Monthly Archives: March 2021

How One small step to support led to a giant leap in Women Empowerment?

Can small symbolic steps actually make a difference to #empowerwomen? A recent incident tells me it’s possible. We only need to have the intellect to think out of the box and the heart to follow through on it.

A powerful lesson in #womenempowerment through a small yet powerful step taken by the Panchayat in Chhattisgarh’s Durg District. Something not seen even in the most progressive metro’s societies.

All 850 houses in the Patora district now have a name plate with the head woman’s name of their family. This was done to mark the occasion of #InternationalWomen’s Day. The village Panchayat resolved that women will be empowered when they are given acknowledgement for all the work they do.

The Panchayat representatives felt, women play the role of the real head of the hose, yet it is the male head’s name mentioned on the nameplate. The men of the village were also very happy with the decision. They said men and women run the family together and most household decisions are taken by women. Women should also be given #respect as head of the household and this is a strong step to strengthen them.

Which leads me to the all-important #question…what are the small yet powerful steps we can take to #acknowledge the contribution of women & help them reach their #potential?

LEADERSHIP 101 with the New Zealand Prime Minister

New Zealand’s Prime Minister May Be the Most Effective Leader on the Planet. 39 year old Jacinda Ardern’s leadership style, focused on empathy, isn’t just resonating with her people; it’s putting the country on track for success against Covid-19.

Helen Clark, New Zealand’s former prime minister says: New Zealanders might think “Well, I don’t quite understand why [the government] did that, but I know she’s got our back. There’s a high level of trust and confidence in her because of that empathy.”

One of Ardern’s innovations has been Facebook live chats that are informal, informative. During a session just as New Zealand prepared to go on lockdown, she appeared in a well-worn sweatshirt at her home (she had just put her toddler daughter to bed, she explained) to offer guidance “as we all prepare to hunker down.”

She sympathized with how alarming it must have been to hear the “loud honk” that preceded the emergency alert messages all New Zealanders had just received informing them that life as they knew it was temporarily over.

She justified severe policies with practical examples: She said, she knows as a parent it’s really hard to avoid playgrounds, but the virus can live on surfaces for 72 hours.

Leadership lessons from a successful woman leader: empathy and communication that connects.

Case Studies

Do we really pay attention to #educatingeducators? When I was in school and college, I often wished that someone would educate our educators. I regularly thought about how the same lecture/topic could be made more interesting. That’s part of the reason I gravitated towards the learning and development domain.

I’m glad to see there’s serious thought going into this area now. On #InternationalWomen’sDay, we ran a webinar series for 1500 Women educators from a large Education Technology company. The theme was “Move Up”: helping women break their self-imposed constraints and boundaries, brand themselves more effectively and stand up to be counted.

One of our favorite themes at Shradha HRD: #Womensupportingwomen!!!!!

The feedback for the session came through a rather interesting route. A colleague has a daughter that takes classes with the same company. She logged into her regular session 10 min late and apologized for the delay. Our colleague asked, “You were attending the Move Up program?”. She explained she knew about the program because her company,#ShradhaHRD was conducting the webinar. The educator said, “Maam I just could not leave the session, it was so good” !!!

Comments like this lend more meaning to our work.

Because You deserve it?

Why do 85% Indian Women miss out on raises, promotions? Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook said that women are unlikely to get to CXO level positions. The reason she gave, took my breath away; ITS BECAUSE THEY DON’T ASK FOR IT!!!

Seryl spoke of an interesting incident while she was at college that explained this phenomenon. Sheryl, her friend Carry (research scholar) and her brother (sportsman) took a class on European Intellectual History. The girls read all the books and attended most lectures, while her brother hardly attended any classes and read 1 book. 3 days before the exam he walked upto the 2 ladies and asked for help.

Walking out of the exam, Sheryl and Carry were stressed about the finer points they had left out in the exam and her brother said..”I got top grade”; this is without knowing about the paper !!!!

Research shows that Women systematically underestimate their abilities.

Even in the US, 57% men will negotiate salaries on their first job and only 7% women. This explains to a large extent why women don’t get the salary hikes, the promotions and the designations they deserve.

To all the beautiful talented women I know….Choose your priorities based on your values. All women don’t need to aspire for the top job…but don’t sell yourself short.

Why are Women managers and leaders told to be more like Men?

Taiwan, Iceland, New Zealand, Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark currently have 2 things in common: a woman Head of State & an outstanding response to the pandemic.

1. Angela Merkel-Germany: stood up early & told her countrymen that this was a serious bug that would infect up to 70% of the population.

2. Tsai Ing-wen-Taiwan. In Jan 2020 she introduced 124 measures to block the spread without having to resort to lockdowns

3. Jacinda Ardern-New Zealand: imposed self-isolation on people entering New Zealand, when there were just 6 cases in the whole country&banned foreigners from entering soon after

4. KatrínJakobsdóttir-Iceland: offered free corona virus testing and instituted a thorough tracking system that means they haven’t had to lock down or shut schools.

5. Sanna Marin-Finland: world’s youngest head of state elected. She used social media influencers as key agents in battling the coronavirus crisis.

6. Erna Solberg-Norway: used television to talk directly to children. She held a dedicated press conference & responded to kids’ questions, taking time to explain why it was OK to feel scared.

Women are told to behave more like their male counterparts to be effective leaders. I feel by being authentic & playing to their strength, these women leaders have come out ahead and been trailblazers.

A powerful lesson for us !!!

Are you thinking clearly? Or are you a victim of the SCARCITY SYNDROME

Why does the last biscuit in the jar make your mouth water? While helping a friend find a house, I witnessed an interesting technique to “close the sale”. On 3 different occasions when my friend showed interest in a house, the real estate agent called her within 2 days & said, “someone else put an offer for the house. If we don’t make an offer now, we might lose it”.

What intrigued me was my friend’s reaction. Each time the real estate agent called, her interest in the aforementioned property went up a couple notches. As an objective bystander, I remained unaffected after the 1st call (I must admit, I was taken in the 1st time too) but it worked on my friend (who was more involved)

All of us fall for the “scarcity syndrome” at some point. When we are deprived of an option, we suddenly deem it more attractive.

1. Children fight over trivial objects viz marbles when they are in short supply

2. At a crowded sale, we buy things that we wouldn’t normally buy because it’s the last set

3. Ask game enthusiasts how much more valuable PS-5 has become because its in short supply

A typical response to scarcity is a lapse in clear thinking!!

The solution:

Assess products &services, only on their price&benefits. Not on if they are fast disappearing

When did you fall for the scarcity syndrome?

Is GRIEVING self Indulgent?

Do you think it is important to grieve? I felt grieving kept us chained to the past& could even be self-indulgent at times. A recent conversation gave me a different perspective. A friend lost someone very dear, completely unexpectedly. She was grappling with the emotions of loss, pain, anger & sadness.

Those around her were encouraging her to get back on her feet, telling her she needed to focus on others around her &she must spring back to her normal self.

And she said, “I know my duties, my responsibilities,but the others don’t know what I have lost. I cannot go back to life as though nothing has happened. I need to come to terms with this.”

I view myself as a pragmatic person. My mantra for dealing with pain is to forget the past & focus on the task at hand.

Somewhere during the conversation, a realization dawned; while trying to comfort those closest to us, we tell them to forget what’s happened, focus on the present&move on. The advice is well intentioned but may not be the best way to deal with this situation.

Grieving is part of the healing process. The mind needs to process what’s happened, work through it & then it will automatically move on.

Listening to someone, helping them talk through their feelings, just being there, might be a more effective way to help heal.