When I was raising my daughters years ago, I was told by many family members that I should not waste my time educating them. Sadly, this is a prevailing attitude across India.I refused to listen to those who criticized my decision to educate my daughters because I saw no difference between my sons or daughters. In my eyes, they are equally capable. I knew my daughters were and are highly accomplished individuals who would be successful if given the right tools.
My daughters are now grown up and are an integral part of my company. It is because of them that an essential part of my organization is to push women’s empowerment at all levels of society. Women make up approximately half of humankind, so it makes no sense to ignore them and their abilities.
Providing women with equal opportunities is not only good for the company’s culture, it is great for the bottom line of our society as well. According to the Global Leadership Forecast, promoting more women to leadership positions is more profitable and sustainable.
“Our research reveals that companies that have reached an above-average level of gender diversity overall (at least 30 percent) and at the senior-level (more than 20 percent), outperform diversity laggards in key leadership and business outcomes,” the report notes.
While profitability is a vital component of any good business, making a meaningful impact on society should also be a factor in company culture. I can’t think of a better way to do this than to empower more women.
Empowering women has been a passion of mine since I began my business. Although I grew up in a patriarchal society, I have been surrounded by strong and intelligent women my whole life. When I visit the villages where our weavers work, I am astounded by the women artisans’ strength and intelligence.
When given a chance, these women – largely uneducated – display an immense amount of dedication and intelligence. They are often the sole breadwinners in their families. They are eager to work and produce such beautiful carpets. Many of these women move on to leadership roles, mentoring others along the way.
Although we do train our artisans, it is their attitude and mindset that makes a big difference. This applies to women across the board in leadership positions.
“On average, leaders from more diverse organizations weren’t particularly more skilled in any single leadership area,” the Global Leadership Forecast report continues. “Rather, they were more likely to demonstrate a strong focus on personal development.”
Including more women in at levels of an organization makes sense if you want your company to be successful and sustainable. Let’s not ignore half of the population any longer.