Empowering More Women



PAY IT FORWARD

Heather Saville Gupta, Executive Coach, lends insight on the phenomenon of 'Pay It Forward' - a simple process to pass on the baton of goodness and grace, in an effort to championing women.

 

We all know how challenging it can be for women to succeed in the workplace. There are so many obstacles in our career paths – from getting the job in the first place, to potential husbands who want us to stay at home, to companies prejudiced against us because we are of child bearing age and our own lack of confidence, which can manifest as the “imposter syndrome” – making us feel incapable, even when we’re highly qualified. 

Despite these setbacks and difficulties, many of us succeed in the workplace, and go on to hold positions of power and influence. But how many of us think about giving something back, by helping other women who are struggling below us?

The concept of “pay it forward” is well known. The rules are simple – when good things happen to you, you pay forward the good fortune you’ve had by doing something for someone else. This is not positive discrimination - this is giving other women a helping hand.

Here are a few ways in which we can support other women and “pay it forward”:
1. We can recognize potential and create opportunities for women to shine

Men often shout louder then women, and they are more inclined to “fake it till they make it”. Women, on the other hand, tend to need more encouragement. If we see unsung potential in women who are struggling to be heard, we should listen.

2. We can set a different tone in a male dominated environment.

Many companies have male dominated senior management teams. While there are obvious exceptions, a male bias can create a particularly aggressive type of culture, which women can find difficult to navigate. Even if we are tempted to be more aggressive to “fit in”, we don’t need to be. Let us find our own voice and  trust that it will be heard.

3. We can be there for advice, support or just a listening ear

Having a mentor is an awesome thing. Having a female mentor is even better. Empathy. Understanding. “Been there, done that”. Consider giving some of your time to help, guide, mentor and inspire women, when they need it most. Having this kind of support can be a game changer.

4. We can champion efforts and ability, and ensure that voices are not getting lost.

Men usually shout louder than women. And unlike many other countries, India is a very “shouty” culture. Often, our voices get lost in all that sound and fury. Additionally, women often find it difficult to talk about their achievements.  If you’re a female leader, create opportunities for the quieter ones to be heard and help showcase their successes.

5. We can help build a more flexible culture

Companies often don’t want to embrace more flexible working styles, which suit new mothers and women returning to the workforce. They prefer to have their employees where they can see them – it’s all about being there rather than being productive. Women are often cited as brilliant multi-taskers – we are used to keeping many balls in the air, and there’s no reason why we can’t be super effective when working remotely. Let’s start more flexible trends in our own companies.

So these are just a few ways that we can “pay it forward” and support other women. Do share your stories, and help inspire others.

 

 

 

 

Author Profile
In a career spanning more than two decades, Heather has worked with some of the world’s top companies and has held senior client servicing roles in advertising in the UK and Asia, before switching to HR, heading the department in 3 companies in India. She recently launched her own business, as an ICF trained Executive Coach, HR Consultant and Trainer. She is particularly passionate about training young talent and supporting emerging leaders.

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