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October 31, 2012

Women in Global Business

Today’s woman has to be an excellent multi tasker and she has no alternative! She plays different roles of a daughter, sister, wife, mother, daughter in law, friend, relative and professional and perhaps more – some simultaneously. She has to be a powerhouse of energy and switch between each of these responsibilities at ease.


The Evolving Scenario


In India, there was a time when men were expected to be the bread earners while women stayed at home. She was expected to be involved in household activities, look after the members of the family, cook, etc. In fact, women were often not educated as much as men and married off at early ages. A working woman was almost un-thought of.


With increasing social awareness and empowerment of females, their access to higher education has improved. The social structure has also undergone changes. Families have become nuclear instead of big joint families. Women have stepped out of their cocoons into the working world with confidence – to support their families as well as make a mark for themselves.


The profile of workforce at various companies is experiencing a paradigm shift worldwide as more and more women are being employed in various capacities in different professions. Even in countries where women are required to be beyond a veil, ladies are gradually stepping out of their residential boundaries.


Top women in global business


Women have not only become part of working environments, but have proved themselves by securing top positions too. The ratio of women and men in important roles is rising steadily worldwide. In 2011-12, about 20 American companies had a woman at their helm. The presence of females in Boards of Directors of various companies has crossed 16% in USA and 30% in Norway.


Women such as Gini Rometty, the first CEO of IBM, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, etc have shot to fame heralding the arrival of women in the global business scenario. Women have proved themselves as capable entrepreneurs as well. Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and many charismatic ladies across have become common names in the media and our households for their visions for the society and contributions.


Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank and Indra Nooyi of Pepsi Co. Ltd. are examples of Indian women who have made it to the top in important institutions and companies. In fact, the former president of our country was a lady – Mrs. Pratibha Patil. Mrs. Indira and Sonia Gandhi are two eminent personalities in Indian political scenario who have continued to influence the masses strongly.


Is the environment conducive for women?


Thankfully, the answer is usually yes. Abroad, women are more respected and treated as equals. Most companies form teams that have a balanced composition of men and women. The work culture is usually devoid of any gender bias and encourages women to participate in decision making processes. Issues such as fewer promotions, lower salaries etc for women in comparison to male counterparts are gradually on the decline.


In India, the scenario may not be as good, but is definitely positive. Women are deemed as sincere workers, and sometimes are preferred for particular roles. Laws have also been framed to protect women against any harassment, physical or mental.


The human resource (HR) policies of companies are framed to make the work atmosphere suitable for women – facilities such as a defined paid leave during pregnancy, minimum instances of out station travel for long durations in case of married women, creche facilities for children, drop off at home for women who are required to work till late at office, etc have become common practices. Some employers have also adopted flexible working hours and options to work from home. Also, CCTV camera footage proves useful to increase the safety inside the office premises.


We can still hear of some unpleasant instances – but a woman should not be deterred by them. Such uncomfortable situations may arise anytime, but she must keep her cool and take suitable action. She should also be aware of the legal support she may receive if need be. In no case should she tolerate any kind of misbehavior from a colleague or even her seniors at work.


All employees of an organization, including men, should unite against any unjust treatment towards a lady.


Balancing Work and Home


This is the toughest challenge faced by working women. They are required to take care of their family and household along with the responsibilities at work. The good news is that with evolving social outlook, families of working women are also becoming supportive by chipping in wherever possible. Also, the modern social structure is now nuclear – so a couple, both of whom may be working, have to divide household chores between themselves, look after their children and aging parents, etc.


Modern gadgets such as microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, mixer grinders, etc have made housework a wee bit easier to suit the present lifestyles of today’s working professionals.


A lady may also opt for a part time job that allows her to optimize her day between work related and household responsibilities. Working from home is also a good option.


At the same time, a lady must not ignore her own health and well being. She must plan her day to effectively use her time. She must consume a balanced diet to be fit to respond to the challenges that she has to face throughout the day. While she carries out her professional and social commitments, she must wrench some time out for nurturing her own hobbies such as painting. Adequate rest is a must; and the onus lies on her family to help her as much as they can.


Ratio of women: men at work


Increasing participation of women in the workforce of a country can be seen worldwide in almost all professions. The emergence of women at the top is also an indication of the empowerment of the fairer sex.


Different professions have different demands – but soon women would be seen in commanding positions in all businesses globally.

Tags : Working Woman, Women entrepreneurs, Indian women entrepreneurs, women achievers, work home balance, multiple roles, Women and business, work life balance

About Anupama

I am an Architect and a blogger. I have been blogging for about six years now; and have got into professional content writing for the last two years.