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March 8 is one of the most significant days in the year honouring women and their accomplishments. Not only does the day recognise the gender’s growth but also the disadvantages they face in economic, cultural and political climates. This day is a good reminder to society globally about gender parity and where we currently stand on our journey to both equality and equity. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity. The International Women’s Day website reads, “Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between Equity and Equality. The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about ‘Why equal opportunities aren’t enough’.”
This women’s day we spoke to five women in various fields to seek their advice and learn about their experiences in large corporations. We asked four questions to Binitha Dalal, Founder and Managing Partner, Mt K Kapital and Head of Fundraising at Rustomjee Group, Tanya Appachu, Lawyer and Digital content creator, Himani Chaudhary a Finfluencer (Finance Influencer), Anisha Dossa, Co-Founder and CEO of Jify an early salary app for Employees in India and Diksha Arora, Digital content creator.
With the help of the internet, the world is open to talking about struggles in 9 to 5 jobs that generally have a perception of being an easy and steady lifestyle choice. We asked Chaudhary what her advice would be for women in business and she highlighted that “our education systems help us in becoming professionals but they do not educate us on personal finances.” As a financial advisor she believes, “we think goals are only for carriers but goals are also for our finances”, so she would encourage women to set financial goals for themselves. Dalal added that her advice for women would be to simply, “Go after what you want without any restriction in your mind that you can not get there.” Arora also shared that “It is important for you (women) to be ambitious and have a focus in life so that you can consistently grow financially and in your carrier.”
On similar lines, we were curious to know how women should scale themselves in these large corporations. Commenting on this, Chaudhary exclaimed, “Advocate for yourself”. She added, “I would advise women to be tech-savvy and learn to use tools like social media to promote their work and network”. Coming to scaling in businesses, Appachu said, “I feel that women need to take their credit when it’s due, you should be able to enlist the work you have done and be clear about what you bring to the table. You have got to ask for that raise you are eyeing, you have to inform people about your capabilities and why you deserve that raise or promotion.” Dossa also explained that it is important to “Research the market and assess yourself continuously. If you are hungry and want to grow, make sure you are the top performer and you ask for hikes, promotions, opportunities etc. Don’t shy away from asking.”
When we first start out there are several mistakes we make that we wished to have avoided. Chaudhary recalled one moment in particular where she learnt a lot from her mistake. “Once I was working for a particular client and had done a majority of their work yet, when they visited our office they did not know about me, or that I was the person looking after so many things”. She realized that this was because she did not enlighten the team about her task lists and the work that she executed.
Appachu also shared that when she first started working in social media she was “looking at it as a passion and not paying heed to turn my work into a business and ways to monetize my work.” Another mistake Dossa shared was, “Not projecting enough confidence despite being a subject matter expert in certain areas.”
As for the lessons we learn from these mistakes Dalal said her biggest lesson was patience which she believes only comes after experience and handling adversity. “When I first started off the Lehman crisis happened and that was my first exposure to corporate life and it taught me that any organization no matter how high you are, it does not mean you are untouchable.” She added that her lesson was witnessing that “during a crisis, it is the skill of a leader to pull his team out of the crisis and stand their ground”.