Who am I?

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I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Glass Ceiling

Interpret the picture with respect to the theme "The Glass Ceiling"

Riju Dutta and Pranay Gupta

Human beings have a history of making promises, cosmetic guidelines for us to follow. There’s a huge hue and cry, teams are brought together, there is talk of change, empowered winds of change can be felt all around. There’s brainstorming, neatly dressed Ivy League graduates bring out ideas, and there’s a fragrance of change. But the day ends, everyone disperses and all that remains are new rules, reams of paperwork and a comfortably forgotten but burning issue. Glass Ceiling. It represents the disempowered thoughts shackled to the prejudices of yesterday. It represents forgotten ideals, ignored responsibilities and hypocritical ramblings. It represents us, and our actions that fail to live up to our words and promises. We talk of change in the workplace, in the world around us – change for the minorities, for women and the marginalized, but the actual changes are only minimally brought about. It’s time to accept responsibility and be personally involved to be a part of the change. It’s time to act.

The picture is a microcosmic representation of the minority and women presence in an organization of today. The Glass Ceiling is represented by the limits within which such rich amount of ideas and experiences are forced to operate. The everyday innovation in thought and in human capabilities is bounded by the man-made but invisible barriers to change. On having a closer look, it can be seen that the growth, rather the mere presence in an organization of women has been skewed. There is a greater number of women willing and able to be a part of the organization in the initial years. This changes with time because of familial roles and maternal responsibilities that a women encounters eventually. This leads to a gender imbalance. The lower end of the room can be interpreted as representing the beginning of a woman’s life in an organization. The number of women can be seen to be decreasing as the years pass by. This not only leads to a loss of gender parity but the diversity of view-points and thoughts that strengthen an organization get lost with the passage of time. The thoughts are not able to diffuse through the organization’s work culture. But there is hope. The bigger blocks represent the trailblazers, the mavericks, the leaders among not only the women, but also other minorities. They can be the torchbearers, the role models of the minorities, representing their cause and leading the way.

Diversity of actions emanates from diversity in people and their thoughts. Change is the order of the day. The question that today’s organizations face is whether the change needs to be top-down – a CEO lady leading the way and giving impetus to change, or bottom-up – broader recruitment initiatives, fostering a culture for gender diversity and policy action. The challenge is to bring about a change within specific domains which have not been considered to be a women bastion, like sales. Other suggestions include flexi-working hours, liberal paternity leaves and coaching, mentorship, sponsorship, and an improvement in social infrastructure. And most importantly, a change in attitudes is important, and it is time to walk to talk. Diversity is a given, but making it inclusive is important. Getting everyone aligned to the whole idea resulting in a cohesive spirit throughout the organization is the challenge.


  1. Really good thought ! I can relate to it. Concept of diversity and inclusiveness of minority or women is two fold.
    First fold : Our culture , past history and society imposes a thought after kids going to work is ignoring or overlooking your priority. Individuality and person growth are on back burner. Also , at personal level more then 50% ignores the urge to be individual and be prefer to be part of larger paradigm of family supporter. No harm in that though but that has to be personal choice not influenced or imposed.
    Second fold of the story is whatever remaining 30-40% wants to go ahead and pursue their professional roles there aren't suitable or flexible modes available. Sometimes lack of flexibility, long working hours,long travel time,lack presence at work (at times of useless social gatherings ), not able to travel, team leg pulling ,etc are reasons one can't carry on.

    So, this change has to be both ways individual and corporate and there some what counselling, supporting team and policies does help.

    PS : I am mother of 10 month old ( who is only effectively away from her kid for 4 hours ), working Sales professional ( working productively for 9-10 hours ) Curtsy : My Family, My Company and most important my "Will" !!

    1. I'm glad you shared your insights about the theme. Who else could be more apt than the one is undergoing the very experience :)
      I totally agree with your thought that the extremity of the situation needs to be empathized with and there needs to be provision for flexibility in working hours, place of work, travel timings, and other such facilities available at work for women who have to lead a dual career - one is their professional one and the other is on their personal front. It is time the society realizes and acknowledges this dual responsibility and takes steps to ameliorate the unwanted statis within the system.
      The same goes for the state of minorities in the workplace. They need to be empowered and made to feel on an equal footing for them to deliver to their best capacities. Handholding at each step would also bog down their self respect. Empowerment is what is required.