IIM A PGPX Diaries: Term I completed |1st Milestone reached

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June 6, 2017. 4.00 PM. I have couple of hours before I start my journey back home after end of Term 1 of PGPX – 1 Year MBA at IIM Ahmedabad. Program started on 13th April and it has been 8 weeks of roller-coaster ride. PGPX is a very intense and rigorous program. with an ongoing medley of classes, assignments, quizzes, cases and pre reads on any day. In term 1 we completed core courses in Accounting, Operations Design, Decision making, microeconomics, Marketing and Organization Behavior. Obvious learning is the direct knowledge and skills we gain from these courses taught by the best professors in the country but I am going to focus on the not so obvious learnings and experience of staying away from family.

New | Fresh | Different Perspectives

When you have worked in one function and one Industry, the perspective gets set in context of your function and Industry. The first step of learning here is to unfreeze the current perspective and then start looking at the problem, case and the world itself with new perspectives. Our batch is as diverse as you can get – doctors, lawyer, Ex Navy, CA, PSU and private sector professionals, with each one bringing a new perspective. Learning to look at the work and life with new perspectives and appreciating those different perspectives is one of top take away from this course.

Prioritization | Time management | Speed | Efficiency

Term 1 made us practice a very important tenet of productivity which is the ability to prioritize and manage our time more optimally. The fast pace and every day rigor of program teaches you an important lesson in prioritization of tasks and efficient time management, without which it wont be possible to complete the tasks at hand. Without prioritization of activities and proper time management, there is no way you can get through a day in PGPX.  Limited time and multiple heavy-duty cases in a day not only requires time management but also speed and efficiency in execution. I could see speed improving over the term. First few cases took much more time than the later ones.

Now how the mother in me got through the self-imposed exile and how did the kids manage.

Kids manage it better than adults. Kids are very resilient and out of sight, out of mind concept is pretty strong with kids as they live in present and haven’t learned to think and then miss what they do not see. It was very hard in the beginning for both sides but then we got used to the new normal. Also with grandparents at home and support system of helps, their school, routine and usual life at home was not interrupted. You must have good alternate support system set at home to continue life as usual in your absence. We settled into our new routines and weekdays passed by smoothly for me as well as kids.

Trouble was with weekends. Weekends are relatively challenging because that is when you spent maximum time at home with family. Everybody is at home on weekends and you are used to doing things together. Weekends were tough for me as invariably I would miss home and kids more. One more reason was that weekends was when we were talking more and video chatting more and when you see each other, you miss them more. Video chatting is a double-edged sword, you want to see your family but when you see them you miss being with them.

Get a routine for communication set. Figure out what works best for you and set a routine for talking and video chatting everyday. I would talk briefly to my children when they are leaving for school in the morning and when they are back from school and then at night before they went to sleep. Nothing could replace the physical presence but at-least  predictable times set for talking brought some stability and security that I am just a call away and they could share experiences at school and home with me on a real-time basis. I would also keep a tab on if everything at home was being run as it should.

How did you manage home, kids and work together? This was the questions asked by my husband after first few weeks of him taking up my role at home. There are few things in life which you are able to appreciate fully when you experience it yourself. It was one of them. For him, it was first time real-time experience of how challenging and stressful at times it is for working mothers to continuously juggle between responsibilities of home, children and work with all being equally important.

My biggest achievement of Term 1 would be that I managed to do something I couldn’t imagine doing ever – staying away from my children. I hadn’t stayed even a single day away from my kids since they were born and it has been 50 days since I last saw them. I really had doubts If I would be able to do this but I managed to do it and it has powered my determination and self belief so much that now I feel like I can take on any challenge. This was the toughest challenge I had ever taken in my life as I take my role as a mother very seriously. What possibly could be harder for a mother than to voluntarily stay away from her children.

I have been eagerly waiting for this day to come. In my mind, I have run multiple times the moment when I would see my children and hug them. Umpteen times I have felt the joy of anticipation of seeing innocent faces of my children and finally be able to hug them(something you can not do in video chat). As I sign off on this blog, my taxi is here to get me started on my long awaited trip to home and to my kids.  See you in Term 2.

You are a leader in making. Act like one.

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Sometimes, it’s “what you don’t say” counts more than what you say. Perception is as important as reality, if not more. When it comes to branding, perception decides the brand value. Personal branding is important to build to reach corner offices and boardrooms. It is true for everyone and more for women because women have to overcome a subtle gender bias against their capability and potential to reach the top and lead an organization. You don’t have to be the smartest and most knowledgeable to be perceived as a leader. You have to be perceived to be smarter than others. All leaders are judged by their body language. Importance of nonverbal communication is depicted in graph below, a result of research by Dr.Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA.

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Following are some recommended body language do’s which women should exhibit to be perceived as powerful and a confident leader.

  1. Work on your voice and watch you voice tone:

As per this study : people who put out the right kind of sounds—below the range of conscious human hearing—become the leaders of most groups. The process of picking a leader has more to do with having the right kind of voice than it does having the right ideas or the right physique. You can work on your voice, and produce a leadership-quality sound.

2. Establish and maintain an eye contact

Eye contact conveys trustworthiness. People who meet your gaze seem sincere and trustworthy, while those who don’t seem either dishonest or lacking in confidence. However, too much eye contact can be uncomfortable  Studies suggest the proper amount of eye contact in the U.S. and many other countries should be between 50% and 60 % of the conversation, mostly when listening.

3. Use appropriate hand gestures

Hand gesture can complement the words you are speaking. Try Steepling which is a body posture when someone brings their hands up towards their chest or face and presses the tips of their fingers together. This is a gesture of confidence, self-assuredness and even superiority.

4. Use power poses 

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Take your space. Women tend to minimize the space they occupy through pulling in their bodies and minimizing their space. An outstretched, open posture projects an image of power and confidence. Research at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools shows that simply holding your body in “high-power” poses (leaning back with hands behind the head and feet up on a desk, or standing with legs and arms stretched wide open) for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone—the hormone linked to power and dominance—and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.too. Power poses are great way to boost your confidence and portray leadership potential.

4. Firm handshake

People with weak handshake are judged to be passive and less confident. Face the other person squarely and make sure you have palm to palm contact. Shake the hand firmly and for at least few seconds.

5. Remaining calm and composed

Women have a tendency to go overboard on expressing themselves and their emotions. Expressing too much can overwhelm your audience. Be watchful of your expressions and hand movements to appear in control and mature. Calmness and composure are often associated with leadership and authority.

6.  Be business like

Maintain a distance literally and figuratively. Smile but do not smile excessively. Do not flirt. There shouldn’t be any ambiguity about your intentions. Control perceived girlish behaviours such as twirling your hair, playing with jewellery such as rings or biting your nails. These things also convey sign of nervousness and lack of confidence.

7. Speak more in negotiations

Research has confirmed that in negotiations men talk more frequently than women and interrupt frequently. Do not keep waiting for your turn to speak because you might not have it if you leave to others to let you speak. There is a famous quote by former secretary of state of US, who when asked what advice she had for women professionals, replied, ” Learn to interrupt”.

Good news is that body language behavior can be learned and internalized with practice. Communication skills are key to be an effective leader and one can not rely on only instinctive behavior when it comes to nonverbal communication. In order to be successful leader, one has to be aware of signals sent by non verbal cues and choose appropriate body language to convey more power, confidence, and leadership potential.

Reference : http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2013/11/body-language-alphas-nonverbal-secrets-leader/

 

Women Empowerment lessons from movie Dangal

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“Maari chhoriyan  chhoron se kam hai ke”

Translated in english it means – ” Are my girls any less than boys?

What a line. If one line can transform lives, then it has to be this line which summarizes the core of this inspiring story. It is this belief of Mahavir Singh Phogat, the erstwhile wrestler that changes the destiny of phogat daughters and of future generations of women wrestlers. This is such a powerful line and shows through movie the potential of outcomes when girls are believed to be equal to boys. The movie Dangal which is a biopic on women wrestling champions -Geeta and Babita Phogat is special because it depicts an inspiring journey of a father and his girls who dare to dream and make that dream come true even when all adds were stacked up against them.

Odd # 1 Family lives in  socially regressive Haryana infamous for skewed sex ratio, female feticide and khaps.

Odd # 2 Lower middle class family with limited resources and more vulnerable to societal pressure. ” What people will say” matters in that world.

Odd # 3 Choosing a uncoventional career which is unfavorable to women – wrestling. Traditionally wrestling has been a male domain and when you imagine a wrestler, you imagine a man. It was akin to imagining the unimaginable, doing the undoable.

Geeta won gold at commonwealth games and has been the first woman wrestler from India to qualify in Olympics. The legendary story of Mahavir Phogat making wrestling champions out of his daughters is told through a high-profile motion picture – Dangal and has also many lessons for women empowerment. Let’s take a look at them:

Lesson # 1  Children’s(specially girls) destiny lies in hands of parents to a larger extent.

While it is true everywhere and for all children, this is particularly true for Girls in India specially in small towns, in regressive societies and lower socioeconomic families. The eureka moment was when the father realises that his daughters have potential and the gender doesn’t matter in fulfilling his dream of making his child an international wrestling champion. What matters is that parents believe in gender equality and provide girls equal opportunities and choices. It was a girl who was being married off at young age and was unhappy about it makes young Geeta and Babita see that how lucky they are to have a father like Mahavir who has not thrown them into life of early marriage/domesticity and is giving them a shot at life same as any son would have got. Indeed if it was not for a social barriers breaking father like Mahavir Singh Phogat, Geeta and Babita’s destinies would have been same as other girls of their age, place and time. There would have been neither the inspiring story nor the movie to write about.

Lesson# 2 Social Barriers, Stereotypes and glass ceilings have to be broken once and they remain broken for all.

While the movie mainly covered the journey of Geeta’s making into a wrestling champion and it mirrors the life of similar other women wrestlers. Why Geeta’s story is significant because it was she and with her Mahavir Phogat who breaks first time the social barriers  and gender stereotypes.  On every step of the journey , a stereotype or social barrier was broken and prevailing rulebook was challenged :

  • Girls starting physical training to be wrestler.
  • Girls shunning traditional wear for boys clothes – shorts and Tee
  • Girls cutting the long hair for boy cut. Even mother cried here.
  • Cooking non vegetarian food in a vegetarian household. Mother too resisted this.
  • Wrestling with boys in dangal.
  • Mocked by school friends, neighbors, sports officials and who not.

When Babita or other girls would have gone through same path, it must have been somewhat easier for them as the glass ceiling was already broken and rule book already changed. It was now under imagination that a girl can also be a wrestler. That’s why it is so important for any glass ceilings/ barriers/stereotypes to be broken first time as it paves the way for others who would walk the same path. Somebody has to break the social barriers and barriers remain broken for all. It not only serves the person breaking it but indirectly empowers all who come after them and that’s why their stories are celebrated and lauded.

Lesson # 3  Conviction. Focus on goals. Self Belief. Hard work. Sacrifices & trade-offs.

Evergreen recipe for success. Father’s conviction in his own dreams and in turning that dream into reality led to convictions of all around him, mother and daughters themselves. There were also sacrifices made. The phogat girls didn’t have normal childhood or any other regular pleasures of children of their age in pursuit of a larger goal in life.

Lesson # 4 Success changes everyone’s negative attitude into positive

The same society which was mocking the phogat family starts respecting them and welcomes the champion Geeta like a hero and she becomes pride of her village. Even though society and others will discourage girls from pursuing their dreams or any unconventional career but if you achieve success, fame and money, the same people will not only accept you but also respect you. Success changes people’s perspectives and persepctives matter.

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Real Mahavir Singh Phogat with his girls and medals. Source: Rediff.com

Night before the final bout of commonwealth games, father tells Geeta that this fight is not only with opponent but with the ” mindset” that girls are not equal to boys and this mindset is root cause for gender inequality, denying girls opportunities to life, career and choices. Cheers to Geeta who proved his father’s belief in her right but she couldn’t have done if it had not been for his father, the real hero of this story, Mahavir Singh Phogat- a brave man, an inspiring father and a social barriers shattering figure not only for his daughters but for all young girls and their parents in this country. Salute to him for believing that “maari chhoriyan chhoro se kam hain ke”.

Are we falling into “Gender Trap” when raising children ? PART II

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Source: Quoteaddicts.com

Read more about importance of raising children in gender neutral way in my PART I of this blog series. Here are few more questions we must be asking ourselves as parents to make sure that we are not falling into gender traps in raising our children.

Are we encouraging gender stereotypical behaviours in our children. Girls – feminine. Boys – Masculine?

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Source: Pinterest

Look at the list here. Are we consciously or unconsciously encouraging behaviours which reinforce gender stereotypes? Do we tell girls to speak softly, be gentle, not to interrupt and wait more for their chance to speak at cost of becoming passive, submissive and fragile.Are we encouraging boys to become manly right from childhood by telling things such as ” boys don’t cry, don’t be weak and encouraging rough and tough behaviour? Have you ever dismissed an inappropriate behaviour of your son by thinking ” boys will be boys”?

Are we setting girls on unending pursuit of beauty and perfection ?

Are we focusing on appearance of our girls and talent of boys?  Does appreciation for our girls focus around them being pretty and beautiful. Do we often tell our boys that they are smart and intelligent? Media messaging is already doing so by tagging beauty and pretty with advertisements targeted at girls. Look at the magazine cover below. As per the magazine, girls life and efforts should be around dream hair, fashion and waking up pretty rather than exploring future and careers as in Boys life cover.

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Source: Huffingtonpost.com

A graphic artist designed her own cover based on the message she thought Girls’ Life should convey as below. Why should a girl’s only worries be about her looks, makeup and fashion.

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Source:Cateherineyoungcreative.com

Are we promoting different set of rules for girls and boys ?

Do we believe that working or pursuing careers post education is optional for girls and mandatory for boys? This is a key one here, doing as above is one reason for the leadership pipeline leakage of women in corporate and why women voluntarily drop out of organised workforce. There has to be one set of rules. Optional or mandatory whatever you tell them has to apply to both genders. I can not stress the importance of teaching your children especially daughters the significance of being financially independent and carving out an identity for themselves outside of roles of a daughter, wife and mother.

Are we promoting gender specific subjects and careers ?

Are we promoting subjects tagged to genders through misconceptions such as Maths – Boys and Languages – Girls. Most of the time these are prophecies which prove themselves true for simple reason that you are going to do well in anything you believe you can do well and put in the required hard work to master a subject. Are we encouraging indirectly  stereotypical career streams such as Teaching /Medical or Fashion/Design for girls and Engineering/Science/Robotics for boys.

Are we teaching our kids gender equality values in sharing household chores? 

Are we asking our girls to help in kitchen and household chores but not the boys ? This one is also very important. If we need to increase participation of man in sharing household chores in future, we need to expose children to gender equality in kitchen early on. As per a research, on an average, an indian man spends only 19 min on household chores compared to  104 minutes a man in Denmark spends on doing household chores. Indian men have a lot to catch up.

If anytime as a parent, you have a yes as answer to any or many of questions raised above, it is time for you to think deeply, reflect on serious repercussion of your choices as parents will have on future of your children and on what person they are to become in future. You need to quoterealize the subtle and subconscious gender stereotype traps you are falling into. You need to work to break free from gender stereotype shackles set in place by society since mankind evolved.

The best way to make a gender equal world is to raise children in gender equal way. If children would grow up to be adults who understand and believe in gender equality, that is the only way real and sustainable way to make a world which is fair to half of its population.

Recommended Read: google-tell-me-is-my-son-a-genius on nytimes

Are we falling into “Gender Trap” when raising children ? PART I

It is important for parents to evaluate periodically if they are raising their children in most gender neutral way? We should be mindful of not falling into the gender traps set by society since ages. W137039-quotes-about-raising-childrene don’t even realise that as parents we are allowing or sometimes even promoting behavior which is sowing seeds of gender inequality in young impressionable minds of our children. World is gendering little children and as a parent it is our responsibility to protect our children from getting stereotyped. Here are some key pertinent questions which would tell us if we are raising our children in gender neutral way.

Are we drowning our girls in ocean of pink ?

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. This one has gone too far. There is also a gender discrimination here as you do witness newborn boy babies getting gifts or apparel in blue color and newborn girls in pink but as they grow blue goes away and all colors except pink or peach come in for boys but girls are drowned in pink  for another 7-8 years. At Least it would have been fairer to girls if blue had stuck to boys the way pink stuck to girls but that’s not the reality. I have a 3-year-old daughter and without my ever picking up pink stuff for her or promoting pink as a color , pink is her favorite color. Everything she wants is in only one color and that’s pink. I do not know how to “de-pink” her and bring to her attention the diversity and beauty of all other colors. There is nothing wrong with pink color but then there is nothing special also about pink color which other colors don’t have. Just because she is a  girl, a child’s color palette should not be limited to pink or purple.

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Source: Pinterest

Are we choosing extracurricular activities classes for our children through invisible gender tinted glasses? Dance for girls and sports for boys – sounds familiar?

Activities beyond studies are very important as these activities not only shape a child’s personality but also shape his or her point of views and opinions. For children between age 3-8, when there isn’t any preference or particular interest of child, parents choose the activities which sometimes mirror their own interests and sometimes mirror gender stereotypical norms. In Dance classes, you would find more girls than boys and in sports classes, more boys than girls. I would recommend to expose your child to both and then let the child choose. Here also, many girls are kept away from sports & related activities only because  these have been categorised as boys stuff. Imagine what would have happened if Saina Nehwal or PV Sindhu would have not been introduced to badminton. A Sport not only teaches you a skill but also the lessons in teamwork and grit. Sports shape your personality. Let’s not keep our girls away from the amazing world of sports.

Are we choosing gender neutral toys for our children or as gifts for other children?

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Source: http://assets.change.org/

Why do we buy LEGO or Thomas & Friends engines for boys but not girls? Why does a girl get to play only with Barbie doll, read princess stories and watch movies such as Frozen. In my daughter’s second birthday, barring few, most of the gifts were either kitchens sets/house plays or Barbie related toys. Why don’t we gift girls Lego sets, cars or engines ? By not doing so, we deny them the exposure to another world itself and thus keep them away from developing multi dimensional interests and personality. Girls like Barbie because that’s what they get to play with- at home, in friend’s house or at birthday parties. Toys Industry is promoting gender stereotyping which contributes to gender inequality in a way. Visit any aisle of girls section in a toy store and you would find plenty of Kitchen sets, house sets, makeup kits, hair dryer kits and scores of barbie and her friends as if the world is getting young girls ready for their future jobs in kitchen and house. This one has serious repercussion in promoting gender inequality in household chores when these children grow up and are playing with real house and kitchen sets. Read my blog on gender inequality in sharing household chores  here.

Read further on gender traps when raising children in concluding PART II of this blog series.

The road to gender equality in workplace passes through home.

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Quite a few panel of experts and task forces have been set up to strategize on how to increase women representation in workplaces. What does not get due attention is the glaring gender inequality when it comes to sharing household chores at home. Women are not only struggling with the gender gap at work but also with chores gap at home. Traditionally home and children responsibilities rested with a woman and that was fair when women stayed home full time to look after home and children. Even as women are becoming a bigger and bigger part of the workforce, women still do most of the household chores and childcare leading to working two shifts – one in office and second at home.

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Social structures, Attitudes and extreme Gender stereotypes .

Gender inequalities in all areas are rooted in social structures but also in attitudes,” As per Professor Gillian Robinson, of the University of Ulster. For centuries women have been seen as care taker of home and children. It is very hard for larger part of society to break that stereotype mould and see a woman as a person with her own career dreams and ambitions. The problem is acute in socially conservative countries such as India where a man spends only 19 minutes per day on household work . In India, if a husband helps with household chores and with child care, the mother-in-law does not appreciate it because she thinks it is a woman’s responsibility. Though the new generation is changing and supporting women pursuing their careers, the older generation is sticking to the stereotypical expectations from daughter in law to take care of home and children irrespective of working full time in a job.

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Few ways in which chores gap could be closed:

Be assertive. Set the ground rules on sharing household responsibilities in the beginning itself.

Whether it is arranged marriage or love, you keep the views on sharing household work as fundamental principle on which both must agree. If any man is just and fair, he should have no reasons to not agree to share the workload at home if both the partners are working full-time. Unless you ask for it, why would anyone let go of the privilege a man has been awarded to sit and be served hot meals on the table. It is a check at ideological level and compatibility on this shared value is key to continuing your career in future stages of life with increasing load of additional responsibilities. On a lighter note, if it works as any incentive to a man – it is said  that no woman argues with a man doing household chores.

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This data is for US households. For Indian households, time spent by men on household activities is just 19 minutes per day.

Outsourcing household work to third-parties.

If at all, you are in a situation where due to any reason, your husband can not share the workload at home, next best option is to outsource the work to a third-party, if you can afford it. It is still better than doing the unequal share of work at home. Though parenting and overseeing household management can not be outsourced and would need to be shared.

Social Messaging has to get right.

Only women are shown doing household chores such as laundry or cleaning dishes. You take any advertisement of any product used in household chores, you would invariably see a woman doing it. The correct and fair messaging showing men also doing house chores can play a positive role in closing chores gap at home. Lately there have been some advertisements(Ariel #ShareTheLoad, a very good one) showing how unfair it is for working women to do all the work at home in addition to their office work. Even if it doesn’t change anything immediately, such constant messaging through popular communication channels would increase the awareness and possibly wake up the conscious of men, leading to a favourable change in attitude towards sharing chores load at home

 Raise children teaching the value of equal allocation of work at home

Sons are being raised as they have no responsibilities at home and daughters are being raised as it is going to their duty to take care of everything at home. Real change will come when children would see both the parents doing household chores. A new study this year showed that daughters are more likely to envision working outside of the home if their dad did household chores.When young boys and girls would see their dad also cooking, doing laundry and dishes, they would automatically internalize that this is how household work should be managed between a husband and a wife. Children always believe what they see rather than what you tell them. Creating an equal and fair environment at home will go long way in raising children with right values and a society which is just and fair to all.

Closing gender gap at home is key to closing gender gap in workplaces

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In a fair and just world, house responsibilities should be equally shared between man and woman, if both are working full time. But it is not the reality, men are yet not volunteering to share the workload at home though it is changing slowly. Many a time, a woman has to leave her job and exit the workforce to take care of home/children full-time because she is not able to manage both. The path to gender equality  in workplaces passes through the gender equality at home. Till we don’t close the gender gap in managing household responsibilities, working women would be overburdened with responsibilities of work and home. Women would be forced to make compromises on career, aborting their ambitions and letting go of opportunities to fully realize their potentials. We are not going to see more women in corner offices and boardrooms until we see men more in kitchen and laundry rooms.

How Technology Disruptions are Empowering Women

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Technology disruptions are transforming how we live our lives. Even if we may realize or not, we are benefiting from the breakthroughs in technology. As a woman, I feel blessed to be witnessing the technology disruptions and experience it in our daily life. In the last decade or so, there have been many groundbreaking business disruptions enabled by technology such as smartphones, high-speed internet, taxi apps, social media apps and so on. These innovations have not only transformed lives of billions of people across the world but also empowered women by making their lives easier, safer and more productive.

Here are key technology led business disruptors empowering women specially working women and are contributing indirectly in closing gender gap in workplace and society.

1. Taxi hailing apps. [Uber, Ola] Increase mobility. Affordable and safe travel.

2. Digital wallets.[Paytm, Freecharge]  Money at your fingertips rather than wallet

3. Online Retail. [Big Basket, Myntra]Freed time from shopping. Better work life balance

4. Social Media apps.[Facebook, LinkedIn] More business and networking opportunities

5. Freelancing apps. [ Upwork ]. Flexible work time and work type opportunities.

6. Free Blogspace [ WordPress]. Blogging revolution – food, fashion, you name it blogs

7. Messenger apps [Whatsapp] . New ways of selling. New business opportunities

8. Food  ordering apps[ Fresh Menu] : Less time in kitchen, more time for yourself.

9. Wearable tech [Fitbit]. Helps in staying fit and watching your diet.

10. Location tracking and safety apps[Staysafe]. : Track location and SOS calling.

11. Home and Local services apps [Urbanclap, Housejoy]. Order online, get serviced at home

Here is how these technology and business disruptions have empowered women:

1. Making day-to-day travel easier, safer and affordable

Before Uber and Ola, Autos and public transport buses were the only refuge of women for day-to-day travel. Public transportations do not give you flexibility of traveling at your choice of time. Autos are not safe and reliable. Hailing taxi through an app on your smartphone is relatively safer(not completely though), highly flexible and affordable. Taxi apps have made women more independent and in control of their day-to-day travel plans.

2. Improved work life balance for working women

It is a reality that working women are managing 2 full-time jobs, one at home and another at office. While there is little scope for maneuver to free time at office, one can work to save time spent in managing daily household chores. The boom of internet companies offering products or services delivered to your home have empowered women by helping them save time spent in managing household responsibilities. Online ordering and home delivery of key recurring purchases save time spent in physically visiting stores and shopping. This extra time gained can be spent with husband, children and on themselves. .

3. Improved safety and ability to get help in case of emergency

All smartphones are equipped with GPS and there are many safety apps which tracks your location and enables you to make SOS call in an emergency. Similarly school buses have GPS installed and you can track location of buses in which your children are traveling.

4. Flexibility in work and choice of new career opportunities

Women need flexibility of work hours, location and type of work during different stages of life. New economy jobs has empowered such women. There are many more options of part-time work through freelancing job marketplaces such as Upwork which enable women to work online and choose place, time and hours of work which suits their needs. Women are also able to choose and pursue new careers such as blogging through free blogspace providers such as wordPress. New channels of sales and marketing such ass Facebook, Instagram and whatsapp have empowered women running small businesses.

Some desired futuristic innovation and Tech disruptions which would really empower women and make their lives better.

1. Artificial Intelligence based products in following roles:

  • Virtual assistant : Assist us in running our daily lives. Take care of reading emails, sets reminders, reminds us for urgent tasks, tracks school buses , makes to do list and so on.( a la advanced version of Siri)
  • A virtual friend, philosopher and guide : Somebody who can keep us company all the time, somebody we can talk to and share our feelings( a la movie ” Her”). Built in intelligence to advice on important matters and help us in making key and trivial decisions. (a la IBM’s Watson)

2.  Advanced robots as house helps : Helps in cleaning, cooking, even babysitting.

3. Automated kitchens: Women really need some path breaking appliances which are affordable and reduce significantly the time spent in kitchen.  Indian cooking is really time intensive and women  desperately need next generation intelligent appliances. Wishlist – Roti maker, Dosa maker, currymaker.

4. Driverless cars : It is around the corner but hopefully is available soon in developing world too. Many women don’t know how to drive and not being in driving seat also give you extra time which can be utilised to get work done. Driverless cars might also be safer than traveling in taxis with drivers who are strangers to you.

Technology is touching and altering everybody’s life-like never before and I am a big fan and an early adopter of technology led products/services. I truly hope technology continues to keep disrupting the social order and keep empowering women and helping them in closing the gender gap.