Women and work - then, now and in future

Women and work - then, now and in future

Women Entrepreneurship

Summi Gambhir

Summi Gambhir

332 week ago — 3 min read

This Women's Day, let us take a moment to reflect on two things. The first are the factors holding women back from fulfilling their leadership potential at the workplace. The second is the sea of change that has seen women progress so far and fast in the journey towards equality in the workplace and society.


Women are certainly acknowledged to be harder working than men, if only by sheer variety of work they undertake or even their elongated hours of work. Yet, the male in the home is always looked upon as the ‘breadwinner’. 

It is clear that the issue is less about who works harder, but more about who is employed and the primary wage earner. 

The issues that have traditionally held women back from working for employment or vocation have included: 

Familial & societal norms 
Women had roles to play in a family – cooking, cleaning, and raising children. That did not give them much option to seek wage earning roles (other than when it was an issue of survival of the family). Increasing nuclear families is changing this aspect and more working women are emerging in urban and rural settings. 

Thou shalt bear and rear our child 
Most working women would choose to quit their jobs once into pregnancy or surely after child birth. With break, would come a breaking of their confidence and the paucity of active working time. As employers are becoming progressive in providing greater leave of absence and in providing crèches and day care in or around work places, this issue should be better addressed. Even the government has demonstrated its position by seeking a six month paid maternity leave for pregnant women. 

Shattering the glass ceiling 
A number of women entrepreneurs and executives have started to shatter the glass ceiling – a ceiling of perception about their abilities and resilience at the work place. Chanda Kochhar, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Falguni Nayyar and several hundreds of women have helped change the traditional mould women were cast in. 

In time to come 
We have already begun crossing the hump and soon, we should see fewer discussions and debates around the subject. For girls brought in homes by working mother, domesticated home makers is already an alien concept and soon women will be recognised as the ‘breadwinners’ as much as winners of accolades.