Beyond Empowerment: Sushma Gaikwad, Director, Ice Global & Wizcraft MIME
There are many more women in the industry today than there were three decades ago and so many are leaving an indelible mark through their various achievements writes Sushma Gaikwad.
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I am often asked how it is to be a woman in a male dominated industry where majority of the work force are of the opposite gender. It has been an extremely difficult question to answer and this is my attempt to address this eternal query that has popped up so many times.
I started my career back in 1993 more than 27 years ago. Well, the scenario was very different back then. The event industry as we know it today, did not exist. It was time where we embarked on a journey of creating the need for event management and highlighting the importance of an agency.
There were no distinct job roles, no KRA’s, no specific deliverables. There were merely a little over a handful of women in the industry and we had to learn all aspects of event management and worked countless hours over endless days servicing clients, setting up venues, working on video edits and even sometimes doubling up as peons for deliveries. When we travelled, we all stayed together in one room, sometimes 6 of us at a time with only one woman in the room.
So when I am asked about being a woman in the industry, I am tongue tied because I have never viewed myself as a particular gender. There has been never a question of gender or gender restricted job roles. The only measurement I have applied is that of competency and ability, both of which are not gender specific.
Much has changed over the past 27 years. The rudimentary industry is now coming together as organised and is constantly evolving. Access to best practices and information is a welcome reality. There are many more women in the industry today than there were three decades ago and so many are leaving an indelible mark through their various achievements.
Yes, of course there are various incidents today where gender bias is felt, equality is questioned and women are objectified. And this is the time where we need to stand together, irrespective of gender to create an industry that is evolved and provides equal opportunity for people to excel. When we forge together, we can create milestones and an enduring legacy.
Hence to me the very term woman empowerment is disempowering.
In fact, it is not the women that need empowerment, they need equal opportunity which will then result in industry empowerment.
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