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I welcome your maiden post in the HR Community. You have started a nice topic for discussion also. You have stated that you heard some interesting points in the workshop. Can you present them to the members of the community so that it will trigger members thoughts and that they can also pour out their ideas?
Wishing you a very active participation in this forum.
26th April 2011 From India, Madras
26th April 2011 From India, Bangalore
26th April 2011 From India, Madras
Indeed you have touched a very interesting topic.
Well, in the mean time i came across a very interesting article in today's Times Of India...it says that there are two major enemies that today's women face.
Well the first is of course 'Glass ceiling' which is prevalent in the corporate world for quite some time..
For those new to this concept..the meaning of glass ceiling represents a gender or racial inequality in the chances of advancement into higher levels, not merely the proportions of each gender or race currently at those higher levels. well simply put Glass Ceiling is a barrier that does not allow women (even though they are highly qualified/educated) to advance further in the hierarchal structure of the company. It may due to the gender, caste difference etc.
One of the other major enemy is called as 'sticky floor'. Its the comfort zone from which women would rather not shift,usually for personal reasons.it can be summed up: A man looks in the mirror and sees a senator,whereas a woman has to be pushed to see herself in the top jobs .
Waiting for your comments!!!
26th April 2011 From India, Mumbai
What is suggest is first go through your employment contract/appointment letter.. In the letter if is is stated that the company has the right to transfer you anywhere in India as per the demands of the project, then there is nothing much you can do because you have already signed on the dotted line..
if the company is still threatening you to leave.. but you do not want to leave then you have no other option is to resign ..Anyways Do not worry ;the job market is improving these days, so you will surely find another job pretty soon..
All the Best!!
26th April 2011 From India, Mumbai
26th April 2011 From India, Mumbai
27th April 2011 From India, Madras
27th April 2011 From India, Bangalore
With reference to your post on driving and pooling transport with a male colleague is not a challenge faced in the corporate world. This is a simple grapevine situation which everyone faces, males and females.
Regarding challenges faced by females, why woes of females are highlighted, everyone in this world are fighting their struggles against some kind of challenge, discrimination, ability, racism, financially, physically or mentally.
So grow up, face it, fight it, live it. If females are outstanding performers, it will shine out, and results will be seen. In corporate worlds, results are noticed and appreciated or otherwise only when cash flows are affected. when an employee makes a difference to the real business, irrespective whether that person is male or female.
So go out in the sun, put your feet on the ground and make sales, Work extra hours, as other male counterparts chip in, rather than, putting up female advantage, " Oh I have to go home early, its unsafe", "I m a family person", "oh I have to attend so and so function its so important", " I can’t go door to door doing sales", " HR is a good profession for females, sit in the office and work 9 - 6" etc etc ..
These observations are out of my limited experience, and by no means I intend to generalize this observations on all female workers. There are fine outstanding examples of females or males have faced challenges and came out shining.
The topic of this post is "Challenges faced by Women in the Corporate World" what are so special challenges faced by woman that requires such thoughtful review.
Discrimination or biased towards promotions?
As I mentioned earlier, perform and perform, then one will be noticed when it reflects on the real business, every employee has to struggle to get her / his work noticed and earn the credits for work done. And if there is discrimination or favoritism practiced in the organization then no one is spared , be it males or females.
Male Ego, not letting women rise up corporate ladder ? (Glass ceiling)
Today’s times are changing, there is information awareness everywhere, I have seen dramatic changes in male thinking towards women, today fathers take pride when daughters are earning, husbands are supporting working wives by domestics chores, brothers support their sisters when it comes to making a choice of life partner to careers. At work place, male or females are majorly considered for their abilities to perform the task. I have worked under female manager, and she was fabulous at managing business and she rose up in the corporate with her ability to exceed sales target and put the hardwork as equal as any other colleague.
If females feel that, male egos at the top management are not letting women rise, is because, they are not challenged enough, everyone is struggling against promotions and earn credits for the hardwork. So if management has ego hassles, everyone is at the receiving end. Not only women !
Men feel threatened by women rising in power ?
This is possibly true, but its moreover a human nature trait, few kinds who gets the taste of power, starts behaving arrogant or forms a superiority complex against others, be it males or females, moreover due to centuries of male and female conditioning.
In today’s time as females are rising in power, they flaunt it just like any other male would also do, but this is not accepted or its frowned upon by men as in the changing society, this is slowly sinking in. Also when females are bestowed with power and position, the attitude changes, and there is a sense of superiority in other walks of life, I have seen typical examples in life such as :
“ I earn so n so much, at so n so position with so n so brand company uh!! uh !!”
General Friend Circles
Dominance in the household.
When a male is earning so n so much, at so n so position with so n so brand company , it is considered normal and acceptable by everyone as males are supposed to be naturally meant or born for this kind of arrangement, but when women gets this kind of arrangements, then suddenly its an achievement for women as they are oppressed and rose against extra challenges faced by them as compared to males.
I feel all human kinds are equal, any two individuals be it male or female, having received equal opportunities and abilities face challenges and either they face it or they loose it. it all depends on their mental strength.
There are no such challenges Specially for women, specially created by Males as perceived, when males face hard times, they are suppose to be tough and face it. and when women face the same, suddenly it’s a challenge everyone should talk about and fight for reservations, concessions, women rights, etc etc ..
Thanks for reading, feedback is welcome.
27th April 2011 From Kuwait, Salmiya
That's really nice work and observations.
A few contradicts from my side:
In todayís world female are opting for other streams as well like sales, finance, event management and as mentioned by you HR. All these functions required hard work and dedication. You cannot say that HR is 9-6 job and sales job is not abide by office timing. Every job has their own requirement and share of commitments levels.
Females have to balance both Office & home and thatís why itís important for them to be there at home on time for their children and other dependents. There are few safety related issues, which you will also agree, that females has to keep in their mind while working.
Facing all these small issues and maintaining that required balance between Home and Office females these days are doing excellent.
As you correctly mentioned at the end itís your performance and dedication which makes you shine.
A few contradicts from my side
27th April 2011 From India, Hyderabad
Yes the topic you shared is interesting...and strange facts are that most women in corporate world are facing harasment by men dominated world.............I dont know why men believe that they can do every thing and not females ruling the corporate sector.
27th April 2011 From India, Allahabad
Thanks for spicing it up. I dont think professionals (men and women) compromise on their output because of time schedules. It may be 5pm, but its 5pm for all professionals. Maybe somewhere in the govt sector, the 9 to 5 applies blind foldedly. But in that case, this syndrome applies to the men as well.
Dina has hit it bullseye. Its the home front that is the biggest challenge. Whether men like it or not the fact is that even today, atleast in India, its the woman's responsibility to keep the house running and in ship shape. Whether she is working or not, is not the criteria. I know just a couple of men who help out equally at home. Pls dont think this is a complaint. Its just an expression of facts.
Another challenge that woman face is the 'eye candy' syndrome. Usually a good looking woman, is either a target by her boss or some numbskull who considers them 'worth a chase'. Ironically some women who have chosen the less moral way of climbing the ladder have added to this chain reaction.
Another challenge is in being a woman. If a woman stays back late, people gossip that she is neglecting her home;if she is pally with her boss, she is surely having an affair; if she dresses up well then people gossip that she is useless in her work and hence has to resort to dressing up well as a cover up.
Please dont think this is the extract of just another 'forward mail' or a saucy book. I have witnessed enough incidents to substantiate my claims. And not in any ordinary organisation, but highlisters in fortune 500,
On a brighter note, i have many friends (women, professionals) who have not gone though any of these challenges. Thank God.
At the end of the day, performance counts: at work, at home, with kids, with in-laws...............:)
My statements are not to hurt the sentiments of the readers. Just an expression of facts.
27th April 2011 From India, Visakhapatnam
With reference to your response, I agree that, all fingers are not same, and I did mention in my post that, this is not a generalized opinion about women in general, but rather for those who take this “Challenges women face in corporate world” as limiting barrier to growth rather than sincere effort to rise up.
I appreciate the forum to showcase problems faced by women in life or in corporate, but this challenges are natural occurrence of life and situations, rather than generalize it on males to be responsible for such plights..
Taking care of a home, yes thats a valid reason, and I feel it’s the responsibility of both men and women to make a home. How they divide the work its on man and wife to decide. If women is burdened with lots of house work, then its her personal problem to sort out with her family or personal partner, this is not a corporate challenge. Whether its india or amreeka, priorities remains the same, why women are bestowed with title of home makers, isn’t man involved in making a home too, its not anyone’s domain, its has to be both, it’s a team work. If its not happening practically in india now, then it shall happen as and how there is awareness. With changing times, situations are changings, but the one who dares, one who has the ability and one who has the will doesn’t wait for the time to change .. they change the time .. ! Im talking about likes of women such as - Emile Earhart, Rosa Parks, Indira Gandhi, Annie Basant, Sudha Murthy, Indra Nooyi, Leela Poonawala, Anu Aga, and many more, who have worked against odds and made it big.
The eye Candy Syndrome, Pally with Boss Rumours, Neglecting family and Fancy Dressing, this are more of social challenges women face rather than being only in corporate, This kind of attitude towards women stem out of personal bias and prejudice, and social gossip. Infact this issues are faced by anyone. Irrespective of gender, this are usally office grapevine social gossip, which happens in everywhere in social circles as well, however its wrong and demeaning towards women or anyone who is subject to such wrong accusations. My point is that this challenges are also faced by men:
Any hardworking person is criticized or mocked by the ones who are lazy in the office, If one likes it or not, a simple smiling gestures are construed wrong by onlookers depending on their perceptions.
This are existent challenges in the society which everyone faces, men and women, so why consider plight of women to be more painful and worth a thought. This challenges in general as such are to be given serious education and awareness, so that, no one faces bias and discrimination whatsoever.
If pretty looking girl is picked for a job, overlooking required specification for a job, that is acceptable to the female, but when she is rejected by another biased outlook, it’s a corporate challenge ! and women find it tough to resolve.
Real corporate challenges in climbing the promotion ladder are : meeting deadlines, exceeding targets, work life balance, office politics, economic factors, recognition of efforts and results. Etc, applicable to both men and women, or rather I say professionals.
Anyone who has the will to face it has the might to fight it.
Refer to the post, Men are Beasts of Burden, a very good article worth a read related to this discussion.
27th April 2011 From Kuwait, Salmiya
I feel the same challenges in my present organisation..Being a very talented & qualified for the post I am presently working on my manager is still not providing me an on roll position.It is all because i am unable to work late in office like other male colleauges & show my presence & work dedication.
27th April 2011
I can trace the problem at hand from the social/religious and cultural theories and practices of which its difficult at some point to totally compare women and men to be the same or different on the other hand.
The fact is that there are so many cases which demonstrates how women are undermined in the corporates and other forms of institutions,its my wish to have had time and at least present some few cases on the violation and or malpractices against women.
Considering your ideas,am of the opinion that the challenges and or even problems faced by women in the corporates emanates from non-adherence to the laws of the land.Should managers and every employee in the organization be well acquainted with the laws specifically those governing their relationship with employers,many of the addressed problems shall have no space like famously discrimination which is the root of many challenges spoken in here. For instance we can not say that women can not work at certain hours,the question should be what does the law says?we cant say women are not developed in the organization while the organization has well articulated HRM policies on training and development and the law requires equal opportunity for all from the recruitment stage and at working life in the organization. Many employees in corporates are not aware of their legal rights as a result crying and dying silently-the voices unheard no matter how they shout. Obvious, the basic fear many hold is the loosing of job and the perceived unfairness in the courts of justice supplemented by financial capacity.Corporates are registered and legally recognized business institutions which are not only socially bound to follow the laws of the land they are operating from but also manage its human resources with dignity and respect to the pro-founded and worldly practiced human rights. Insights have been given from the Constitution and the labor laws.
27th April 2011 From Uganda, Kampala
28th April 2011
It is all in the mind...... let me explain from my personal observation...i am a father of a daughter who is working in Navratna of PSU. She dresses good... looks good..and carries herself good... I am a HR Head and when i discuss with her these type of issues... she does not gv a damn..simply says that it is performance that counts... when office closes at 5 pm there are many occasions when she reaches home at 9 or 10 pm. I am surprised at the way she talks sometimes with her collegues... her voice is cold and impassionate..sharp and cutting... she speaks void of emotions.... but she is so friendly with them as well that when there is a personal occasion like birthday everybody flocks in to wish and gift.... but the next day she is somebody different...
I think it is ultimately how u carry yourself... dressing good does not invite eyes...behaving friendly does not invite rumours... be bossy and be pally too...
Women are entirely a different lot today.... there are still many timid and tense lot of them but they are there in males too.... anyway....good luck to all of you womenfolk here..i agree with one thing that at the end of the day u need to take of the house as well... but i hv known household who never cooked at home...becaz the lady is working...facilities are available now a days...make use of them....(for that one lady who said that going to office in a male colleague's car..pls learn driving.. many ladies drive now)....
28th April 2011 From India, Bangalore
28th April 2011 From India, Delhi
I would just like to add that every employee gets opportunities and faces challenges in their careers. It is the choices a woman makes during her career that will determine how she rises in the corporate world. Balancing family and work is a challenge that only she can resolve. And her choice would determine her career progression.
Safety of women travelling at night is still a big problem, and may be a limiting factor in her growth.
In current times, a woman has to stand up for herself, make her choices, feel empowered.
28th April 2011 From India, New Delhi
I do agree with you. I believe the biggest challenge for working women is to maintain right balance between office & home responsibility. As far as male ego concerns, yes it actually happens in the corporate world but again its upto a female how she tackles that. I believe one should not give much importance to all these things and just concentrate on your good work. it will get appreciated sooner or later.
28th April 2011 From India, Delhi
I am currently pursuing my PhD in Stress faced by professional women.
Working women especially from the corporate sector face the problems of Glass ceiling, sticky floor and many other challenges. To add to all this, the role at home and the conflicts that arise in balancing the dual role is something only a woman can explain....does she really have the time to do so? but i think she really has the mental strength to face these challenges......
28th April 2011 From India, Madras
And Hussain, no hard feelings. Women dont blame men for incidents. As i mentioned earlier that there are some women who have created unsuitable examples which are a bane. If a pretty girl is picked up for a job, I am sure she doesnt think that she got picked up because she was pretty but rather as a result of her merit. But again there are exceptions.
Mr Murthy, I am happy that your daughter carries herself well. I wish her success always.
Most women do carry themselves well.
I have worked in a Navratna. Let me share a couple of incidents.
A pretty lady became the object of a HOD's desire. Despite her refusal, he didnt change. Stopped her one evening on some pretext (through her boss) and tried to force her into submission. She escaped with torn clothes. Complained to the unit head. No result. Insted became the topic of gossip. She quit.
A pretty girl, CA, single, very decent family, carried herself well, became an eyes sore to her boss only because he didnt like an intelligent woman subordinate. Tried his best to make each day unhappy. She quit as soon as she got a good offer. She mentioned this in her exit interview. Her HOD didnt do anything about it till today.
A pretty woman. Mother of a toddler, intelligent, hardworking, always had the best of terms with colleagues and bosses, became the object of her HOD's attention. One day he told her ' You come from a good family, u are intelligent, u work hard, are outstanding, but your only problem is that you dont come to ME. Look at Ms xyz she sits in my cabin even after office hours'. This woman replied ' I come to this office only for work'. She spent the next 5 years in hell and finally quit. Her boss tried to protect her from the HOD, filled a written report (there were other harassments too) to the unit head but got transferred in the bargain. That report disappeared. Her next boss also tried to project her outstanding work and try and ensure her promotions dont get blocked, but he himself started getting harassed. The probem was that this HOD had good terms with the higher management.
There was another smart woman who faced problems because her HOD and boss felt that women should be at home rather than at office and women should leave office jobs for men. She quit after working for a couple of years.
So women who carry themselves well, choose to quit rather than undergo such nonsense. I am sure some of you would say in defence that men get harrassed similarly as well and quit too. Yeah sure.
So as Joan pointed out suitably, male chauvinism is a big big problem. There may be incidents were women have made the life of male colleagues misreable. I agree. Will surely speak for the men when the topic comes up. Right now the topic is about the challenges faced by women in the corporate world.
Apologies if i tread any toes. But it would be unfair to mention facts and just argue for the sake or arguing.
28th April 2011 From India, Visakhapatnam
The incidents you mentioned are sad and unfortunate, and this are one of the many cases which go unreported. However this are challenges as well as crime done against a person, and the perpetrator should be bought to justice. This are acts of criminal minds, and cannot be generalized as corporate challenge face by women.
After the enlighting discussion on this forum, I admit that, family commitments and work life balance is a challenge women face to balance in a corporate world. Which can be solved by equal participation and understanding between 2 genders in dividing the responisbilites at home and at work.
When it comes to harassments as you mentioned, are more out of individual behavior , personal bias, male chauvinist pigs, and criminal bent of mind which makes life of females or males in companies miserable. I don’t have any relevant examples matching to the ones you have mentioned specially regards to sexual harassments and advancements towards men. It could be a rare occurrence as compared to the ones faced by females. But sadly, unfortunately this is how male dominance has been, females don’t get justice from this male dominance for crimes done against them. I don’t support this male dominance either, I stress on equality among all genders, be it females, males or third gender individual.
Most of the examples of harassment which you mentioned here are practice of individual behavior, I was quiet shaken reading such incidents, this are very criminal acts. But such persons would not spare anyone, they wud harass another subordinate, colleague for their advantage in another way. Let me give you some examples, where I have seen males being harassed too.
I was assigned to HR consulting assignment, and moved to a new team, manager was an experienced guy and had a terrible attitude about his experience and knowledge. Although he dint have any qualification or experience as HR, but he always dominated meetings and discussions with his point of views. He wud humiliate me, if I objected slightly to his suggestions or not even consider a healthy discussion for what he proposed or designed, his words were last words, he wud blame me for his oversights and mistakes, he wud simply makes me work late hours, send me to office on weekends to work while he relaxed, bored me for hours with his arrogant stories, dint have respect for my personal commitments, I used to miss family functions, even after work hours or on weekends, and when I cudnt take the humiliation, I complained to higher authority, I was asked to shut up and complete the assignment or resign from the assignment and they will alot me something else, with underlying taunt that this “misbehavior” would be considered in appraisals, when I resolved that I will continue with assignment, I was mocked and laughed at by the manager. My work’s credit was taken away by this guy, he wud not allow me to interact with clients, treated me like an outsider, but wud give me heap of work to complete related to assignments, if there was a mistake, it was put on me, and if things went well, he humbly accepted the appreciation. Now you must be wondering why he has biased attitude towards me, it is because he wanted his man inside for the job he cud speak his native language from his region, But when I was assigned due to my experience and qualifcaitons, he became very uncomfortable., I don’t wish to beat my own drum but for the sake of example. I had better fluency in communication and have a knack of interacting with local clients here,. Im dressed well, I was qualified, hardworking and yes a male. Can I call this harassment. And this are also prevalent with others (male and females) too. I wont single out men here.
Most of your cases were related to sexual harassment of women at workplace, this are not challenges faced by women, but rather a ghastly crime, which has no justification other than punishing the culprit this kind of men should be punished sternly and publicly humiliated so that a lasting example is set. This are social problems in our society, wrong upbringing, lack of justice.
Corporate Challenges are difficult situations which shall be overcome by the person who is facing it.
There are cases where, smart, qualified, derserving young male professionals are also sidelined by insecure and egoistic bosses. Infact this is a general challenge faced by professionals in the company. my argument is not that it’s the women who doesn’t face this challgenge as you mentioned, that men don’t face this challenge, my point is male or female, they both face such problems.
And regarding your response, to pretty faces picked without relevant qualifications, any pretty girl who is picked up for a job, without matching to job specifications will not admit that, yeah she got picked becoz of pretty face perceived by the biased selector, everyone feels they got selected on merit. Find me one individual which honestly admits that, they got selected for a job becoz they have a pretty face, big contacts etc, and no qualification or brains for the same.
Everyone fights against this issues, if females are harassed, they shud fight it out, till the end, rather than give up and resign, book the wrongdoer, mobilize opinions against wrong practices. There are bad people (male or females) in this world, accept it and fight it. rather than sit blaming “oh what we suppose to do in this male dominant world, we can be just victims.. we will suffer and resign”
Refer to stories of women I mentioned earlier, a fine example of empowerment.
Its matter of findng good and nice people. If harassement it too much to tolerate seek new opportunity. Again applicable to both men and women !
28th April 2011 From Kuwait, Salmiya
29th April 2011 From Philippines, Makati
29th April 2011 From India, Bangalore
Thanks for responding; Hussain and Mr Murthy. I agree that these behaviours are particular to an individual's personality. It is sad that where I worked there were many others like these guys. Women did stand up for their principles and when they didnt get justice, walked out. I often wondered why didnt they go to the police? I guess there must be a reason. Maybe she chose to retain whatever dignity left and leave this episode behind. There are many more such incidents that i can mention, but that would make this cite a writer's blog rather than a discussion forum.
Hussain, its sad u had a tough boss. A pig i would say. Look at the silver lining, your clothes are intact. :)
These things happen. And I would still stay, that changing or lack of changing men's attitudes towards acceptance of woman in the office and their desire to continue to dominate is a CORPORATE problem, especially when such men bring these attitudes to the workplace.
Its nice to know through this forum that men and women would like to stand for their principles. I dont understand why one human would like to harass another.
Enjoy your day.
29th April 2011 From India, Visakhapatnam
This has been a good discussion so far, however I feel, we have not listed any challenges and its solutions as such, our arguments revolved around incidents rather than long term challenges women face in corporate world, or rather I say society as a whole. As per my experiences I suggest this points.
• Balance Home and Work life !
• Face Discrimination due to Male Ego, Insecurity and Social Structure !
• Lack of Education opportunity !
• Lack of Self-Belief amongst Women !
• Social Conditioning or Social Upbringing of Men and Women !
I encourage readers to put forward their views, men and women who feel there are more challenges then listed here, and also suggestions, solutions how to eradicate them or resolve them.
@ninpins, Thanks for recognizing my plight , It was a hellish time I went, but learning was immense. and thank god I dint go mad enough myself not to tear my cloths out of frustration :-D.
@Mr Murthy, I appreciate your views and composure your daughter put forwards in dealing with colleagues so professionally, this is what I feel is a right way to handle people, irrespective a person is male or female. Direct, strict and straightforward, yet with a smile and politeness in attitude.
If we all learn how to deal with people with right attitude, many untoward incidents may be avoided, if there is antisocial person out there, then any best bevaior will face harassment, so this anti social elements are best kept in prison or should be sent to Mercury to explore water :-D
1st May 2011 From Kuwait, Salmiya