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Empowering women for a Better Tomorrow
Authors: Shallu Soni, Mymoon Shabana, Lavanya Raghuraman
Table of Contents
1 Abst...
2
1 Abstract
Are women empowered in today’s world? The answer is Yes! But, the real question is, “Do all women feel
empowe...
3
Analysis of the challenges:
Factors hindering Women
Empowerment
Self is responsible (A) Society is responsible(B)
Gender...
4
This analysis is represented as a Venn diagram in Figure.1
Figure1: Venn Analysis
From Figure 1, we can find that most o...
5
Figure 2- Women Empowerment SWOT Technique
S W
O T
1. Emotional Guilt
2. Self-Negligence
3. Communicaiton
4. Attitude
1....
6
4.1 Overcoming Weaknesses - What Self can do?
4.1.1 Self-Negligence: Challenge
A woman faces lots of challenges from the...
7
Women Discussion circle – This group acts as a medium to educate and enhance the fellow
women associates of our organiza...
8
attitude and with right attitude comes right communication. Women often face challenges of being the
thin group when it ...
9
Table 3: Society Responsibility Matrix
Challenges Family Organization
Gender suppression High High
Emotional guilt High ...
10
Case study 1: Sample exercise for Managers/Leaders
4.2.2 Emotional Guilt and Forcible Quitting: Challenge
Families tend...
11
next step is to train aspiring women associates on Leadership competencies As per recent report from
the Committee for ...
12
6 References
[1] Regina Kunkle , "Women In IT: Follow Your Passion To A Successful Career"
http://www.forbes.com/sites/...
13
Author’s Profile
Lavanya Raghuraman works with Tata Consultancy Services and has over 7
years of Industry experience. S...
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Transcript of "Shallu soni mymoonshabana_lavanya raghuraman"

  1. 1. 1 Empowering women for a Better Tomorrow Authors: Shallu Soni, Mymoon Shabana, Lavanya Raghuraman Table of Contents 1 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 2 2 Introduction....................................................................................................................................... 2 3 Challenges Faced: ............................................................................................................................. 2 Analysis of the challenges:.................................................................................................................. 3 4 SWOT Technique ............................................................................................................................. 4 4.1 Overcoming Weaknesses - What you can do?........................................................................... 6 4.1.1 Self-Negligence: Challenge ................................................................................................ 6 4.1.2 Weak Network: Challenge.................................................................................................. 6 Solution: Women Women Web(3W’s)............................................................................................. 6 4.1.3 Emotional Guilt: Challenge ................................................................................................ 7 Communication and Right Attitude: Solution .................................................................................. 7 4.1.4 Untapped Potential: Challenge............................................................................................ 7 Solution: Realize your potential........................................................................................................ 7 4.1.5 Forcible Quitting – Challenge............................................................................................. 8 Solution: Work life balance .............................................................................................................. 8 4.2 Overcoming Threats –What Society can do?............................................................................. 8 4.2.1 Gender Suppression and Social Stigma: Challenge............................................................ 9 Solution: Gender Suppression and Social Stigma............................................................................. 9 4.2.2 Emotional Guilt and Forcible Quitting: Challenge........................................................... 10 Solution: Emotional Guilt and Forcible Quitting............................................................................ 10 4.2.3 Untapped potential: Challenge.......................................................................................... 10 Solution: Untapped Potential .......................................................................................................... 10 5 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................... 11 Few Highlights to Conclude ............................................................................................................... 11 6 References....................................................................................................................................... 12
  2. 2. 2 1 Abstract Are women empowered in today’s world? The answer is Yes! But, the real question is, “Do all women feel empowered?” Unfortunately, No. The challenges that curtail women empowerment vary from gender suppression to untapped potential. There are numerous success factors captured from personal experiences that have empowered woman’s career by overcoming these challenges. • The root of empowerment begins at home by gaining confidence and decision making as part of woman’s growing nature. Focus should be on opportunities to improve rather than looking for perfection in tasks taken. • Strong Women Networking helps in uplifting each other and smoothing the rough patches. This group will be a place for women, by women and of women. • As career women, there is a constant need to overcome challenges and make a mark at different levels of an organization. Support from organizations opens doors for empowering women to reach heights. This is a win-win situation for both since women leaders have recorded better ROI to the organization. • A woman faces lots of challenges from the point she leaves home for work until she retires for the day. Care for self by following woman’s passions helps in keeping recharged for the different roles that she plays in a day. • Wearing the Right Attitude helps to accept the choices made to take up career along with the responsibility of raising the family. All the above factors considered at family and organizations levels can enhance the true multitasking potential of a woman and make her feel empowered. 2 Introduction Gone are the days, when women used to stay confined to the four walls of the house and limited themselves to being a homemaker. Women have started to hit all the facets of work like men. Yet, women face hurdles in the different roles that she plays in her daily chores. So, how does one overcome the challenges in order to become empowered women? This paper brings out the different challenges, its analysis and how to address them to bring about a better tomorrow for Gen Y women. 3 Challenges Faced: The major challenges that curtail women empowerment are Gender suppression, Emotional Guilt, Self- negligence, Weak network, Forcible Quitting and Untapped potential. All these challenges when properly handled can bring out the real potential of a woman. In this section, we analyze the deep-rooted challenges that women face from the standpoint of two stakeholders, the Self and the Society. By self, we mean the woman who faces challenges and by society we mean the family and the organization that are integral entities for empowering woman.
  3. 3. 3 Analysis of the challenges: Factors hindering Women Empowerment Self is responsible (A) Society is responsible(B) Gender suppression No Yes Emotional guilt Yes Yes Self-negligence Yes No Weak network Yes No Forcible Quitting Yes Yes Untapped potential Yes Yes Social Stigma No Yes Communication Yes No Table 1: Responsibility Matrix Table 1 depicts the two entities that affect Women empowerment. “Self is responsible” column denotes the list of challenges that are under the purview of the woman to overcome. “Society is responsible” column denotes those challenges that women face based on the external factors such as family and the Organization.
  4. 4. 4 This analysis is represented as a Venn diagram in Figure.1 Figure1: Venn Analysis From Figure 1, we can find that most of the factors affecting women empowerment fall within the boundary of Self. Although, a few factors are mutual, the focal point of overcoming the challenges lies with self-initiation. In a nut-shell, it can be said that Empowerment cannot be given, it has to be taken. By focusing on addressing the challenges around self, one can surely bring about the required change in the way society treats a woman. This will minimize the social challenges imparted on women by the society. 4 SWOT Technique To overcome the factors that an individual needs to improve, we have applied the SWOT Technique. The Self- challenges are linked to Weaknesses and the Society-based challenges are linked to the external Threats. Objective: To become empowered women by overcoming the major challenges. For applying this technique, we will address the following questions How can we minimize our Weaknesses, so that we are better positioned to make them our strengths? How should society help in reducing the Threats to women empowerment, so that there are better opportunities for Women empowerment?
  5. 5. 5 Figure 2- Women Empowerment SWOT Technique S W O T 1. Emotional Guilt 2. Self-Negligence 3. Communicaiton 4. Attitude 1. 1. Financial Independence 2. Organizational Growth 3. Career Scale-up 4. Mentoring 1. Gender Suppression 2. Family Pressure 3. Social Stigma 4. Forced Quitting 1. Well Organized 2. Emotional Intelligence 3. Decision Making 4. Ambitious I N T E R N A L E X T E R N A L
  6. 6. 6 4.1 Overcoming Weaknesses - What Self can do? 4.1.1 Self-Negligence: Challenge A woman faces lots of challenges from the point she leaves home for work until she retires for the day. It is inevitable that Women play many roles in day with no time for self-care. In course of time, this has an impact on the health that causes a ripple effect on all her responsibilities. Solution: Care for Self Make time for yourself. This is very important to keep the stress levels at bay. Poor health can destroy the peace of the family as well as one’s career. Indulge in activities that you like to do. Have a routine exercise regime. Care for self by following woman’s passions helps in keeping recharged for the different roles that she plays in a day. Author's experience: Post maternity, obesity was controlling my life. I used to feel exhausted with the different roles I had to play after joining work back. Being a sports person throughout my life, obesity was killing my spirit and had an impact on career as well as my family. I got to know of an initiative by the company to have an in-house fitness program. This initiative from my organization and little push of my own helped me to rejuvenate myself. 30 Minutes a day of exercise changed my life to the most. Within a span of six months, I can confidently say I feel a major change in my energy levels and I am more efficient in taking care for my family and my work. In addition to it, this gave me an opportunity to train myself and be a part of World 10 K organized at Bangalore. I successfully completed the 10K run and it gave me enormous visibility thereby being an inspiration to many women associates in the organization. 4.1.2 Weak Network: Challenge Another major setback is the area of networking. Women tend to focus on their job and their family. The world is viewed very narrow and therefore the opportunities get narrower. This would hinder professional growth for an ambitious woman. Solution: Women-Women Web (3W’s) Strong Women Networking helps in uplifting each other and smoothing the rough patches. This group will be a place for women, by women and of women. Such groups in organization or elsewhere have helped women in getting through the transition period from maternity to work, counseling, mentoring and sharing insights by inspiring women leaders. In longer run, as successful career women, we need to act as a medium / catalyst to educate and enhance the fellow women associates of our organization. Author's experience: Diversity and Women Network forum at our Organization has various activities. We meet up once in month with a "Woman- Centric" theme to collaborate and inspire each other apart from engaging in various activities to become a better individual. Some of the activities are: Be Inspired – Various sessions are conducted by eminent women leaders across the organization that inspires me and gives me confidence to handle the different challenges that I come across.
  7. 7. 7 Women Discussion circle – This group acts as a medium to educate and enhance the fellow women associates of our organization. By being a part of this group, it helped me to share my problems formally/informally and get guidance from my peers on both professional and personal front. This forum has always been a great school of learning and sharing within my organization 4.1.3 Emotional Guilt: Challenge Career women invariably travel the guilt trip that a career is built at the cost of their family. Maintaining balance between work and family has always been difficult when moving up in the career ladder. This leads to guilt, depression and stress. After marriage, women have to manage her husband, in-laws, kids therefore she juggles in between her family and work. This makes woman keep brooding over what they wished that had done. Communication and Right Attitude: Solution One should negotiate for her space, be it at home or society. It is important not to think of home when at work and feel guilty that you want to build a career at the cost of family. When you are at work, think of your career goals and focus on how to accomplish them. When you are at home, think of how to best be a mother, a wife, a daughter in law and a daughter. Wear the Right Attitude to accept the choices you have made to take up career along with the responsibility of raising the family. In some circumstances, silence cannot be used as the right weapon. It will turn out to be dangerous if one tolerates any kind of injustice because speaking out would mean going against the social stigma of how a woman should be. One must keep in mind that Perfection cannot be achieved in all the tasks taken but should look for ways to improve in the next opportunities that come their way. Author's experience: Being a mother of 2 kids under 5 years, I found it very difficult to manage my kids and work. I felt that my kids were missing me and even ignoring my presence because the time I spent with them was less. Being a working mother was the choice I made as I was ambitious as well as I wanted to financially support my family. I decided not to feel guilty and tried to focus on what could improve my work-life balance. During one of the women network meetings, I was inspired by a speech given by a very eminent women leader. She mentioned “There won't be time where you can strike the balance between work and family. Either of one would take priority based on the demand” This was a very important message to my guilt trodden self. I then decided to properly communicate my situation to my manager when a demand of family raised its head. Similarly, I was assertive about the need to work and communicate the same to my family and kids. In this way, I was clear of my goals and never decided to travel the road of guilt again. 4.1.4 Untapped Potential: Challenge A woman is a true multitasking potential. Most of the times, this fact gets under estimated by the individual due to the social stigma. This leads to the potential being untapped. Solution: Realize your potential ”. A woman needs to know that she is capable of doing much more than she thinks she can. “Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is! – Anne Frank This is where the right attitude comes into play. To realize your potential, one needs to wear the right
  8. 8. 8 attitude and with right attitude comes right communication. Women often face challenges of being the thin group when it comes to important meetings and decision makings. If you have a point to make, never decide to go with the crowd only because you fall under the minority group. Be open to ideas and assess the reasons of disagreements, yet maintain a strong and professional level of discussion. 4.1.5 Forcible Quitting – Challenge In most of the situations, it is found that women between the age of 30 and 40 quit due to family pressures and the social stigma surrounding the lifestyle of women. For women, the problems are a lot more serious and so they opt out. Solution: Work life balance Organizations have various policies for going on sabbaticals during maternity, to take care of an ailing family member and so on. Women should be aware of all the work-life balance policies, procedures, holidays offered in their organization. Many organizations today have implemented intranets, virtual private networks and other knowledge management systems which can help employees to work from home. Such policies are used by women associates to maintain a work-life balance. Women should realize that they need to balance work and life based on the demands at work and home. Organizations can only facilitate, but the initiative should be taken by us. Table 2 shows the effectiveness of each solution to overcome the different challenges. Table 2: How to minimize Weaknesses to overcome our Threats Solutions Challenges Communication Attitude Care for self Women Network Emotional guilt Medium High Medium Medium Self-negligence N/a Medium High Medium Weak network High High Medium High Forcible Quitting High High High High Untapped potential High High Medium Medium 4.2 Overcoming Threats –What Society can do? Table 3 depicts the intensity of the different challenges that Women face from the perspective of family and Organization
  9. 9. 9 Table 3: Society Responsibility Matrix Challenges Family Organization Gender suppression High High Emotional guilt High Low Social Stigma High High Forcible Quitting High Low Untapped potential Low High 4.2.1 Gender Suppression and Social Stigma: Challenge It is evident that girls are brought up in a more conservative environment as compared to boys. With regard to the girl child, parents tend to limit the child’s activities in this male-dominated world. They are treated inferior to them, not because they are less qualified or incapable, but because of the reason that they are women. It is true that Organizations have shown interest in opening the doors for women, but the real picture remains that everything is only on paper and there is very less rigor in the actions being taken towards the betterment of women employees. It is a sad state that Women are yet to be seen more at the higher positions. This is a major road block to women empowerment. Solution: Gender Suppression and Social Stigma Family: The root of empowerment begins from family. A girl should be taught to be independent right from the time she learns to walk on her own. Author’s experience: I am an outgoing person due to the attitude of my parents towards my upbringing. Brought up in a conservative environment, he would still have a lot of wisdom and courage to educate his children equally. We being two elder sisters never were made to think that we are less than our brothers. We went through Proper education, caring and all the opportunities were given to us. It is at this prime youth that seeds of confidence are sown into an individual irrespective of the gender. That has helped me to become a confident woman with clarity in every decision that I make. Organization: As career women, there is a constant need to overcome challenges and make a mark at different levels of an organization. Organizations should conduct workshops for Managers/Leaders to emphasis the importance of diversity at the leadership level. These workshops should help in changing the mindset of the Managers and Leaders not to assume that women are tailor- made only for certain tasks. This is a major bottle neck to Women empowerment. Following is a sample exercise that could be conducted in workshops for Managers/Leaders
  10. 10. 10 Case study 1: Sample exercise for Managers/Leaders 4.2.2 Emotional Guilt and Forcible Quitting: Challenge Families tend to think of women as child bearers and home makers. They think of working women as a means of degradation to the family culture. This has created a lot of mental pressure within the family as well as the individual which impacts the career of women. Solution: Emotional Guilt and Forcible Quitting Day-care tie-ups can help women rest assured of proper care to her kid(s) while she can devote time to work. Company should have provisions for sabbaticals for maternity/ taking care of ailing parents /in-laws. Flexibility in work timings/choice of working from home post maternity/during the need of the hour will open doors for empowering women. This will be a motivation to aspiring women and will reduce the pressures that a working women faces in her family. 4.2.3 Untapped potential: Challenge The stigma surrounding women is the biggest threat for a women’s potential to go untapped. Although Organizations have set up policies for women empowerment, the focus to enhance women potential is lacking. Solution: Untapped Potential Support from Management is very essential to retain women employees in the organization. The first step to guiding women is to help them with allowances that could prevent them from quitting. The
  11. 11. 11 next step is to train aspiring women associates on Leadership competencies As per recent report from the Committee for Economic development, Women leaders participation in the board committee yield better ROI and profits to the organizations. Support from organizations open doors for empowering women to reach heights. This is a win-win situation for both. The importance of women empowerment should be in the agenda for every financial year’s goals of the organization. 5 Conclusion This paper has showcased the major challenges that working women face in corporate world. Based on the analysis of these challenges through various methods, the conclusion is that Woman to become empowered needs to focus on the factors that are under the control of self. The various solutions brought about in this paper are proven experiences of the authors and when applied efficiently would help Gen Y women to face the challenges in the right way and get empowered. This paper also emphasizes on solutions that society can support with for women to get empowered. Few Highlights to Conclude Keep your spirits high. Don’t get de-motivated easily. Maintain a thick skin Value all your work and pat yourself. This will energize your subconscious mind Say ‘No’ without guilt. Spend a minimum of 2 hours in a week for your hobbies Dedicate 100% to whatever you do
  12. 12. 12 6 References [1] Regina Kunkle , "Women In IT: Follow Your Passion To A Successful Career" http://www.forbes.com/sites/netapp/2013/05/08/women-career-passion/ [2]Cynthia Stoddard, "Why We MUST Tell Young Women Math Is Cool" http://www.forbes.com/sites/netapp/2013/05/10/math-is-cool/ [3]Suzi Skinner, "Why success depends on a woman’s sense of leadership identity" http://www.womensagenda.com.au/career-agenda/leaders/why-success-depends-on-a-womans-sense-of- leadership-identity/ [4]Candida Brush,"Leaning In" is Not Enough: Women Entrepreneurs Need to "Leap In" http://www.forbes.com/sites/babson/2013/04/13/leaning-in-is-not-enough-women-entrepreneurs-need-to-leap-in/ [5]Nellie Borrero,"Create a Culture Where Female Leaders Can Thrive" http://talentmgt.com/articles/view/create-a-culture-where-female-leaders-can-thrive/1 [6]Ruth Paterson,"Women's empowerment in challenging environments" http://www.pathwaysofempowerment.org/women_empowerment_in_challenging.pdf [7]Katrina Hodges ,"Lessons Learned as a Working Mom" https://www.braintreepayments.com/blog/brainshe-lessons-learned-as-a-working-mom#
  13. 13. 13 Author’s Profile Lavanya Raghuraman works with Tata Consultancy Services and has over 7 years of Industry experience. She has completed her Post Graduation in Master of computer Applications from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore. She has been involved in several key projects across Insurance and Retail Domains, moving through positions such as Programmer, Project Lead and to the current role of a PMO. She has considerable experience in Quality Assurance as well. Apart from work, she is a trained classical singer and practices music. She is involved with various Corporate Social responsibility activities within and outside the organization. Shallu Soni works with Tata Consultancy Services as a Business Analyst and has over 8 years of Industry experience. She has completed her Post Graduation in Master of Information Technology. She is certified as an Associate in General Insurance. She is a mother of a cheerful 4 year old son . She has been a sports person through out her life. Currently living with her passion for Tennis and Running. Mymoon Shabana works with Tata consultancy Services as a Project Lead and has over 10 years of experience in IT Industry. She has done her Masters in Computer Science and Business Administration. She has been involved in various critical projects and is currently working in a large Strategic project. She is certified as an Associate in General Insurance and also has a Green belt in Six Sigma. She is mother of two; likes to read books and spend time with family

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