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It's been years and still, we celebrate International Women's Day but while some believe that it has resulted due to a feminist cause, only a handful of us know that this day is traced back to the labour movement in Germany. It was in 1911 when the first-ever Women's Day was organised by Clara Zetkin, a German Marxist theorist, and an advocate for women rights.
Cut to the present, today, 8 March marks International Women's Day and this year's theme is Choose To Challenge. Well, we all have amazing women around us who have made this world a better place to live in- be it women leaders or entrepreneurs.
B R Ambedkar once said, 'I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.' On this extraordinary day, five women have come forward to share their journeys and experiences which will motivate you to the core to build a gender-neutral society, keep your heads high, and achieve all your dreams fearlessly.
1. Manisha Raisinghani, Co-founder and CTO, LogiNext
Manisha says, '2021 brought in the good news with a woman-led tech company going IPO. This success story was celebrated and ushers in a new age in the post covid world where we are all rooting for more women in leadership roles across the board. Less than 10% of the S&P 500 companies have a woman CEO but that number should grow rapidly in the coming times. And this will happen by changing mindsets at a cultural level by encouraging more young women to pursue their dreams. Technology and the internet is a great leveller because it gives access to a sea of knowledge and anyone can start a business from anywhere! At LogiNext, we have a special push to achieve a 50:50 gender ratio by the end of 2021 and we already have several women in leadership roles across the organisation. LogiNext is probably one of the most diverse high growth start-ups globally and we'd like to encourage more and more companies to take this route.'
2. Lakshmi Mittra, VP and Head, Clover Academy
"This year's theme for International Women's Day - ChooseToChallenge, is a call to action to recognize and celebrate women for their role in shaping a more democratic future, and building a gender-neutral society. Within organizations, women have already cemented their positions as innovators, thinkers and go-getters. Now, the time has come for organizations to make this contribution to the next level by introducing forward-looking policies and initiatives for women to thrive. At the same time, women need to rise above the status quo and embrace challenges. This leads to the creation of amicable work culture that not only facilitates mutual growth but also strengthens an organization's values and reputation, further assisting in attracting and retaining the right kind of talent and forming a diverse workforce,' believes Lakshmi.
3. Surabhi Goel, CEO - Aditya Birla World Academy, Aditya Birla Education Academy & The Aditya Birla Integrated School
For Surabhi, gender equality means truly being equal. 'Neither men or women are superior. It means that we need more men as teachers, it means raising my son to do household chores and respecting a woman who may be more successful than him in the future. I choose to challenge the belief that working women are not good mothers or good daughters. I want to challenge people who look at compassion and empathy in women as their weakness. Because they are actually their strengths. At the Aditya Birla Education Trust, we have several women in the leadership team. We hope that we can inspire other women that they too can lead,' she said.
4. Jyotsna Uttamchandani, Executive Director, Syska Group
During the pandemic, the world witnessed that countries that had women in leadership positions were in much better shape than the rest, believes Jyotsna. 'Women have time and again proven that they are focused on continuously finding solutions for challenging situations. The world wants to change and this could definitely be a century where equality can be established in every field. A big example that showcased a country breaking the etch was when Kamala Harris became the first woman Vice President of the United States. It is key that in this post-pandemic world, we not only identify but accept the problems of patriarchy. We need a more humane and rational approach. Most importantly women always believe in working in a sort of comradeship. Be it healthcare, hospitality, politicians, innovators, women have been front liners. It is time we must discard the gender stereotypes, empower and let women take the lead towards this unrivalled gridlock. As Michelle Obama says, "there is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish." Wishing All Women a Happy Women's Day. May you all continue to be strong, and keep your heels and head high!'
5. Mili Panicker, Senior Manager - HR, WebEngage
"As HR leaders, we are constantly striving to make the organisation a great place to work for our employees across the globe. Focusing on diversity, inclusion and respecting individuals as a whole at every level is very important and needs to be adapted by every enterprise. That said, companies also need to curate and drive HR initiatives that empower women and assure them a safe place to work, while balancing their personal life. Today, with Women's Day around the corner, like corporate organisations we all need to open up new opportunities and avenues for women to grow and succeed. As HR teams, we need to understand the challenges women employees face at work and believe that empathy and support are two essential things to facilitate the growth of women in the workforce."
Happy International Women's Day To Everyone!