushi Arora Gulyani – Director Media Corridors
“I personally believe that being a woman entrepreneur, the responsibilities are more than what people assume. All you need is a strong and focused approach to achieve your goals, overcome stereotypes in society and outshine in your business aesthetics and let your work speak for itself.”
Richa Singh, Managing Director – India, Diamond Producers Association
Women today are independent multi-taskers who run a company, oversee their kid’s homework, manage a house and plan a vacation in a single day with equal panache. We love to say that Women are just like natural diamonds; strong, resilient and have faced intense pressure without losing their inherent sparkle. This Women’s Day I would like to raise a toast to women like these who are shattering the glass ceiling and leading the way for future generations to come.
Vrutika Dawda, Director, IdeateLabs
I have never let gender discrimination distract me from achieving my goals. A strong and very dominant belief that women are not risk-takers and opinionated has completely changed today. I believe that the first step towards success begins by inducing self-belief and overlooking all kinds of stereotypes that pose as growth barriers. It is time for women to find their voice and own it. Know what you want and work towards it passionately.
‘Women don’t get enough opportunities’, this is another very popular stereotype in the industry but I truly believe that one’s work does all the talking. At IdeateLabs, we ensure that women get equal opportunities because performance and determination have nothing to do with gender.
Stereotypes have always been prevalent in our industry but keeping our focus, believing in what we really want to achieve and to be known for, is how we shrug them away. An equal opportunity employer is what we are.