Are you a meaning-making machine ?

Changing your mindset about Women

2013 and still a very negligible number of women make it to corporate boards, top management positions or even positions of greater corporate responsibility. 

In its infancy in countries mired with notions that prevent workplace gender equality and in possible teens in the so called developed economies, work place gender equality practices still leave much desired. 

Over the past few years, many networks have emerged to effect policies that lead to specifying a direction that will lead to economies sans of gender based discrimination at all levels. However, how successful these policy statements are across execution is clearly not determined. 

The focus of governments is to establish policies, government funded institutions execute these in parts - however the implementation on ground is not something that either of these institutions can augur with their resources. The implementation of gender equality starts with you and I. 

How many times has the prospect of a resource who is a woman deterred the Human Resources managers ( even women ) to reconsider the candidature? Have you as women ever been asked of your commitment to a career before being considered for a job?

In many global corporations, executives perceive women to be of a greater risk for senior positions, do not give women constructive feedback that would help them grow or improve, or increasingly fail to offer working mothers opportunities that come with more travel and stress. 

A survey conducted by one of the big five consulting companies earlier this year indicates that although a majority of women who make it to senior roles have a real desire to lead, few think they have meaningful support to do so, and even fewer think they’re in line to move up the corporate ladder.

In defining some of the generic mindsets that set up women for failure in corporate environment, many managers I have met have considered statements like below to create gender biased corporate set-ups. 

a. She is single. I'll spend time training and teaching her and she will get married and leave her job. 
b. She is newly married. I'll spend time and resources training and teaching her and she will get pregnant.
c. She will get pregnant and take months off work.
d. She will not work long hours like men would. 
e. I cannot send her in the field as she will fail.
f. She is a woman. I don't know how to communicate with her. 
g. A woman is not right for this role.
h. She is very aggressive. Or She is too meek and passive

No government program or initiative is designed or equipped to change workplace gender bias. If the workplace mindset does not change at the executive level, no amount of time, effort and money spent in workplace gender bias eradication is enough. 

What can we do as women to influence corporations to take us seriously. Honestly, I believe the change starts with us. Are we serious about being taken seriously or will the lax career attitudes of some of us, bring the entire woman kind to an inferior platform for workplace negotiation? Haven't we heard of men with lax career attitudes? How does that not effect their workplace representation?

If we as women show personal commitment to change this attitude by pushing back and negotiating based on our expertise, experience and capability; we can make a change-  Not only in our lives but in the general perception of the risk that gets associated with women in corporate environments. 

We need a level playing field. And no one can help us except we ourselves. Treating women in workforce as equals is not a favor; it is an imperative. And the change starts with us.