This year, we saw an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights,
equality and justice. Whether it was in the form of global marches and
campaigns, including #METOO and #TimesUP. Echoing the same sentiments, UN
Commission called out for a new Action – #TimeisNOW. Never has been the call
for equality been more imperative or so collaborative. While many will debate
about the purpose of celebrating just ONE DAY of the Year for Women’s Day –
but remember till we really gain the equal opportunity for all, we need to grab
each day till we transform this momentum into Action.
That’s exactly what we intend to do. This weekend, we joined Global Movement
of women mentoring other women & girls. We walked in #GlobalMentoringWalk
with more than 100,000 women & girls walking in more than 150 walks in 60
countries. As part of Vital Voices Fellow network and as a Flag bearer of the
walks in India & Singapore, we partnered with more than 20 walks across India
& Singapore. It is our duty to share our learnings and insights with future
generation and help another woman. It is indeed true that as soon as power is
shared it expands.
But as we said, it cannot be one-day affair. It is a call out for a long term
sustainable activation. Our journey continues with series of inspiring sessions
with our inclusion champions. We are launching three new Mentorship
programs focusing on Social Entrepreneurs and Women on Boards. And we are
committed to support our top 100 BD Fellows in the network for next 5 years
who would be going for year long “UnLTD” program sponsored completely by us.
We would be honouring and celebrating many champions and role models at I
Inspire 2018. And the list continues.
So Yes, Women’s Day is not one DAY. It is everyday because #TimeisNOW.
As I drove on the roads of Gurgaon, I saw many children running at the traffic signals waving the tricolor flags and trying to cajole passersby to buy them. The windows of the car would roll down, and someone would give them little change in lieu of the flags. This made me ponder on the eve of 71st Independence Day – “Have we truly achieved our Independence?” While we have claimed our sovereignty from the foreign rule many years ago, but do we truly have freedom of living in a dignified manner.
Everyday, we experience this disparity closely, but we have become so immune to it that we turn a blind eye towards it. In a nation, where manual scavenging is still a profession for many, casteism still rampant with many not having access to basic amenities like education and sanitation, we need to ask ourselves what does independence truly mean. Even after so many years of independence, women cannot venture out to pursue education or careers due to the fear for their own safety. They are not free to express their opinions without being trolled – whether online or offline.
We call ourselves a free nation, but do not have the freedom to choose what we eat, what we wear or even whom we love. The land where marital rape is considered legal, women’s rights being secondary and article 377 still a sore point – is not really free.
Independence Day doesn’t mean one day of nationalist pride, it means a commitment to serve the nation in a truly inclusive way. We salute the brave hearts and heroes who fought in the freedom struggle but they dreamt of a nation of peace and harmony where people prospered. Until unless we eradicate these social evils, intolerance and learn to accept differences and celebrate them, the people in the country cant prosper.
I hope that someday, I will see those kids in schools unfurling the National Flag in their schools and not selling them on traffic signals which would be trampled upon by cars the next day. It is our duty to make the dream of a progressive nation with all citizens having equal rights to live with dignity come true.
As I read the news of Travis Kalanick, CEO Uber of stepping down, I wondered if the story for Uber would have unfolded differently if they would have more transparent and inclusive culture at their workplace. The story of Uber, one of the world’s most valuable venture backed company is no doubt in crisis. In its success too, one cant ignore the failure of its leadership. Startups & Tech Industry have struggled for years with diversity and inclusion. The fact that Uber could become such an influential global powerhouse while seemingly neglecting its own workplace is in itself a paradox. The pressure for startups to grow fast — and the prospect of profits or an enriching “exit” for investors — can be blinding.
The way we work in the future will look vastly different to today’s landscape. Gone are the days when we would do daily commute to an office where people arrive with their coffees ready for the designated 40-hour week. Globally, experts predict that the workplaces of tomorrow will be more flexible, collaborative and mobile. To cope with this dynamic changing workplace scenario, the leaders also need to be equipped to manage this diversity effectively. Our Future of Work Research which interviewed more than 20 CHROs across various industries found that new technologies, data analytics, job sharing, social networks, flexibility are having a huge impact on how people communicate, collaborate and work. Traditional career models will be thing of past and so will be the traditional model of leadership.
The way talent seek careers and projects has already impacted how the workplace is designed. In the pursuit of attracting and retaining the best talent, most of the organisations including startups have been wooing talent with freebies and esops. But time and again, it has been proven that this is not enough. Organisations need to create workplaces where people want to be, somewhere that stimulates their thinking and importantly allows them to work in the way they need to. It should encourage collaboration and transparent culture. It is seen that diverse talent seek and value more diverse & inclusive workplaces. But how do we measure that?
Though it is becoming commonplace for big tech companies globally to divulge the demographics of their employees, it wasn’t that long ago that some of the best known names were not too keen to do so. They knew they would not look too god while doing it so. The same story is still applicable in India. While sharing of data and numbers did not look feasible for many organisations, we thought it would be encouraging to share some of the best practices from leading inclusive organisations. In this decade, where the industry is witnessing a “war of talent” this would help other organisations to follow suit and attract the best talent for them. Hence in 2018 we would be coming with Research – sharing of best of Inclusion in India Inc. This hopefully would pave a path for a more quantitative measure of Diversity & Inclusion for India Inc in future.
Business transformation is dynamic and we need to embrace change to thrive in such an ambiguous environment. This is only possible by embracing people’s differences, leveraging them and creating positive linkages between people, organisations and community. It’s a journey that impacts all of us, so we all need to be on board. Change is the ‘new norm’ and we need to champion it as such.
“Mom, we won the match!” shouted my 10 year old son as he got home from school. “Akshi was too cool. She took the last goal in the last 4 minutes to spare”.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear him raving about his team mate who is a girl playing in his school soccer team. This gave me hope and made me think how times have changed. While I was growing up, girls were expected to play with dolls and playing with the “boys” in a football field was unthinkable. Gender norms have blurred over the years and have created space for both girls and boys to explore their creative self without any cultural inhibitions. Games and activities offer a fun way for young children to learn about differences and similarities among people and to introduce the concept of diversity – which is all about accepting and respecting the differences.
As social realities change, perceptions of just what non-discrimination looks like have also evolved. The mainstream media have started portraying modern women as strong women making pro career choices even during pregnancy. This is a welcome change from women seen as stereotypical housewives or damsels in distress. Men are shown as equal partners in household work and championing women in their choices. But with these choices, come the responsibility to be a positive influence for your own self, family, colleagues and community. The Women on Influence workshop will help participants to discover their untapped potential and learn new ways to reframe resolve their problems.
While changes are visible, there is still long way to go for a truly inclusive society. We celebrate the spirit of diversity in India with various cultures, festivals and religions, but it would have been more meaningful if we could celebrate different ideologies and differences. Today, many countries, including Brazil, Finland and Spain, recognize same-sex partnerships, while others offer legal protections for children born out of wedlock and for single-parent families. This is still unthinkable in India. Article 377 is still a sore point of debate and also a tool for discrimination.
Diversity as an idea also has to evolve with the times. I am hoping that by the time our kids grow up – they will not question race, religion, nationality or gender. Its no longer just about gender equality – but it’s about Human equality. Its about respecting one human being to another. Its about inclusion which is truly meant for all.
For the same reason, we started on a mission to include diverse voices from all walks of life. The initiative Diverse Dialogues and BD Think Tank Forum builds linkages between corporates, communities and people to discuss, debate and find solutions to create a more inclusive world.
We hope these initiatives will help us to understand different point of views and help us to accept and respect differences. We look forward to your continued support and participation in these discussions.
Love & Trust
This article was first published on Shethepeople.tv. Please read the article here
We are proud to announce the launch of the new company logo as part of the ongoing evolution of our organisation. Our vision has grown and evolved over the last 5 years, and we feel it is time for our brand to mirror this evolution. Changing business realities, client needs and new technologies, made us realise it was time to revamp our brand, to reflect on who we are today and symbolise our dynamic future. This wasn’t a decision we made lightly. It was difficult for us to say Good Bye to Biz Divas and the beautiful Butterfly logo. It symbolised us for a long time and we are sad to see it go…but we are even more excited to bring in the new. Change is good, and even necessary.
With the official launch of BD Foundation, I thought that it would be a good time to update everyone on where Biz Divas is going and what you can expect next. Over the last few weeks we’ve poured our hearts and souls into this re-launch, we’re very happy with it and are confident that you will be too
So far, a number of our partners have already been able to experience and become familiar with the new look. The comments that we’re receiving are very, very positive. Thank you to those organisations and businesses for providing the feedback and helping us every step of the way through the process.
So what’s new?
We’ve completely redesigned our brand and logo and we are now called ‘BD Foundation”. BD stands for “Beyond Diversity”. We want to be a catalyst creating an ecosystem where differences are appreciated and utilised. We want to move ‘beyond diversity’ to create a more inclusive world
We have already begun the process of switching out the old with the new… we expect the complete transition to happen in a few weeks. We believe that this shift to the new brand reflects our company’s mission and passion – and we think it looks pretty good too!
Of course, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or just want to chat, let us know… we’ll keep you updated as we get closer to the launch.