“Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”
Despite its growing economy, the issue of gender inequality continues to disrupt the socio-economic ethos in India. In our country, women continue to be excluded from the social, economic and political domains which show inadequate attention towards inclusive growth and unequal gender relations. The World Economic Forum ranked India 101 out of the 136 countries in the Gender Gap Index with a score of 0.655. Gender biases due to patriarchal culture and tradition continue to exist within the Indian household, impacting women’s lives in the public and private spheres.
However, not all is lost. Amidst all the bleakness, there is a silver lining with encouraging stories of women achievers coming into the limelight of late who have made India proud by their sheer grit, determination and hardwork. Right from fighting brilliantly in the battlefield to ruling the corporate world today in a male-dominated society, women have made a mark for themselves. These iconic women achievers have made the nation proud and inspired it from time to time with their amazing capabilities.
However, there are profound social and economic barriers to women’s achievements with complex webs of disadvantage impeding them from progressing at the same rate as men. This is evident from the gender pay gap and underrepresentation of women in senior positions in both the Government and the corporate sector.
With each woman shining, a family, a community and a generation shine. So it is important to publicize and celebrate women breaking the glass ceiling as it affects and inspires crores of lives. However, there is an equally important need to focus attention on the next step – making it easier for more women to get to the top. Sadly, it’s often the case that women’s achievements are hugely marginalised. This is best reflected in the limited air time and value given to women’s sport.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day this month, our Cover Story brings to its readers the motivational journey of technocrat Usha Sangwan who has shattered a major glass ceiling by becoming the first woman Managing Director of the State-run Life Insurance Corporation of India.
Her glorious journey of rising to a position that for decades has been a male bastion is an inspiration for crores of women in a world which stereotypes the finance sector to be a men’s domain.