It takes courage to Raise a Voice and Take a Stand

Yes, this could have started as an afterthought from the #IWD conversations flooding away half the planet. This year seemed like the pandemic or vaccination or environmental issues were miniscule when compared to discussions about International Women’s Day (yeah everyone spoke about it, is still talking). With everything going digital since 2020 (the blackhole of years!), felt like not one social media channel was spared a conversation about equality, gender-bias, mentoring women as future leaders – and lots of other topics!

I’m not suggesting that one shouldn’t do this, maybe it’s actually an effective way to showcase the issues that women have to endure every day, but can’t speak about it. So, it’s absolutely fine that we get brilliant minds to sought a solution. My reluctance arises when I see this day bringing alive conversations only for those 24hours or maybe a whole week. And once it all dies out, nothing really changes. Am I being cynical or things are a lot better than what they used to be?

But why do we need one day? Does this day help solve the struggles? How are we being the change we want people to be? Is this adding any value to another individual’s life?

Too many questions, but no answers. Honestly, couldn’t find them amidst the #IWD discussions, interviews, articles, and everything else. My attempt here is to simply share some realities – I could be just another soul adding to the chaos – or maybe someday be heard like other voices. Just making my attempts.

Stand your ground: It will be difficult at first. Maybe those polite nudges won’t help. Nor would stern conversations on what is appropriate. Justifying or clarifying why you are taking a stand, is the worst way to handle this. We as communication professionals are well aware that reputation is built through a well-thought design, whereas character is what stays eternal to you. So, keep going strong in what you believe and stay at it. Be it difficult meetings, impractical deliverables, unending expectations – just make sure to make your time worthy enough to speak. Sticking to your ground doesn’t mean ignoring facts or reality, and nor does it allow you to be rude. Be aggressive, be firm and clearly state what is it that you intend to achieve (I will keep trying this, always!).

Unconscious Bias: We will be subjected to bias, and maybe we have always been subjected to bias. Some societal norms will never go away. And some expectations of what a woman should be like or should be doing, will never go away. Deep-down have faith to be a natural caregiver and an individual that nurtures. Because, we as humans, love to build and procreate. So, stick to the roots. Beyond that – words will come and go, people will come go – your actions will always stay. Don’t be a spartan and gear up to fight all possible biases against one gender. Just evaluate how you could accept certain thoughts and how you won’t accept certain thoughts. Unconscious bias is prevalent across professional and personal lives for one and all. Please don’t make it a gender topic, but instead see how you can be the help another individual needs. Within organisations, take small steps towards change by accepting the presence of bias and how focused conversations can assist one to relook at those situations (without bias). In personal lives, sadly it does exist, but again share and express, in the hope that slowly there will be change.

White noise: This is my way of responding to silent treatment by people – in professional and personal lives. I’m learning, still a long way to go. Silence, is the best teacher to understand that the other individual never really bothered or valued your contribution (to their life). Infact, people who professionally claimed to have dedicated a decade towards social cause and upliftment of women, happened to shun relations in their personal life. Have first-hand experience towards this. But I learnt that this was an effective lesson in conflict management and keep away the unnecessary stress that comes along at work. Sometimes, staying during those heated discussions or unacceptable meetings could be a great way to find a better solution (unemotionally).

Lastly, remember that when one is submissive, a lot of help and sympathy comes along. But when one takes a stand to change the status-quo and build a better life, you might face a lot of wrath and unnecessary accusations. Just stand your ground and be heard where its important. Everything else will follow.

(PS: thank you for taking out those precious moments and giving me an opportunity to voice the chaos).

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Trehan
Associate Director, Marketing, SugarBox

Bringing up a 7 year-old boy and building a career in Communications have possibly been the key driving forces in my life! Obviously, apart from the 6am runs and eternal love for black coffee. The reality of 2020 hit this industry with the worst storm, but gave me a silver lining through awards & recognition in the 40Under40 category for PR and Corporate communication professionals (three of them in one year!). My goal is to keep - Communications - as the big picture, whilst being the wanderlust traveller who is reading all the time!

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