Coaching and mentorship are key to empower women: Ankiti Bose of Zilingo

In spite of conversations around gender diversity in the workplace, women still find it difficult to negotiate in their careers, and Zilingo’s Ankiti Bose feels that the problem is rooted in biased internalised factors and a lack of proper mentorship for women.

Coaching and mentorship are key to empower women: Ankiti Bose of Zilingo

Thursday March 31, 2022,

3 min Read

Despite several discussions around the importance of gender diversity in the workplace, the gender gap is still existent, albeit subconsciously, due to deeply ingrained societal gender roles. And one of these internalised factors is that “women don’t negotiate” in their careers.

To discuss the trends around gender bias, YourStory’s Associate Editor Sindhu Kashyap caught up with Zilingo CEO and co-founder Ankiti Bose in a fireside chat to explore the topic ‘Why is negotiation important for women?’ where they spoke about coaching women to negotiate better, how men can help bring change in the ecosystem, and more.

Break the bias with negotiations

In recent times, several conversations have sparked the need to break the gender bias across industries, and Ankiti said it is important to negotiate in careers. However, data suggests that women usually negotiate lesser than men.

“We’ve grown up with many cultural and internalised factors that we have to be grateful for what we are given, and we short-change ourselves in the process. It's important to change that mindset, especially as you climb the corporate ladder. You could be doing a huge disservice to yourself by not negotiating the most optimal solution,” she said.

She also noted that good negotiators know what to give up, when to give up, what to take, and when not to compromise. Speaking from her experience, the Zilingo founder said that it takes a lot to be courageous and trust one’s instincts in such situations. She also added that this trait is built over time and negotiations have to be done a few times to understand how much can be retained or given up in any situation.

Importance of proper mentorship

Noting the gap between the negotiation styles adopted by men and women, Ankiti wondered if people were being coached the right way. “When we coach women, we tell them that they're not just negotiating for themselves, but also for their team and business, in case of a business contract situation. If it's for themselves, making the best decisions leads to better outcomes for everybody who depends on them,” said Ankiti.

Top male leaders from every industry, shared Ankiti, have started to participate in conversations around creating diverse workspaces that are safe and friendly for women.

“But the question is, who is teaching men about the best ways to coach women, right? So sometimes it's up to the men holding positions of power to understand how to coach and mentor women slightly differently from men,” she said.

On a final note, Ankiti said that once women become leaders, they are already at a place where they know how to negotiate better, how to find external bias, how to fight internalised misogyny, and such. She said the best thing anyone can do here is to provide coaching and mentorship to other women who need it, irrespective of age and experience.

“We need to provide that coaching and become role models to others because it was harder for our previous generation since they had fewer role models. Hopefully, there will be better role models for the next generation. It will become successively easier, so we have to be patient and pass it forward,” Ankiti concluded.