There is no doubt that women face a lot of sexism in pretty much any industry. Here, we spoke to two ladies who have overcome the problem to carve a path of their own in their respective niches.
Aarti Saxena is the Founder and Creative Director at Aartistry and an Architect from IIT Roorkee. She has worked with top Bollywood production houses like YRF, Excel Entertainment and Madras Talkies, to name a few. She has a few guidelines that she believes can help women shine in their chosen fields.
Know who you are
Find your calling and stick to it, no matter what field you decide to be in. More than the decision to be someone, you will need belief in yourself to stay and persevere. There are times when you have to stand up for yourself and fight for what is rightfully yours.
It pays to have a female mentor
“I have learned the most important production designing lessons from my guru and one of Bollywood’s most senior production designers, Sharmishta Roy. I used to see her conviction for her plans and her drive to make it happen, even after all the odds, and deliver the finest of results,” says Aarti. The importance of a mentor cannot be stressed enough, especially if you are a woman. The obstacles that you face are multi-fold, and a lady mentor will be able to relate to issues faced at the workplace better.
From getting your ideas across to making sure that your team is paid well, negotiating a solution that is amicable to both the parties is an important trait to have, and this is where being assertive will help you. Whatever field you are in, know the ins and outs of the industry, and make sure you have knowledge that makes you indispensable.
Network and learn to communicate smartly
Do not shy away from networking, because most of your success depends on connecting with people. Do not miss out on knowing the grapevine of the latest deal that your company signed by refusing to be at an all-male party because you aren’t comfortable. As long as the banter is strictly professional, there is no reason for you to excuse yourself.
Do not succumb to giving excuses
Remember that you are equal to a man, and there is no reason for you to get treated in any other way. Never let go of serious issues like sexual harassment. Sexist rules ruin your peace of mind; make sure such instances do not go unreported.
The other female entrepreneur we spoke to is Aparna Pathak, a life coach and Yoga practitioner who is the founder of Celebrating Life.
“I think self-confidence and a go-getter attitude helped me. Though I never saw a male-dominated society coming in my way, to be honest, I think I tuned out any sort of negativity that came my way.” Aparna started her career in retail banking, where she was the only woman in the whole department. For someone who never saw that as an obstacle, it was only a matter of time before she was awarded. Her organisation even instituted a girls’ team after being inspired from her work.
Pathak has been in the fitness and wellness industry as an entrepreneur for the past 10 years, and attributes her success to dedication, persistence, and the dream to achieve what one wants. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. She believes that attitude towards self and the world matters the most.
“I started in the fitness space when my daughter was a year old. As someone with a lot of dreams, it was impossible to stay at home. So I started preparing courses related to fitness. Now I am well-known for my knowledge on Yoga, Pilates, and Nutrition in the industry. I have been conducting events and workshops for people between the age of 2-75, and I don’t think this would have been possible without the support of my husband, daughter, and my family.”
We are seeing more and more women coming up in all walks of life, which is a welcome sign. India ranks at a pathetic 87 in the gender gap index. Be the best version of you, and there can be no one who stops you. Many women don’t see brilliant success because of the unfair treatment they receive, which can only change through changing mindsets and education for all. More power to all you women!
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