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Women are disrupting the status quo; we need more women disruptors: Raj Nayak

Adgully’s Women Disruptors Summit & Awards 2020, held in Mumbai on March 6, brought together leading lights of the industry to deliberate on several relevant issues related to women in workplaces. Making a strong case for more Women Disruptors in India Inc, Raj Nayak, Founder, House of Cheer, in his address, said, “I’ve always believed that women have been the original disruptors, making waves and bringing change to our society.” 

Speaking further, Nayak said, “Women are disrupting the status quo and we need more women disruptors like you gathered here. Adgully’s Women Disruptors Summit & Awards is a testimony that change is happening and women are leading that change. As a man, my role is to be an ally, to support women’s voices and use my position to champion the issue. Gender equality benefits us all.” 

He found the term ‘the weaker sex’ baffling and added that he has always seen women as the stronger sex, as the ones who have to be resilient in the face of the burdens that society puts on them. Whether it is physical endurance or mental endurance, women have persisted in the face of all odds. 

“Even if you look at the current environment – what’s happening in our country – from the front, it is women who are raising their voices and guiding us in the direction we have to move in,” Nayak added. 

At the same time, he also pointed out that despite great strides being made in bringing about work equality, there is still a lot of work to be done. To accentuate his point, Nayak talked about how Elizabeth Warren had to drop out of the race for the United States Presidential elections despite an incredibly strong performance. “Voters found her to be an unsuitable candidate and she lost even in her home state. Despite its progress and diversity, till date the United States has not elected a woman as its President. Sexism continues,” he remarked. 

He further said, “I was reminded of a quote by Rukhsana Naz. Unless a woman is recognised as more than a mother, daughter or sister, and not valued as an individual, we should continue working for their rights.” 

He, however, also said that change is happening. “Organisations today are consciously making the decision to bring in gender equality so that change is definitely happening,” he added. Here, Nayak mentioned about Anubhav Sinha’s latest film, ‘Thappad’. Nayak said, “Director Hansal Mehta, known for his film ‘Aligarh’, articulated his views on ‘Thappad’ very well and I quote ‘an even more difficult conversation to have, hence an even more difficult film to make. It is after all about our private lives, it explores our attitudes, bares our mindsets and strips us of all those artefacts about gender and patriarchy in our day to day lives. It nudges you, pushes you, it argues with you, it talks to you, compels you, engages you through its exploration of the political in the personal it affects you deeply and in that is ‘Thappad’s resounding triumph’.” 

Talking about his previous job at Viacom18, Nayak said, “I only had women in my team. The HR had a problem with me. All my direct reportees were women and statistics prove that women work much better in organisations and they live longer, so they have more endurance.” 

Mentorship Programme for Women in MARCOM 

During his address, Nayak also made an important announcement regarding the Mentorship Programme for Women in MARCOM, an initiative of Adgully in association with IAA. The programme, Nayak said, “will serve as an incubator for future women leaders, allowing them to gain unparalleled experience and valuable skills to lead the industry. I would urge all aspiring women leaders to join the mentorship programme and hone your skills to successfully guide the corporates of tomorrow.” 

His word of advice for all was “when you get into corporate life, don’t look at yourself as men or women”. 

Nayak concluded by saying, “Tonight, I am humbled to be speaking to an audience full of women. What’s also nice is that there are a lot of men in the room. I am happy to be amongst you women, who embody strength, courage and perseverance. I don’t know what your journey has been, but I know you have overcome a lot to be here today. This has made me hopeful that the India of tomorrow will be a place of true equality.”

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