It’s International Women’s Day today, and like every year, this year too, conversations start which are centred around women’s empowerment and their financial inclusion. Many of these conversations end up being tokenism of male champions. But it’s a great time to ponder on the larger question of how can we together really make women’s empowerment a reality? While the international community, local government, corporates, and the society at large are looking at various initiatives and means to make this happen, I believe the real game changers could be women themselves, which is often overlooked.
My thoughts on these topics have been shaped and continue to evolve based on my personal experiences of over 20 years working along with the most amazing women. Whether it’s my first manager when I started my career, my colleagues in my recent organization, my wife and other family members. I believe the common trait which threads all successful women are they are all Empowered. I think in order to empower our women we need ‘ABCD’. Be Attentive, be Brave, be Candid and be Dedicated.
What I mean by this is first of all, in society, we have to inspire all our girls and women to aspire to do well. This starts by encouraging them to be Brave, brave to dream big and aspire to back it up with dedication and hard work. Secondly, we must ensure that we are attentive to the specific educational needs. This is going to be crucial in Industry 4.0 because one size fits all is the education system of the 20th century and we need a new paradigm for the 21st century. The third one is that we have to be candid and straightforward to them to ensure that they get the right steer in their life and career to be successful. These together will ensure that Women will be empowered economically, socially and at the workplace.
At Epik we aim to create a truly merit-based gender-neutral organisation. This gives all women the confidence that they can progress in their career based on their capability, hard work, potential. They will not be discriminated just because they are women. Besides creating this comfortable environment, which is highly gender-neutral and merit-based, we also specifically focus on the specific requirement of a woman like safety and security of women when they are at work and when they travel for work.
We at Epik are also discussing how we contribute more to society through CSR programs where we can focus on training girls/women from economically weaker sections of society.
Having travelled the world over, I believe that the future is very bright for India as it is taking steps in the right direction to economically empower women and make them more and more inclusive, in India’s economic growth. It is evident from the various policies and the rules the government has framed around the workplace environment, sexual harassment laws, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao Andolan’ campaign, micro-loans to encourage women entrepreneurship. Besides government initiatives, a lot of corporates are now focusing on attracting more and more women in their workplace and creating a more gender-neutral merit-based organisation. India is a country where self-help groups are largest amongst the world and through this India has empowered a large number of women not just economically, but also give them the confidence to participate more and more in various decision-making processes, whether in a relationship, at home, in society, at workplace, and country matters.
I have seen India is one country where women are doing well across various fields, it’s not just about the corporate sector, it’s not just about the self-help group movement but it’s about the fact that Indian sportswomen are doing well in various sports, it’s about the fact that India has the largest number of pilots in the Indian Air Force, and with the recent supreme court judgement enabling women to serve in command in the Indian Army and various other initiatives, I think women are becoming empowered more than ever before.
By Shubho Banerjee – Co Founder