No matter which end of the pool you are thrown into, career women have to make themselves acceptable and figure out the winning formula, said Renuka Ramnath, Founder, MD and CEO, Multiples Alternate Asset Management. Do not vie for special attention or benefits, she said, addressing the women managers convention, organised by the Madras Management Association.
She drew from her life experiences to explain how she picked up the pieces after the loss of her husband to bring up her young children. She outlined the challenges of balancing her home and career at ICICI, ICICI Ventures and later as founder of an investment advisory firm.
“Do not view it anything as a sacrifice you are making. Home, children and family are not obstacles. The glass ceiling is set by your mind.
You have to let go of certain things. Because that is what it takes to succeed.” Having said this, she offered her salutation to home-makers as they make others' lives easy. But be happy home-makers, she said.
More women should occupy senior roles in organisations. This change can be driven only by women, concurred speakers at the women managers’ convention organised by the Madras Management Association.
According to Mary Rose Brooks, CEO, MAP Knowledge, UK, an international training organisation, only 21 per cent of women globally are senior managers. Asia is fast becoming a leading economic power, with the promise of huge opportunities for women. But only 37 per cent of women work in India, she said.
Why are these statistics so low? The reasons vary from child care, better pay for male counterparts, organisational culture and lack of adequate development opportunities for women.
But are quotas for women on the board a healthy trend? “Women should get there by themselves,” said Brooks, who is also a senior advisor at EduquestIndia Institute.
Education matters, not fancy connections. Women should look around them and continuously improve their leadership capabilities, Brooks urged women.
Venky Rajgopal, President, MMA, and Managing Director, Indian Terrain Fashions, said that even in America, only 13 per cent of senior managers are women. This figure is miniscule in India.
“There is a lack of professional ambition in women due to the roles they play at home. But I dream of a world where 50 per cent of our workplace is run by women and 50 per cent of our homes are run by women,” said Rajgopal.
The world is not fighting for gender equality alone. The issue is beyond that, as we struggle for peace and social justice, said film director Mahesh Bhatt.
“It is not enough to be equal to men when men are acting like beasts,” said Bhatt, known for his unconventional style of movie-making.
Women need to say ‘no’ to bullying husbands and boyfriends and stand up to corporate, social hierarchy. The world is counting on you, said Bhatt.