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Last Updated Friday April 28 2017 01:59 AM IST

Why women get stuck at middle-level management

P Kishore
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Career Women

Across the globe, women professionals are left with a difficult choice – family or career? Girls have a head start in the initial days of their corporate careers because of their communication skills and overall smartness. They easily go up the ladder. The pace, however, slows once they get married. They take timeout to give birth and to tend to their babies.

This explains the abnormal rate of men beyond the middle-level management. Men who lagged in the initial days overtake women who go on maternity or childcare leave. After all, they do not have to take care of the children, cook food or manage home. They can focus on their careers. They can play golf or nurse their single malts when they are off from work.

These are not just leisure activities. Drinking and golfing ensure that you are in the league of corporate honchos. These seemingly innocent activities are actually opportunities to project yourself as a potential candidate for that dream job. Women were late to realise the potential of these events. They seldom skip an office party anymore.

But parties are time-consuming activities. Women find it difficult to spare a couple of hours for a party amid the fine balance between work and life.

Women’s careers are determined by three ‘Cs’, says Inc CEO Lakshmi Pratury. Circumstances, conditioning and conviction. Circumstances pose a setback for women as they hamper the development of skills. They have to overcome various types of conditioning such as the mental image that family always takes priority. They need conviction to achieve their goals.

Banking and insurance managements were out of bounds for women until a few years ago as they were deemed lacking in calculations and cunning.

The recent years present a very different picture. Women rule the top management of banking and insurance in India, including SBI’s Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI’s Chandra Kochhar, Axis Bank’s Shikha Sharma, General Insurance Corporation’s Alice Vaidyan, HSBC’s Naina Lal Kidwai, PNB’s Usha Ananthasubramanian, JP Morgan’s Kalpana Morparia and Kotak Mahindra’s Santhi Ekambaram.

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