Women Shining: What lies beneath?
The last week has seen a surge of nationalistic pride in the achievements of Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu. Many others also acquitted themselves better than Indian competitors have in the past. Public memory is short and we tend to forget but over the last 3 Commonwealth Games and Olympics, the medals tally and top 6-8 finishes for Women athletes from India has been growing exponentially compared to men.
As we engage with women across corporates, we are seeing a similar trend i.e. women are beginning to equal and even outperform men. If you’re at all curious, you begin to wonder why? Is it because women are feeling more emancipated? More confident? Getting more opportunities, you wonder? Probably yes, but there’s more.
YSC‘s research, based on 360 degree surveys of over 500 men and women, shows that men and women show up differently in terms of strengths.
|Differentiating strengths for men||Differentiating strengths for women|
This indicates that women place a higher emphasis on work ethic i.e. diligence, dutifulness and perseverance. And they take personal accountability for delivering results. This is further reinforced by a study by 3M which found that women work longer and harder than men.
Over decades of profiling/assessing senior leaders of both genders we have learned that, at senior leadership positions, women score higher on every competency when compared to men. This leads us to conclude that women have to be superior to male candidates when competing for a role at senior leadership. That while a reasonably competent man can be selected, a woman must be exemplary in order to earn the right to the same role. It is likely then, that this competitive scenario, drives women to work harder and build higher levels of skill.
Interestingly enough, it appears that the gender bias against women, has caused the modern woman to respond differently from her peers of earlier generations. No shrinking violet, today’s woman is taking the fight to the men, not by becoming like them but by being herself and becoming better than them.
As I write this, I have just heard that Aditi Ashok has been eliminated from the final round after an exceptional performance. No matter, she has brought Golf into mainstream consciousness for many Indian women, as has Deepa for Gymnastics and Mary Kom did for Boxing in years past.
As I observe the young Indian woman (my own daughters too) in every field of endeavour, I am assured of one thing, that Indian women are a force rising. They will continue to raise the bar and in the very near future, we will see women claiming their place in sports, organizations, politics and at home. As a tribute, I close with the words of the intrepid Rosa Parks.