9 key lessons from #WomenLead #Leadership #Workshop

“Women Lead – Leadership Workshop for Young Women Leaders” was conceptualised to provide young women leaders with strategies that work for women in leadership.

As a team, when we conceptualised this workshop it was because we realised that most workshops we conducted on leadership which we thought were gender neutral were actually not gender neutral. Women at work faced different and perhaps more challenges than many of their male peers.

We wanted to focus on actionable strategies that women leaders can take themselves without waiting for society or their organisations to make the required changes.

The first edition of “Women Lead – Leadership Workshop for Young Women Leaders” actually blew my mind. It is not everyday that participants share that this is the best workshop that they have attended in their life. More than positive feedback I realised that we have got people starting to think about #gender parity and their own unconscious biases.

My learning from the phenomenal interaction with 29 successful working women:

  1. Gender parity … we don’t have time for this. We have work to do. – One of the ladies at the workshop shared that before the session she really never critically thought whether her organisation was gender just or not. She was told it was an equal opportunity employer and she believed it. But now upon thinking she realised that the safety shoes on site were in size 6 and above. A tad big for women engineers and architects don’t you think? The ironic thing is if the women in question had brought this need up at the right forum the organisation would have provided the smaller shoes (easily assuming that they are made in smaller sizes… or with more difficulty if it had to be made to order). How tough can it be for an organisation that employs many women engineers and architects.
  2. We are not feminists – Another interesting observation is the tag of feminism was one that no one wanted…never mind that Justin Trudeau (Canadian PM) or Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook) have publicly claimed to be feminists. Feminism seems to mean someone who wants to subjugate men. Hmm…Yet each one believed in parity for the sexes.
  3. Ungrateful we are – We consciously are not grateful to the many men and women (early feminists) who fought to get women the rights we currently have. We also seem not to realise that the struggle is yet on.
  4. Not men vs. women but men & women – The struggle for a gender just society is not men vs. women but of men & women against ancient ways of thinking and relating to the world.
  5. We are not biased or are we? – In an after hour’s event at a friend’s I met a lady, and of course I talked about #WomenLead. She said there was no bias in her organisation. I readily agreed because I had started my career in the same organisation. She mused that however there were no women in her team. On being asked why, she shared that she was the kind of person who did not like to look at the clock and she had once had female team members and they had too many issues…they have to go home at this time etc. She then stopped and said, “This is bias.” It was lovely to have her come to “Women Lead” and share her experience.
  6. There may be bias in other companies … but not in my company –Many of us thought bias existed in very un-evolved organisations. Or in very regressive homes. It took some experience sharing for us to see the patterns. Remember bias today is no longer overt.
  7. I am not a victim of bias…NOT A VICTIM – Most of us had taken the mental position that we were survivors (not victims). One strategy seems to be not to pay heed to bias and overcompensate with work and effort. Over time we seemed to have managed to convince ourselves that bias does not really exist. Forgetting that the overcompensating is a result of bias.
  8. Talking helps if focused on solutions – Just sharing normalised our experience. We were not the odd ones. It was not all in our heads. But the focus was on solutions…could we learn from one another?
  9. We can change the next generation – We are already bringing up our daughters differently than the way our grandmothers brought up their daughters. We realised that we could change the situation if we brought up our sons differently too.

More learnings in another article.

After the first edition of Women-Lead – Leadership Workshop for Young Women Leaders” that we conducted successfully on 5th March 2016 in Delhi-NCR, we are conducting the next edition on 26th August 2016 (Women’s Equality Day). The aim is to equip them with strategies that work for women in leadership roles. Get the details

Lovely Kumar is a facilitator, trainer, psychometric assessor and heads Larks Learning Pvt. Ltd. She has a unique background which combines economics, management, advertising, sales, teaching and training. She has worked with a range of corporates and academic institutions. Additionally she has obtained international certifications in training and psychometric assessments.

Learn more and reach Lovely Kumar at www.larkslearning.com.