#EmbraceEquity - The new international women's day theme

The theme rightfully focuses on gender equity.

Mumbai: This year’s International Women’s Day theme of #EmbraceEquity may already be trending across social media but if we pause and delve into it in a deeper manner,  we would realize the depth of these two words put together. `Embrace Equity` rightfully focuses on gender equity and the inherent need for it to be a part of every society’s DNA as a must have. As individuals and businesses, we often give a big nod to global collective theme-based efforts and with the passage of time, forget about it. Only when we genuinely believe in embracing equity in an unconditional manner, will we be able to inch closer to creating a fairer and more equal world for all. Collectively, we all can play our own distinct roles in spearheading this mission within our own turf of hold and authority.

In the corporate world, instilling gender equality is yet to become a norm. Various studies and research have already proven how women tend to play a distinct and often more efficient role in certain tasks as compared to their male counterparts- however,  we don’t even have to go that far. Even when we take the first step by acknowledging genders to be equal, in my opinion, that’s a solid step toward fostering balance and inclusiveness in the professional world.

The world has entered the era of the ‘New Normal’ and businesses, both established and startup entities can collectively forge positive change. Time and again, it’s been proved that collective efforts drive change, and allies- be it coworkers or peers at work front are important for advancing such a cause.

To begin with, creating awareness on how women can “Have it all” or “Do it all” is not the right mindset and hence shouldn’t even be an expectation from them. Women should have the flexibility to choose their form of life without being judged against the conventional roles of what each gender is “supposed” to do.

Organizations can encourage women to explore a possible C-suite journey within companies in times ahead by launching leadership programs. Such programs act as an ideal transitory phase where the leap for women to step up feels more controlled and manageable. Launching Entrepreneurship programs for women employees could be a wider extension of such initiatives.

Additionally, as part of planning to fill in management positions currently being held by women employees, organizations should first look at potential women successors to maintain diversity at the top. While the law on “Women’s Quota” which reserves 30% of management seats for women is a step in that direction, I believe that it’s time for us to not play conservative anymore and really push for equal distribution, a 50–50% split across levels in the corporate world.

As an individual and a technology entrepreneur, I am a strong believer in the philosophy of “Charity Begins at Home” hence most of my work towards women empowerment is focused on my company. Together with my management team, I have worked on creating a culture where we not only hire women in key positions, but also groom, mentor, and recognize them so that they feel confident to explore entrepreneurship at some point, in case they wish to explore that path.

Equity is the means of getting closer to the larger goal of ensuring equality and while women need allies in this journey, they too need to take ownership at an individual level. Women need to also forge change!!

Confidence and self-trust is a key quality that I would attribute to success in any industry. Women can be held back for a variety of reasons, including a lack of recognition and trust from colleagues and peers but also by their self-doubt. My most important piece of advice to them would be to shatter the glass ceiling of social norms and mindsets and to flaunt their self-assurance ultimately fostering equity. No one else will believe in them if they do not believe in themselves.

It’s equally important for women to talk about their passion for valuing and supporting differences. Across the professional and personal front, they must reflect on how they can address ongoing challenges versus only talking about the problems pertaining to lack of equity. Utilizing their social media amongst other mediums to encourage and rally friends, family, colleagues, and community to embrace equity would play a vital role in sustaining noise on this matter.

It’s time that we do not just say it but think, be, do, and truly embrace equity.

The author of this article is Swaarm co- founder & CEO Yogeeta Chainani.

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