#PledgeForParity – Change Begins With You
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.
– Ayn Rand
Gender Parity cannot be achieved overnight. It also cannot be achieved by writing or talking about it. Only being the change, we wish to see can make things different and better.
You and I will not be around for another 117 years to see Gender Parity so we need to sow the seeds now and reap benefits in this life. This year, I #PledgedForParity and whether at home or at work I am changing myself. Sometimes, little efforts can bring big changes and it’s important to take those first few steps. Everything else will slowly fall in to place.
Today at work, I overheard a tea conversation that was themed around how pregnancy/motherhood is challenging. It comes as no surprise when many women give in to the pressure and put their careers on the back burner.
It’s important that working mothers talk to their manager or employer about the challenges they face. What can or cannot be done is a conversation for some other day but know that good talent needs to be retained and organizations are open to go that extra mile to help women stay on the job.
Ask for the support you need, for flexible hours or part-time schedule. It’s important that you believe in your decision to quit work or to continue. Delegate chores, talk to your husband and explore options before you half-heartedly take a decision that you regret.
Don’t give up on your career just because you are a Mum.
When I was a Software Engineer, before big code deployment or releases, we used to stay late at work to finish coding and fixing bugs. Out of concern and my safety, my boss would drop me home around 8PM but the men on the team stayed back to finish the work. Next day morning, they would talk about how much effort they put in, stayed all night to finish things, send it to clients and then add to say that I was lucky cos our manager cared for me and dropped me home on time everyday.
It was good of my manager to think of my safety but do you see that a stereotype was also being fueled?
By the time I moved out from that job, I had heard things like women cannot code and coding is not a woman’s game.
A couple of years ago, I was talking to an acquaintance who mentioned of leaving work in a month. Curious as I can get, I asked the reason and got to know that this young woman (early 20s) was getting married. So I asked why leave work and then the response surprised me.
“May be my husband and in-laws wouldn’t want me to work after marriage”.
This young woman hadn’t spoken to her would-be husband or his family but was ready to quit a full-time job in a scenario that wasn’t even in the picture. The marriage was just arranged and there was easily six months to go but she went ahead and left the job.
Why do women give up before they should?
As International Women’s Day was approaching, a friend in another company reached out me for names of women leaders in technology. I gave her a few suggestions I could think of at that moment and then I committed to search on LinkedIn and get back to her. Keeping my word, I punched in the keywords on the network and to my surprise, I got only one name from a set of hundred women. Not that there were no leaders – these were in fields of Finance, HR, Administration but none in Technology.
No, it’s not the lack of skill in women. Very few women make it to the top. Some leave for children, some for marriage and some change fields. And they leave to never get to the workforce or the break in career pushes them back. Some find it hard to find the right support and some keep on trying to be the super woman and take unnecessary stress.
There are women in technology – encourage them and help them grow.
There are many more instances that you and I can think of but that’s not the point. What we learn from those situations is important.
How we ensure that men and women find an equal footage, same opportunity and none is pulled back for biases, how there is no gender pay gap and how good work is appreciated irrespective of who did it. How men and women work together in and out of the home.
And to have all that, remember that change begins with you!
My post today is in response to a tag from Esha Mookerjee Dutta of Soul Talk who passed this on to me from Anamika Agnihotri of The Bespectaled Mother. I now pass on the tag to Corinne Rodrigues of Write Tribe for a round-up. This is an initiative of Write Tribe to focus on women through the entire Women’s Day week.