Chandigarh: In 2023, gender stereotypes continue to cast a long shadow over women in positions of authority in India. Despite significant strides towards gender equality, the societal biases and prejudices they face persist, raising questions about their likability and employability. These challenges underscore the pressing need to empower and support dominant women, allowing them to thrive in their professional roles unburdened by outdated stereotypes.
At a discussion held recently at the CII Northern Region Headquarters by the Indian Women Network’s Chandigarh chapter, which aimed to shed light on these complexities, engage in constructive dialogue, and explore concrete strategies for dismantling these outdated stereotypes, several outcomes were seen.
Progress has been made in addressing gender stereotypes, but they stubbornly endure. To break them down and promote gender equality in leadership roles, there’s a need to create inclusive and accepting attitudes towards assertive women. Organizations play a critical role, not only in hiring dominant women but also in providing opportunities for their growth and success. This includes the establishment of mentorship programs and support networks to ensure women feel empowered in their roles.
Dr Ruby Ahuja, Chair, IWN Chandigarh Tricity Chapter 2023-24, views women in positions of authority as not only pioneers in their respective fields but also as champions of social change, advocates for gender equality, and symbols of resilience. Stereotypes do not confine them; instead, they shape their own destinies.
Stereotypes that label dominant women as ‘less likeable’ or ‘unapproachable’ persist in society. Ms Meenakshi Dawer Bhojwani, a renowned radio personality, highlights the importance of women asserting themselves in this highly competitive landscape. She believes that it’s not about dominance but rather about confidently voicing opinions and contributions. Encouraging women to embrace their assertiveness is key to their success.
The intersectionality of gender stereotypes cannot be overlooked. Women of different backgrounds, such as women of colour or LGBTQ+ women, face unique challenges. These biases intersect and compound, making their journey to positions of authority even more challenging. Addressing these unique struggles requires a multi-faceted approach that recognizes the interplay of various forms of discrimination.
Education and awareness campaigns are instrumental in reshaping societal perceptions of women in leadership roles. By highlighting success stories and role models, these campaigns inspire others to challenge stereotypes. The media, including radio and television, can serve as powerful mediums for promoting these stories and shifting public perception.
This shift in perception is a significant change in how society views women in leadership roles. Ms Nagina Bains, Immediate Past Chairwoman, IWN Chandigarh Tricity Chapter, emphasizes that these challenges extend beyond gender boundaries and affect both men and women. Addressing these biases is essential for genuine gender equality.
As we navigate the path towards a more equitable and inclusive future, we must continue to empower and support dominant women. Their success is not just their own; it’s a testament to the progress made and the work still ahead. With determination and collective effort, we can dismantle outdated stereotypes and create a world where women in positions of authority thrive, unburdened by prejudice.