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Don’t Break the Bias. Grow Through It !

As another women’s day turns a corner, we at PRPOI did a candid, no holds barred #facebooklive with three stellar female panellists on why we don’t need to break the bias but lead from it. It’s 2022 and women still encounter biases across personal and professional. From encountering glass ceilings to being called too bossy, too aggressive, or even too soft, women have to negotiate biases across the spectrum. Our panellists have forged paths across traditionally masculine fields to make their mark. We spoke to Nimisha Iyer Thakkar, Director-Marketing Communications, MEASA, Frost & Sullivan, Rozelle Laha , Senior Manager - Corporate Communications, Coinswitch and Rebecca Edwin, Content Head, Basis - India's Financial Services Destination for Women to address some of the key issues women still face. 

Natural Born Communicators:

How do women get into new fields? While they are natural born communicators and bring in strong empathy and problem-solving skills, how do they get taken seriously in professions which are considered masculine. One of the answers to these questions lies in upgrading skill sets. Skills have no gender, and therefore are the solution for all women looking to expand their horizons. In the words of Nimisha Iyer, “Women are natural born communicators, and they like to apply a solution-based approach to communication. They have better skills of empathy and understanding, which also make them better at crisis management. 

Skill Based Approach:

In the words of Rozelle Laha, “Women have changed in their roles from managing to building. We see so much more representation of women in unicorns, start-ups, and high-profile businesses. Also, one trick I have learnt are to think of everyone as just people, irrespective of gender.” Agrees Rebecca, “A skill-based approach empowers us to look at our roles in a more objective manner. Ultimately you must be able to apply those skills across sectors.”

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for More:

Our panellists universally agreed that most times, women tend to undersell themselves professionally, either in terms of a raise or a promotion. Rebecca explains, “Fintech is a very male dominated industry, and women are not given covers that address their special health care concerns. Taking away from it, I suggest we look at content as not just gender specific, but about marketing to an undeserved market, which here is women.” Rozelle suggests, “Promoters understand data, and most are men, so talking data and having clear measurable goals has helped me a lot.” 

Women Also Get Serious Hearing:

Yet, women can and do get their due in the workplace as well. Nimisha explains, “As long as you are talking ROI, if you are talking serious business, you do get heard as well. It’s also about looking at things dispassionately, as opposed to being gender specific all the time.” Rozelle adds, “I continue to make conscious efforts to make sure my voice is heard.” The fact remains that women need to be in more leadership roles to be able to bring change into the culture of the company. Rebecca says, “A lot of gaps are there because we see women as being more emotional, and that is a huge bias we face, and even we as women buy our bias for many reasons.” So more women in leadership positions, we can direct more inclusive cultures. Yet, our panellists caution, “A lot of women who are currently in leadership positions have reached there the very hard way and expect their juniors to also struggle in the same manner, when they could instead institute easier and more effective and balanced cultures for them. So bias is not gender specific and women need to lead it better.”

Women need to Effect Change:

As we move into a world where the narrative if gender itself is changing. We need to look at how upbringing is now changing across generations. Nimisha points out to new age families, where girls are being encouraged to push boundaries. Rebecca adds, “We are also enabling our boys to be better and our generation is helping the younger generation to move beyond traditional narratives of gender.

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