Glass Ceiling in India-Can we break it?

Glass ceiling, where is it? Can we see it? “No”. Can we break it? “Yes”. What is this? It is that invisible, subtle & transparent barrier beyond which minorities, in particular women in middle level management get stuck & never rise in their career; regardless of their qualification & efficiency.

According to the common Indian mindset, women’s place is at home. Whenever a woman goes out of the house to make both ends meet, leaving her conventional entity, a role clash takes place in the society. Probably such way of thinking has hindered women’s progress. Research says sex role stereotyping acts as a major hurdle in advancement of women’s development in management levels. They are considered to be soft-hearted, emotional, they lack aggressiveness, competitiveness & they can’t take much risk, they can’t take much pressure; whereas a man is considered to be goal-oriented, he can do all types of work. In childhood, a boy child is always given car-toy, aero plane, whereas a girl child is given nice doll, toy utensils. This orthodox attitude is visible at an early age when a woman is making her career choices. Then after she reaches some certain age she has to tie her marriage-knot, must. She can’t study for long. Since women are not the sole bread earner of the family, they do not need to rise to that level, let them get barred from climbing the upper stairs. Why such bias?

Can’t we women break this artificial ceiling? Can’t we defy it? Some prolific women personalities have done it. They showed it. Ms. Roopa Kudva, MD and CEO of India’s largest credit rating agency CRISIL, Ms. Chanda Kochhar, MD CEO of ICICI Bank; Ms.Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, MD CEO of Biocon; Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, MD CEO of HSBC- they are among the select group of women who have defied the glass ceiling. They have shown women can do lead. They have set their focus with the right attitude, with their outside-in perspective. I hope every woman possesses some potential, if it is used in right way we all women can touch the sky. Our potential should be identified, it should be given recognition.

A holistic change will come hand in hand with the changes in individual perspective, societal perspective and organizational perspective. Individual mindsets have to be changed to bring women up on the corporate ladder. Family supports should be there to contribute career aspirations of women. Organizations should encourage female role models to participate in outreach programs at high schools, colleges, or community events and thus convey that gender equality is important to them and reach out to prospective employees. The organizations should set up mentoring and coaching programs. If everyone can cooperate then I hope all women will be able to reach that optimum level. Let us set that goal.

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