The 3rd edition of Future Woman Leader Summit 2018 brought together renowned leaders from diverse backgrounds. It was the platform reverberating with ideas and positive insights on empowering women. As the number of women at higher designations continue to recede in the corporate world, these leaders came together to highlight the impending need of having more women leaders and shared insights on the many ways to achieve this objective.
Among the many insightful sessions, a panel discussion on the topic ‘Women in Board, Business and Boss Chair’ reflected upon various factors including some self-limiting thoughts that serve as an obstacle for deserving women to reach the top-level positions in organisations.
The thought-provoking discussions took place among renowned personalities such as Aparna Sharma – Former Country Head, Human Resources, Lafarge India; Tanya Chaitanya, Editor & Chief Community Officer, Femina; Sivakumar Palaniappan, Founder & CEO, Mastering Mind Academy; Priti Singh VP, HR, South Asia, Mastercard; Sameera Fatima, Head of Solutions Cognitive, ANZ, TCS. The session was moderated by Subroto mukherjee, Head Administration & FM Cipla Ltd.
Speaking about the one limiting factor that restricts the higher percentage of women to break the glass ceiling Aparna Sharma said “Seeking approval is the biggest limiting factor! Once we have taken a decision to do something, our need for approval is so high that we keep asking people whether this is right or not. I believe if we have decided to do something which is not going to harm anyone in anyway, we shouldn’t seek approval. When we stop having that self-doubt, nobody can stop us from being successful in any area of our lives.”
When the conversation veered towards the difference a women leader can make to an organization, Tanya Chaitanya, Editor & Chief Community Officer, Femina shared an inspiring story. She spoke about a social activist named Chetna Gala Sinha, who brought about a change in the lives of about 11k women in her village.
Taking a note from how Chetna impacted these lives by listening to the difficulties faced by women in her village, Tanya further mentioned, “As a women leader whether you are in an organization or anywhere else, an important quality that we bring to the table is that we listen. As women leaders it is important for us to work with empathy and empower other women but not break their spirit.”
As a step in this direction, she further shared some ideas such as providing flexible timings to a woman coming back from maternity leave, giving the option of a package involving fast-track courses post their return, among others.
The panel reiterated the importance of women uplifting other women. In addition to this, Sameera Fatima, Head of Solutions Cognitive, ANZ, TCS stated that even men who share household responsibilities should be encouraged and highlighted at the workplace by women leaders.