What Women in India Want, Think & Do to Succeed (PT 2)

As India surges forward on many fronts, does it take its women along with it?

In this 3-part series, Ritika Bajaj asked this question and more to three distinguished women from diverse professional spheres. Here you will read their candid, diagnostic and reflective answers about the travails and triumphs of women working in India. Neera Saggi, Dharmendar Kanwar and Freyaz Shroff talk about their own survival strategies and mantras on success as they provide valuable insights to other women who want to grow their own careers and still retain their individual identities…

Dharmendar Kanwar writer, heritage conservationist and promoter of tourism  in Rajasthan India The Way Women Work interviewDharmendar Kanwar is a full-time writer, heritage conservationist and promoter of tourism in Rajasthan, India.

In an illustrious 25-year career, her contribution to the promotion of Rajasthan’s art and architectural heritage was recognized by the Government through a grant and state award. She has written scripts for television documentaries and contributed stories and photographs to major magazines and newspapers in India.

She is currently Convenor of the Jaipur Chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

Challenges faced by Indian working women:

DK: I think the first, and biggest, challenge for a working woman is maintaining a balance between her office and her home and ensuring neither is compromised. The second would be to accept that the workspace isn’t always conducive to her progress and to still continue to work closely with men at a healthy distance. The third major challenge is the gender bias that starts right from the stage of recruitment and even later, when colleagues underestimate the capabilities of their female colleagues, especially in the corporate sector.

Opportunities vis-a-vis other countries:

DK: Over the years, with a dynamic woman Prime Minister, a woman President and several successful women in varied fields, there is greater acceptance of working women in India. Despite the fact that discrimination still exists, a large number of Indian women have been able to cross barriers and are successful in areas that were earlier considered men’s domains. Many of the working women, who control their own income, seem to have gained much more in terms of confidence and are now able to take a stand against any injustice in and around their homes or place of work.

Speaking out, being heard:

DK: I have done some pioneering work in restoration in Rajasthan but not talking about it meant that there was no official acknowledgement from people who mattered. Then, a few years ago, I started talking about my work and it has changed things to a large extent. It took several published books before I could gather the courage to even call myself a writer but now I am a lot more accessible and visible, especially on social media. I learned it too late in life but I would say it certainly pays to speak up and be heard!

Promotional tools used:

DK: I am on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and also have my own website. It’s a strong presence on the net at all times. The nature of my job is such that I need to constantly provide information, spread awareness, connect with like-minded people and provide support where needed.

Top 3 Success Mantras

  1. Commitment: For any job what is of primary importance is a commitment towards your chosen area of work because without that you’re not really working – you’re just keeping yourself busy.
  2. Responsibility: I take full responsibility of the work that I handle. I always give my best to all my projects till they are successfully completed.
  3. Focus & Dedication: Single-minded dedication and passion have been key factors in my career success. One must work hard regardless of the end result. Every single person I work with should have confidence in my deliverables. There really is no short-cut to success; it is only dedication that puts you above the rest.

Read PART 1: Interview with former government worker of 28 years who is now the chief executive overseeing a billion dollar construction project Mumbai – Neera Saggi.

Read PART 3: Interview with the founder of strategy consulting firm KurNiv Success Solutions – Freyaz Shroff.