Originally posted in MediaNews4U.com on March 9, 2020 by Felicia Menezes

 

On the occasion of Women’s Day, Medianews4u reached out to some successful women leaders from the world of advertising, broadcast, digital, brands and the universe; to understand how they overcame stereotypes at workplace.

Kranti Gada, COO Shemaroo Entertainment Limited

I have always believed that women are inherent disrupters and have a natural advantage over their male counterparts in a lot of situations, their empathetic nature and emotional intelligence helps them fare well when compared to the other gender. I’ve witnessed women leaders being more sensitive towards their surroundings and adapt as per the changing demands of the environment and bring success to the table with ease.

Though we can’t deny the stereotypes in the industry, but we also need to acknowledge the narrowing gap that has been possible by women standing for their rights and getting work done as efficiently as any other person in question. This women’s day let’s raise a toast to all those women who have been delivering outstanding work and inspiring others along the way. Because in the end it’s not the hardships that matter but the milestones you ticked off.

Sakshi Somani, Founder, Creative Garage

“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”

I always believe in this quote and follow my own rule book. Knowledge is your most powerful weapon – so, never stop learning, reading or watching interesting content. The more you learn, the more you grow!

Wear the shoes of confidence and keep reminding yourself that this is now a women are now ruling all industries, one by one.

Always speak your mind and be heard.

Nirupama Subramanian, co-founder at Glowing Leadership Opportunity of Women (GLOW)

Stereotypes and biases are difficult to change since they are deeply ingrained. Women are subject to stereotyping when they have seen as weak, soft, emotional, sensitive and therefore incapable of leadership roles.

Before overcoming stereotypes, people need to be aware that they do have prejudices and that these are subjective opinions, not facts. This can be done through sensitization workshops.

Then, find role models and examples who disprove the stereotypes eg women boxers, soldiers and wrestlers disprove the weak women bias.

We need to replace judgment with curiosity, arrogance with humility and disconnection with empathy. Being open to new thoughts, ideas and perspectives is critical to overcoming stereotypes.

Ghazal Alagh, Co-founder of Mamaearth

Being a woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry is not easy. In India, women have been conditioned as homemakers and lack the basic financial and emotional support from their own family members. But as long as you trust your idea and believe in yourself, no one can stop you from achieving from an entrepreneurial dream. Find the right support system and get inspired by all the strong, independent women around you!

Nikky Gupta, Co-founder and Director Teamwork Communications Group

The PR industry is dominated by a strong and formidable female workforce, with the rank in file publicists growing by the day. Not only do they have to listen and empathize with their clients, they also have to walk the line between the persistent and unpleasant. It is not an easy job, and because of our historical, social and psychological conditioning, women are better suited for it. They have the skills that make for strong leaders and efficient managers.

However, the reality is that only 30 percent of PR agencies are actually run by women, and this needs to change. For starters, PR agencies should try to add more women to the boardroom as there is a correlation between more women in the boardroom and higher return on sales, improved stock growth and lower insolvency risk. They should also offer employee benefits, like telecommuting and flexible work schedules to increase female participation. Most importantly, women must make it a point to be their own advocates and not shy away from sharing their successes with their colleagues and superiors.

Akshita Gupta, Co-Founder and CMO of ABL Workspaces

In India, society expects women to do more supportive and nurturing roles such as teaching and nursing. However, this decades-long stereotype is now slowly ending with women breaking glasses with their skills and passion in almost every field. Specifically, in real-estate, men are considered to be better suited because of their masculine built and physical strength.

When I co-founded ABLWorkspaces, I was told that I am stepping into a male-dominated industry, where I may not be taken seriously by my colleagues and partners. However, I never lost sight of my ambition and overcame every challenge that came my way with dedication and determination. I truly believe, if a woman decides on something, there is nothing that can stop her from achieving it.

Annu Talreja, Co-Founder and CEO, Oxfordcaps

There are <0.2% female-founder only funded companies in India today and we are extremely proud to be one. I believe that while it is challenging, it also is a tremendous opportunity to inspire and break barriers, as well as do things differently. It’s a work of art to see successful women today flawlessly juggling between their roles at home and work. Women are smart to reprioritize and make shifts focus where and when it needs. Apart from being good time managers, women have always been better multitaskers in all fields.

My only advice would be to allow women-folk to flourish both as professionals and entrepreneurs. Similar to ‘Educate a woman and you educate a generation, allow one woman to be an entrepreneur and you allow an entire nation to flourish.

Dr Malini Saba, Founder & Chairman, Saba Group Holdings &Saba Family Foundations

Whether it’s in boardrooms or at home, women are grossly underrepresented and have to prove their worth every day. From “girls suck at technology”, or “white is beautiful”, there’s no shortage of the common stereotypes women of all creeds face daily. How one balances work is very important and I believe ‘WOMEN CAN OWN IT ALL’.

We encourage women and girls to enter the traditionally male-dominated field of commodities, which is why I focus on hiring mainly women in my companies. Commodities is and has been a predominately male-dominated sector and I want to create and foster a culture for women in this space.

We are trying to change mind-sets and bring people&#39;s attention towards the obstacles that plague women: domestic violence and other gender-based violence, bullying, sexual harassment at the workplace and rape through vocational training & awareness-raising campaigns. We must also work to change the laws so they criminalize such activities. A high-rate of convictions should change the perception of what masculinity means; what is permissible and what is not.

I believe to change mind-sets, media has to change because it plays a major role in the way they portray women in movies, shows and even in interviews.

Mitali Srivastava Hough, Founder of Equal Agency

I have created a grid around brand philosophy for my own reference, which I use in my workshops to help clients break the stereotypes of the industry and understand the need to create a distinct brand voice that is true to their own business and brand’s spirit. If you are not genuine with your voice, then you will be found out sooner or later. There are only a few themes that many brands seems to endorse these days.

Therefore it’s not a surprise that many agencies and brands are not able to break the clutter or follow the stereotypes in the category. My observation is that brands are often misled by jargon instead of keeping their voices simple and effective; they need to create their own unique voice and philosophy if they really want to be heard. They also need to walk their talk. Our world is a social planet now, and if a brand is not genuine and not investing in making audiences believe in their voice through their actions and intent then they will never have followers in the long term. The world is changing fast. Even children have a voice that is making the world notice and endorse them. Brands and agencies need to quickly realize that this new world needs a fresh way of thinking, marketing and connecting with the future audience.

Vishakha Chawla, Vishakha Chawla Interiors:

Stereotypes of Interior design would be this huge conception about women not able to manage manpower. It’s wrong I prove this wrong every single day. I take control of my site, it’s me who makes sure everything is under control. Another stereotype which I feel is when you get male clients, there are so many questions about time management, going over budget, going over the board and enjoying shopping spree with their money. I have proved this wrong time and again. So I love my work, and I am an educated women who know what she is doing. So these would be two strong stereotypes which I face and have faced in the industry as an Interior Designer.

Stereotypes of Interior design would be this huge conception about women not able to manage manpower. It’s wrong I prove this wrong every single day. I take control of my site, it’s me who makes sure everything is under control. Another stereotype which I feel is when you get male clients, there are so many questions about time management, going over budget, going over the board and enjoying shopping spree with their money. I have proved this wrong time and again. So I love my work, and I am an educated women who know what she is doing. So these would be two strong stereotypes which I face and have faced in the industry as an Interior Designer.