Raising a toast to women in business

SHATTERING STEREOTYPES

Raising a toast to women in business

The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant. -  Robert T Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Around the globe, industries have witnessed successful women who have taken the now-christened “Fortune companies” from nowhere to professional zeniths. They are trying to excel in all fields of business, leaving no stone unturned.

Indian women particularly, have come a long way from playing the stereotypical role of a housewife to donning the roles of CEOs in leading Indian and foreign firms.

As a child, I was never made to feel like my potential was limited because I was a girl. My family has always been liberal and fair, and it ingrained in my mind that I had the freedom to chase my dreams.

However, the outside world was always a little different. Women are constantly judged based on how they look rather than how they perform.

But thanks to technology, globalisation and more, the world is changing. Men and women are learning to adapt and be equal partners. This will also take the current unsaid pressures off men to provide endlessly without any support.

As a young girl, I accompanied my father to various whisky distilleries in Scotland during vacations, gaining first-hand knowledge about the region and its distilleries.

Not just this, as I grew older, I never felt shy entering small, dingy, dimly-lit male-only outlets across the country for research and market visits. The retail trade aspect is certainly male dominated, more so because of societal norms.

Social acceptance

As more women are becoming part of the corporate crowd, drinking socially is
becoming more common and the trade is evolving as well. There has been a rise in the female drinking population in India and globally. There are more women going to pubs and drinking these days, than a decade ago.

Lifestyle consumption has driven India’s rapidly growing liquor companies to build their presence at the top-end of the market, expanding the job market and asking female executives to lead the business vertical. Women in the liquor business, like men, understand the intricacies involved in the business.

Ten years ago, it was probably unimaginable, but now women are breaking the glass ceiling in almost every sector and industry. The traditionally male dominated Indian alcohol industry is seeing women entering the business and doing very well.

With some of the successful women leaders across the globe, Indian companies too are following the trend with women CEOs and this is visible not just in the private sector, but also in the public sector.

Earlier, while few made it to top-level positions at Fortune 500 companies, many were successful in reaching the lower-level positions at a rapid speed.

Given the current scenario, it is evident that the number of women joining the top-level has increased dramatically. This will be a growing trend indeed.

There has also been a psychological shift due to the increasing influence of media, wherein women have become highly ambitious and competitive.

There is no sector or industry where women have not entered. Apart from the promising education and awareness, women now strongly believing in gender equality.

Time changes all Today, more women are choosing to achieve financial independence. This has ensured women belonging to all socio- economic classes stepping out of their houses to explore professional opportunities. This is also due to the exposure to educational opportunities, which has increased as compared to the earlier times.
This has opened new vistas, increased awareness and raised aspirations of personal growth. This, along with economic pressure, has been instrumental in influencing women’s decisions to enter the workforce.

The new-generation women across the world have overcome all pessimistic notions and have proved themselves in all spheres of life, including the most complex and cumbersome corporate world. Women across the globe have made a mark for themselves with their relentless zeal, incessant quench for success and willingness to walk the extra mile.

Recently, India became the first Asian nation to reach the Red Planet when its indigenously-made unmanned spacecraft entered the orbit of Mars - and the first nation in the world to successfully reach Mars on its first attempt. It is a matter of immense pride that behind its success was a hardworking team that included many intelligent and competent women.

I think the time is not far when gender in business will become irrelevant, and merit and competence will be the only deciding factors. That day, I hope to write an article on raising a toast to professionals in business.

(The writer is brand director, Kyndal Group)

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