Gender diversity in workplace today is one of the biggest topics of discussion the world over. Equal pay and equal opportunity for both genders is key for any organisation’s growth. The lesser the discrimination, the better is the overall performance. Therefore, I strongly advocate for women’s professional rights in the corporate world.
For centuries, culturally, the society has always put the man on a pedestal. Everything revolves around his growth and development. Starting from the smallest unit of a society, i.e. a family, the male is given more importance – predominantly as the head of a family; the women mostly have remained subjugated and controlled. Even in the business world, you will see that most executive positions and the coveted corner offices are held by men, women rarely even come close to these levels of hierarchy. The entire system is designed to boost a man’s role over a woman’s irrespective of talent, performance or contribution. As the saying goes, ‘behind every successful there is a woman’; the reverse can rarely be true.
As I’m a firm believer of women’s rights in the workplace, I have tried to study this subject closely. One of the most important factor that could help women succeed in a work place is a strong support system – professional and personal. For this both men and women play a strong role. Men need to understand and initiate systems that support the growth of women at work and also be supportive in domestic matters. But the biggest impact comes when women help other women in the workplace. Currently that doesn’t happen so much and the shift needs to happen in a big way. This can be achieved if women start being more collaborative, helpful and create platforms that address various issues faced by women at work. Women holding influential and senior positions need to mentor younger women and help them with goal setting and strategising their career growth path. Women need to be more vocal about their rights and any form of abuse, harassment or ill treatment that a female colleague might have gone through. This sense of coming together and cooperation is what will drive women to lead the way. At Diamond Bank, we have global best practices and women head key business areas. However, these women leaders should also work towards mentoring and guiding other women to reach their potential.
One such initiative I learnt about is ‘LeanIn Together’ founded by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. She has always been a strong advocate of women at work and through this movement she helps other women find their way through the corporate jungle. The initiative also has ‘LeanIn Circles’ across the world where women meet, mentor and discuss various issues and how best to find solutions. Lagos too has a LeanIn Circle which is gradually gathering momentum.