Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida recently hosted its HR Conclave on the highly sensitive and thought-provoking subject of the “Glass Ceiling.”
Aptly titled, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Myth or Reality!” the event organized by the HR department of the institute sought to address some important issues and answer some poignant questions for those in attendance. Held on the 30th of August, 2014 the event brought together several eminent industry and business leaders who shared their experiences with the gathering, making the event a huge success.
While women all over the world are making their presence felt in various fields, including some that were considered to be male bastions, it’s also true that the concept of the Glass Ceiling is still prevalent. But what is the reality in Indian industries where many of the young students from the institute will find themselves in a few years? The conclave sought to answer questions like these and shed light on the corporate scenario for future professionals.
The event began with the traditional lighting of the lamp and the inaugural address by Dr. Rajiv Thakur, Director, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida. In his inspiring speech he said, “It is the inner strength and belief that helps you stand out.” These words set a positive tone for the proceedings of the day. Dr. V. P. Singh and Dr. Y. V. Verma were the Guest of Honour and the Chief Guest of the conclave and they opened the inaugural session by sharing their stories.
According to Dr. Singh, there are three key barriers that are connected to the glass ceiling: “Societal, Primaral Supply and Difference; conscious and unconscious, prejudices”, he said. “[The] Ceiling has a crack but it still hasn’t been broken.” Dr. Verma’s ideas were encouraging, and he ended by saying, “Don’t wait for the law to change, bring about the change by your own.” After these invigorating talks, it was time for the first panel discussion that focussed on different areas of the glass ceiling in India.
Mr. Shubhodeep Dutta elaborated on Diversity and Perception. When he addressed the gathering, he made a statement that hit home with the audience: “Hesitation ought never to be the barrier – hardware is going to impact for long!” Ms. Ratna Singh started with an open-house question on whether the glass ceiling was a myth or reality. She affirmed that it was indeed a reality; and she partly attributed it to the collective Indian psyche, which, she claims, still says, “I want a boy child.” On a similar note, the presentation titled “Women Empowerment and Glass Ceiling – a competency; never a gender discrimination” offered an interesting discussion by Mr. Deepak Singh.
After a fruitful first session, Dr. Mamta Mohapatra, Mr. Amitav Jha, Mr. Gyanendra Singh and Dr. Mamta Mohaptra, started the second on a strong note. They talked about several examples of women in history and present times who waged a campaign against the limits of the glass ceiling.
Mr. Jha gave a talk on an interesting topic, “Mantra of Leadership – Equal Skills” In a startling, but eye-opening, example he referred to Barbie Dolls with the tagline ‘Be Your Own Hero’. According to him, to measure skills we should focus on, “Choice and compulsion, Price and Payoff, and Action Plan.”
Mr. Singh touched upon another set of barriers that are faced by women, including cultural and social factors, adequate work-life balance, flexible work solutions, role models and the industry opportunities. He also made a strong point when he said that women work with a commitment to the job and company in mind, and not focussed solely at money. After the day-long sessions with seasoned experts, the popular opinion was that the glass ceiling does indeed exist, and one can’t be sure when it will be fully broken. But what’s equally certain is that the Glass Ceiling is showing some cracks, and will, sooner rather than later, likely crack.