Shetopia: A Reality Or A Distant Dream

Shetopia: A Reality Or A Distant Dream

It is important for women to uplift women in the workplace and organisations to take the lead in making the workplace a woman-friendly place to be.


“If only the day had more than 24 hours” is the thought that crosses the mind of every working woman, who also has the added responsibility to manage household duties, childcare, and her own me-time. The pandemic continues to take a toll on everyone, especially women, in the workforce. Demanding work schedules coupled with other necessary involvement at home is leading to a higher burnout rate that is greater among women than men. An article by McKinsey says that one in three women have considered downscaling their career and are settling for a lower position with fewer responsibilities or time demands or leaving the workforce entirely this year.


High Attrition Among Women


Additionally, four in ten women have considered leaving their company or switching jobs to accommodate the work-life balance. High attrition amongst women employees in recent months suggests that many of them are following through with their decision and taking up gig work, remote work, part-time work or even dropping out from their corporate careers and taking a sabbatical, which is not looking good for the perfect scenario of female representation as a talent mix in organisations.


- Are organisations doing enough to ensure they support and nurture their female talent?


- Are we able to co-create a sustainable ecosystem where women can lean on other women/ men to have their back?


- Are we as women asking for enough credit for the multidimensional hard work we are doing?


“Shetopia” – An Attainable Goal?


Well, the answer to all of the above is not a resounding yes. Hence, I feel “Shetopia” or the perfect utopia for women is a distant reality and we need to join forces to get there.


Certain aspects which are important for organisations to help attract and retain their women power are as follows:–


1. Build a culture that supports the needs of women talent and helps them grow – be it in smaller ways to provide flexiworking opportunities, to share each other’s personal stories on internal platforms, to provide recognition for the unsaid work done and going the extra mile and providing that feeling of comfort along with the opportunity for every female employee to be the best version of herself.


2. Plan a very strong career journey embedded with individual development plans and opportunities to learn new skills, work on diverse profiles, explore in-depth the roles they have not been doing conventionally due to the restrictions laid down as a result of the pandemic.


3. Organisations need to put in place a very strong retention plan by way of supporting various life stages and challenges that a woman would face, leading to the very thought of exiting from the organisation or taking a break. It is important to even provide internal peer groups for the “small talk”, helped by experts to take care of mental wellness, guidance and “real talk” by mentors.


4. Provide avenues for female employees to not just be at their professional best but also explore the other side of a woman’s personality by nurturing special abilities, traits, hobbies etc., which contributes to their mental wellbeing and growth and allows them time off to explore the same.


5. Engaging Senior Leaders to highlight the importance of having more women talent as part of the overall D&I Agenda of the organisation as leadership buy-in will help create that pull factor from all the cross-sections till the last mile 


6. Create internal brand ambassadors who will be able to share their experience of working in the specific organisation, and in turn, help attract more women talent who will not just go by the swanky posts on social media but connect to the real stories and know the truth.


Ways to Create “Shetopia”


Some aspects which we women need to focus on in order to co-create “Shetopia” would be:–


1. Let us acknowledge who we are and take pride in what we do even if there are days where we do not look the best, give screentime to our kids because we cannot be there in person, have disagreements with our spouse, make a bad coffee or tea and forget that we are perceived to be superhumans, and in the end, accept that we are humans too and it takes a lot to juggle work, family, me-time etc. the way we do. We need to give ourselves a pat on the back and continue to surge forward to achieve personal goals.


2. Find ways to build our support system in a way that we are able to drive through the professional and personal journey without feeling guilty at any stage as it is important for us to help each other grow in this aspect.I strongly feel it is the “She for She” that is the need of the hour more than the “He for She”.


3. Take those coveted breaks to help reduce the burn-out, be able to disconnect and reconnect back, not give up on hobbies/other interests that provide that break from the pressures of work and life and help one unwind.


4. Not be judgemental or critical of self or other women as whatever we are in and whoever we are is our choice. Instead, we must look for ways to uplift each other and help each other grow personally and professionally. It is heartening to see the steps taken by organisations and individuals towards making women become an integral part of the talent pool and contribute towards a more productive, diverse, and engaged workplace. However, some unconscious biases need attention so that they are minimised to ensure a seamless transition into the perfect “Shetopia” which will then be a reality in its true sense. More power to every woman reading this! 

Meenakshree Nanda is a diversified HR professional with 11 years of rich experience in various verticals of HR. She is currently working as a Senior HRBP at DP World. She holds a dual Masters in Human Resources & Labour Law and is a Certified Facilitator, Instructional Designer, Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, and HR Analytics Professional.


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