Remember to respect, and break stereotypes

On the occasion of ‘International Day of Girl Child’, Barbie felicitated World para-badminton champion Manasi Joshi with a Barbie doll modelled after her. Their clear story to the world was insisting on accepting women as role-models, even with disabilities. Sometimes you need a credible brand to set a benchmark for change. Maybe break stereotypes, in a way. 

But accepting women across different spectrum of life and race – is that enough? Has one witnessed enough change in the grassroots level? Not sure, if we have a definite answer. And now you would wonder how does the topic of “women equality” fit into a communicators article? Because the PR and Corporate Communications fraternity could be a strong catalyst in ensuring change. What with so many awards and forums recognising talent, could there be enough push to understand the need for “respecting” talent as well. 

Forums such as WICCI – Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; ET Women’s Forum; CII Indian Women Network; Women Economic Forum – are all working towards the empowerment and enlightenment through collaborative efforts. Just as these forums are working hard to bring about change, maybe we as communicators can start building an inside-out approach, within our organisations. Support talent and not disrespect any individual’s growth, irrespective of the race or gender. Build a better intra-network for the women to contribute, despite of personal struggles. Similar to AXIS Bank’s initiative, create more opportunities for women to restart their careers after a break for motherhood. 

Sometimes opportunities are abundantly available, but what lacks is the prism of respect for them. Often the stereotypes within our society build fortresses around possibilities for change. 

An interesting initiative – IFUNDWOMEN – offers support to women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, through capital and connections. This effort is actively supported by Visa, for ensuring women get equal opportunities to grow. 

My years at Colgate-Palmolive and Castrol India, were indeed an introduction into how global brands extend support to their women employees, through the journey of life. Especially, the phase of motherhood, through flexible work-hours, maternity leave, understanding personal struggles and much more. As a communicator, I could personally witness that the organisations were focused on building an environment that respect talent, across all genders. It was the unsaid motto, on the wall. And my induction into thinking equal for all, got stronger, as a communicator. 

There is no denial that our industry has some fabulous mentors, who aid support for talent across all stages of their careers. A lot of women in leadership roles have personally crafted growth path for budding communication professionals. What’s inspiring is that there are innumerable silent warriors focused on bringing about change, without crying for the lack of opportunity. Because they worked on creating many more. 

So, lets all pledge to respect talent and help break stereotypes. As communicators, we can design stronger narratives and build better stories to initiate change. 

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

Pooja Trehan
Pooja Trehan, AVP, Communications & Public Policy.

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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