Am a self confessed fangirl of Maya Angelou and hence hers Nothing will work unless you do has always been my wake up call. Everytime I am faced with adversity I play back those words over and over again till it works. With 27% (a decline from the 34% in 1990) of female workforce participation today and an abysmal board room presence of women in corporate India, we have an uphill task ahead of us and however much, I would have preferred to not talk about the issue on Womens Day specifically – well better now that later. Consider myself a woman who has been blessed with parents, mentors and coworkers who never made me feel my gender in our day to day existence however am the luckier one. For once am not focussing on policies and what employers and government can do about this burning issue. How can we take charge of our destiny at work and what could possibly be the “Fateh Recipe” for continous progress and growth.
Rutba, in another words credibility, status, importance is non negotiable and it comes from sustained and aggressive performance. To stand out and to be noticed women at work cannot just settle with being average, that is not an option. The world we live in there is very little room for average women professionals. We should have the stamina and tenacity to make an mark without expecting an special privileges, short cuts and quotas and with predictability.
Rasookh, or otherwise influence is key to our success at work place. And that influence counts when we have the ability to influence those who are not directly associated with us. Its easy to influence one’s toddler or one’s subordinate but it is a different skill altogether being able to influence peers or external stakeholders who have little or no allegience towards us. As woman our sensibilities, are inherent ability to empathise puts us at an advantage in our ability to influence – of course only if we choose to exercise as we must at workplace.
Rob or an image of awe is critical for anyone in leadership. Research again shows that women tend to underplay themselves and undermines the importance of creating an aura and “market” themselves. Our need for authenticity usually outscores the need to build an image which is larger than life and aspirational thereby being counterproductive in our career progression.
Rishtey or our network and relationships on the professional front have important consequence in our career progression and several study shows that women do this very differently from men leading to different outcomes. Women tend to focus on fewer yet deeper relationships with those with shared values and that leads to a limited network. Its important for us women to break out and learn to get along with those at work place beyond our likes and values. Sponsorship and visibility are key ingredients for growth for women at all levels.
Each of these four factors are interdependent and interrelated. Absence of either leads to undesirable consequences. Before our environment changes, as women, we need to be the change we seek it is matter of time the rest shall follow. For that we simply cannot sit back and watch. Instead lets lead from the front “Each time a woman stands up for herself , without knowing it possibly, without claiming it she stands up for all women.”
Rituparna Chakraborty is Co-Founder & EVP, TeamLease Services Ltd.