The idea of a glass ceiling beyond which women cannot progress is still in place in various professions, according to Indian-origin speakers at an event to celebrate the International Women’s Day at the Nehru Centre, London.
Organised by the UK Telugu Association, the discussion, on “Women in Leadership: Diverse Voices and Changing Vision” included speakers Sangeeta Bahadur, director of the Nehru Centre, Nrimala Rao, pro-director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SAOS) and Rama Bala, consultant cardiologist.
“The concept of glass ceiling for women is still there. It has a personal resonance with me”, Bahadur, an Indian Foreign Service official, told the gathering.
The panel felt that despite recent advances in recognising women’s equality with men, there was a continuing lack of women in senior positions.
Rao, who holds a senior position at SOAS, said much had changed and “conflicts today are not as stark as they were”, but women continued to struggle to reconcile personal and professional lives.
According to Bala, the question of leadership had always been seen as a male preserve, when every quality of leadership was also present in women.
For women to succeed in leadership, the role of a spouse who did not feel threatened was vital, she added.
The speakers felt that under-representation of women and minorities in higher management posts continued to be commonplace. Women faced several barriers – personal, social, cultural and political – and these barriers shaped their developmental and leadership experiences, they said.