In 1829, the practice of Sati – burning of a widow immediately after her husband’s death, was banned in India by the Bengali Sati Act. Since then, child marriage has been banned. Widow remarriage is no longer a taboo. Our constitution gave women the right to vote without us having to fight for it. More recently, the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act of 2013 seeks to protect women from harassment and abuse at work. The recent (2017) amendment to the Maternity Benefits Act ( 1961) allows women 26 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, work from home options and makes it mandatory for organizations with more than 50 employees to ensure a creche facility for child care. Legally, women have equal rights as men and access to all opportunities.
In reality, the picture is disturbing. Our child sex ratio is among the lowest in the world. According to a recent government survey- it is 898 girls to 1000 boys, showing a significant preference for the boy child. The National Crime Research Bureau shows an increase in crimes committed against women. No one can forget the horrific Nirbhaya incident and other cases of brutal rape.
The workforce participation of women in India is 25%, much lower than the global average of 48%, as per ILO research. Only 15% of board positions of companies in India are help by women and as per Prime Database, out of 1814 companies listed on the NSE, only 67 or 3% have women CEOS. The last election saw a record number of 78 women MPs take on political leadership but this is still only 11% of total seats, lower than the global average. Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan have a higher percentage of women in power than India.
Something is not right. The cultural mindsets have not evolved in line with legal change.
We started GLOW- Growing Leadership of Women, 2 years ago with a mission to support women to become leaders and reduce this gender imbalance and inequity. GLOW works with women in Corporates and entrepreneurs as well as young girls from low income families.
Our experience of over 25 years in the workplace gave us an inside view to the barriers and biases women face at the workplace.
This is what we know-
Women don’t need new skills or separate inputs from men.
They do need to enhance their self- confidence and examine their own mindsets in a safe nurturing space.
Women don’t need charity or special concessions.
They do need supportive and enabling work environments.
Women don’t need to take power from men.
They do need to realize and use their personal power.
GLOW enables women through personal growth programs, coaching, mentoring and learning content which work on mindsets and skillsets. We also offer interventions for men and mixed gender groups on unconscious bias, gender sensitization and building inclusive environments. We know that a holistic approach towards development helps women to nourish themselves spiritually, physically, intellectually, emotionally and relationally.
So far, we have impacted round 1000 women through our various interventions. We aim to bring our work to more women and men across the country to empower and enable not just women but contribute towards a more just, equitable and compassionate society.
Article By: Ms.Nirupama Subramanian Co-Founder Glowing Leadership Opportunity Of Women (GLOW)