There are a lot of books on women and careers that we have come across in the recent past, some are autobiographies or biographies and some others are lessons on how to build a better career. At the outset, this book seems no different. Another set of dos and don’ts one may think, but in reality it is different. Equal yet Different exudes lots of passion and will resonate with most fellow women professionals that I know personally. Multitasking and juggling work and home responsibilities seems to be normal. But the author has a different take on the same. Do you really need to be called a superwoman or can you smartly outsource and take support from other sources. The book has personal anecdotes of many great women leaders such as Rama Bijapurkar, Falguni Nayar, Madhabi Puri Buch to name a few.
What does the book cover?
The book is made up of eight chapters highlighting the top priorities such as dreaming big, investing in oneself, having allies around etc. Each chapter deep dives into the key topics with great examples, experiences of real people. Many leaders walk you through their personal stories and lessons, the challenges they faced, and how they have fought the system to be where they are today. In the book, the author has taken perspectives from HR heads as well, to give it a balanced view. At the end of each chapter the author shares some tips and recommendations for one to apply, while at work.
- Networking: It’s great to acquire a professional degree but building one’s communication skills, personality and investing in yourself is critical. In most cases women tend to shy away from networking citing family reasons but this is a must do and reaps great benefit as you move up the corporate ladder. The alumni network is a great place to make new contacts
- Allies and Enablers: You can’t make a great career without support. Take help from your family, domestic help. Look at the support system as an investment, not as an expense.
- Leadership demands a lot of time, energy, focus and commitment. As the author quotes Falguni Nayar in the book, ‘Constraints and glass ceilings are only in your mind’. To get to leadership positions, women need to ensure that their life is about them as individuals and what they want. They can just be part of a family structure’.
Another interesting point is a study by Hewlett Packard which states that when offered a job, men focus on the skills they have while women focus on the ones they lack – stark difference in the way men display confidence (irrespective of their abilities) while women show hesitancy even when they possess the required skills.
What’s in it for me?
The research and the interviews of top leaders from different walk of life stayed in my mind. Thought provoking for me-The way certain situations were managed by these leaders, would I have done it differently. Diverse set of examples played a huge role in moulding my thoughts on leadership. I personally believed in women empowerment but something that I am taking with me is the fact that why do we really need to call women leaders as ‘Women Leaders’ and not just ‘Leaders’. Why do we still have ‘Women Leaders Award’ instead of just ‘Leaders Award’ and women being a natural part to it.
The chapters are clearly organised and simple to follow. It provides straightforward principles that we can use in our daily lives. Personal experiences of women leaders will inspire you to follow the tips they offer. The action plan at the end of each chapter is a must do exercise for one and all. This book is recommended to be read by all leaders irrespective of the gender. Anita Bhogle has done a great job putting this masterpiece together.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.