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Women and the Women’s Day Tamasha

So Women’s Day came and went. And with it, we witnessed the regular, mainstream flurry of offers…20% discounts between 11.00 A.M to 6.00 PM, free meals etc. etc. Along with this was the barrage of appreciation messages on all social media channels and of course, who can forget WhatsApp? While all is great about this hype around Women’s Day, I strongly feel that we have now reduced this movement to a Hallmark event. The United Nations adopted 8th of March as International Women’s Day because they realized that women needed equal representation and opportunities in the workplace as their male counterparts. This was back in 1977. In 2018, isn’t it sad to see that we are still standing in the same place?

Let’s talk about what Women’s Day is not about – It’s not about discounts and freebies. It is definitely not about the hollow appreciation messages that we forward to each and every woman on our contact list. It is not about showing your appreciation to the women figures in your life in roles defined by patriarchy for that one day in the entire 365 days of the year.

What Women’s Day is about is equality and opportunity. Seems repetitive? Well, we need to keep repeating this until our patriarchal society realizes one gender is grossly misrepresented and exploited. Women’s Day is a reminder that we still need an enabling environment to prosper and succeed. It is about realizing that gender diversity is important. According to a study conducted by Deloitte of 6000 companies across 49 countries only 12% of board seats were held by women. Given that we are in 2018, isn’t this number shameful? Should women across the globe feel content with the fact that today nearly three-quarters of boards globally have ‘at least’ one woman?

Since it is assumed that numbers speak louder let us take a look at two simple statistics:

  • According to a research by Catalyst, companies with more women on the Board of Directors have a 16% higher Return on Sales
  • MSCI discovered that organizations with strong women leadership were correlated with higher Return on Equity
  • And yet, the fight for equality…for equal pay and equal opportunities, continues. A report from the World Economic Forum clearly elucidates that it will take over a hundred years to close this global gender pay gap!

Quite honestly, today, we shouldn’t even be talking about why organizations need to take a close and hard look at their hiring and promotion policies. Do we really belong to the Dark Ages? Haven’t women across the globe proved that when enabled, they can achieve anything? Why insult us by asking us to give you reasons as to why we are employable? Yes, marriage and motherhood are a part of our life’s plan (at least for many of us), but we don’t get married to ourselves right? So when these life changes do not feature when you are interviewing a man, why should they present themselves in the case of a woman?

I’m not going to validate why hiring a woman is a good idea because of XYZ reasons because that leads to the automatic assumption that they’re not good at something else. If we can balance the precarious burden of ‘everything’ that falls on us, we are quite as capable of managing a job.

Hire more women because of their merit. To make it simpler, there is one half of the world’s population that is qualified, skilled, experienced and eager to work. Why look away from this workforce just because of their gender?

The good news is that there are organizations who are willing to be forward thinking and base their hiring on the basis of merit over gender. Companies like Pink Lemonade and Midas Touch amongst many others are all about enabling women to remain in the workforce. Since I have been associated with Midas Touch for over half a decade, I can strongly say that Midas Touch is definitely one of them. With 90% women on the team and a woman CEO to boast about, this agency is breaking the stereotypes that we have grown up with. Their hiring policy is simple. Are you qualified? Are you the best fit for the job? Simple, straightforward common sense. And yes, they provide an enabling environment to work in.

I think if we just learn to empathize a little with women, the bane of their everyday existence owing to patriarchy and just open up our minds…just a little bit, we won’t be needing an International Women’s Day. Because then, truly, every day will be Women’s Day.

So until then, Happy Women’s Day to us and for the rest, may good sense prevail!

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