Exactly a year ago, on March 8th 2018, we shared something online. It was a short change memo that we thought was much needed at the point where we questioned if we needed a Women’s day or a Men’s day at all and if this was just the next marketing gimmick much like Valentine’s day. We thankfully, got a few interesting reactions like clients calling us to commit that next year, they won’t celebrate just another women’s day at work. This year, we actually decided to hold back. Why, because over the last 24 hours, my feed [and am sure your’s too] has been filled with wishes saluting women for all they are and reminding us of women who have broken societal shackles and how they inspire companies and their people to do better each day but also reminding us to buy more roses, take them to dinner, offer them diamonds and even intimate products because they ‘need to be told [today more than ever] that they are special’. To quote a bit from what we first wrote:
Something interesting happens across workplaces throughout the world. On 8th March, International Women’s Day, offices, workplaces including multinational companies take part in this global celebration by organizing events like seminars, conferences, luncheons. Then, comes March 9th & wishes fade away, unused thank you cards get staked away, and life as we know it goes back to expecting more or less the same things we did on 7th March. People don’t change, our sub-conscious and conscious biases don’t go away!
Employer branding initiatives lead to stories of women being released across the company while evolved brands like Nike, released their next ad meant to inspire, and of course, meant to build brand efficacy so that eventually, the marketing pays off and you choose them over their closest competitor. Interestingly, just yesterday the US Soccer team filed a gender discrimination law-suit over pay equality and working conditions. While Turkish police fired tear gas at thousands of people who gathered in central Istanbul for a march to celebrate International Women’s Day, we also had Salman Khan break the Internet by celebrating with his loved ones and Captain Marvel & Badla, hit theaters across the world.
So what about 9th March? The day after Women’s Day!
According to research, released online in the Economic Times, as early as April 2018, close to 42% of working women say that they face managerial bias.
This bias is known to be present at senior levels and affects the growth of women in the workplace. The research also reported that there are no more than 5 per cent women in senior management roles across corporate India.
The Guardian reported that approximately 50,000 women / year lose their jobs as a result of having a child and a lot of women return to work only to realize that they might no longer be able to progress in their roles. From sexual harassment to the gender pay gap to ‘setting the room temperature’ to suit men over women to favoritism, not much has really changed across company cultures. There are efforts no doubt, but the changes needed are ones at a policy level which, need to be guided by a team meant to do the right thing! There are many myths about diversity and inclusion and hence, more so, there is a need for a more uniform policy that dictates and builds uniform standards for everyone at work. Not just one gender. Personally, this one post by Rega Jha nails it. #EnoughSaid
All this talk. What did we do?
The answer is ‘nothing and everything’. While we had questions from a few colleagues on why ‘we are not celebrating Women’s day at work’ we decided to focus on our work. With a gender ratio of 70:30 favoring women, with equal pay and non-graded benefits, with an equal # of empowered men and women managers across our companies, we sat together and planned for the next financial year. We collaborated, cracked briefs, delivered on our promises and kicked-ass! Because we’d like to acknowledge our teams. Not on one specific day, but everyday for backing us all the way. To @RegaJha: The answer is a resounding yes to all your questions and if we remain true to our values, we will hopefully stay that way.
Women’s day is over. Sabyasachi is getting trolled. Offers continue to extend over the weekend in a desperate attempt to build sales. So, what are you up to?