Thursday , 21 November 2019
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(L-R) Dr Maria Aurora Couto, Brinda Somaya, Kshama Fernandes, Meera Shankar, Miti Desai and Sarita D’Souza at the panel discussion

Women achievers call for gender neutral education

PANAJ: While men in leadership positions are a well-known personalities, less is known of women leaders. Yet the journey of women achievers is even more interesting for the challenges and gender bias faced along the way.

This was highlighted during a panel discussion of five women from diverse fields who spoke on issues such as facing the glass ceiling and achieving resilience. Diplomat Meera Shankar, former Indian ambassador to USA and Germany, Brinda Somaya, architect and urban conservationist, Dr Maria Aurora Couto, writer- historian, Kshama Fernandes, managing director, Northern Arc and Miti Desai, classical dancer were the panelists.

Drawing from their personal experiences, they advocated a gender neutral education to better the situation for their fraternity. Shankar said that previously there was an unconscious bias in the Indian civil services that allowed women diplomats to do well at the junior level but not at the senior level. She added that the bias is changing and women diplomats are in better position today than before.

Fernandes pointed out that women leaders need more courage than their male counterparts. Dancer Desai said that women must be able to deal with negative stimulus if they want to achieve strong positions, while Somaya said that for women to become leaders a solid support system is necessary.

Noted historian, Couto, said, “Women today face far more challenging times than we did in the past. The sacrifices are enormous. They may flounder but not fall.”

‘Pathways to resilient leadership’ was the topic of the panel discussion at the Women’s Leadership Forum, organised by the Goa Institute of Management, Sankhali. The discussion was moderated by Sarita D’Souza, visiting faculty member at GIM.

Earlier during the day, Mridula Sinha, Governor, inaugurated the event. “Women are natural leaders. Empathy is a quality which is the hallmark of every great leader and one which women possess in plenty,” said the Governor.

GIM is celebrating its 25th year with a series of events themed on leadership.

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