Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Diyya Sewani (Tetra Pak India) shares her experience of the recent Gender Sensitisation Training from November 2020-February 2021.
How do you understand gender equality?
Gender equality is accepting the differences that are part of our being.
Whoever you are, you are being given respect and acknowledgement. Empowerment without the historical baggage of being the weaker gender is something that defines gender quality in todays world.
What are the key actions we need to take?
Education and awareness. Educating people in general. There is such superficial knowledge when it comes to this issue. There has to be some kind of a form, gender sensitivity needs to become a part of formal education. Let’s not live in denial any more is the action that we need to take.
Was there anything you learnt about yourself?
This entire training was a wake up call for me. Instead of learning, it was also about unlearning. Accepting that there are certain prejudices within me that I am carrying, that are obstructing my worldview, which are not allowing me to think more objectively on this topic.
How did the training empower you?
The training really helped me to understand that one person is enough, I’ve been working in the corporate for 5+ years now and I always felt that diversity or inclusion is an initiative that has to come from the top and only then it will work. This training really built that confidence in me that even one person is enough, even one person who truly believes that this is important, and this needs to be addressed. So at least somewhere the conversation needs to start about this, we need to go back to the organisation and start talking about it. From my perspective I did want to do something about it but I really didn’t know where to start. This really give me that start within my organisation to have a sort of at least semi formal conversations about this topic and where a company is going and what the company is really trying to do in terms of divs.
What did you learn about the other gender?
Men realised that they might be doing certain things but that’s not enough.
What was your experience of being involved with people from different companies?
I found it to be a very enlightening and fruitful experience to be with folks who are not from my organisation but from similar organisation with similar or different work cultures, bringing in their view points experiences, sharing their stories and you know, some of the women folks shared amazing stories, one of them was from a mining organisation, she shared that she was the first one to go out onto the field in her organisation and she was supported and encouraged by her org. to do so. That was an amazing story of empowerment and equality. A lot of companies shared amazing practices that they are doing already in the company. They’ve already started the conversation and they’ve had initiatives which have been successful or are on going. Benchmarking and best practices. They are an industry similar to ours and they are doing this, can we take something from that and really use it to improve the situation back home. It’s been a fantastic experience, everyone in the team has been so supportive and encouraging. I’ve really gone through six months of personal and professional transformation thanks to the training, it’s been very fruitful and it’s a beautiful experience to have.
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Bhargav (Alfa Laval) shares his experience of the recent Gender Sensitisation Training from November 2020-February 2021.
What does gender equality mean to you?
Gender equality means equal opportunity for everyone. A lot of people like me have grown up with working parents and understand that both of them work with equal opportunities, the mindset is changing.
A lot of things are still however somewhere ingrained in our mind that some are more and some are less. The belief is that if it is house work, the fairer gender needs to be more into it, when it is going out and working and making the larger life decisions it is the men. Seeing everyone with the same lens is very critical. When I come into an organisation it indirectly or invariably happens that there are a lot of lenses that people wear, age is more or age is less, experience is more, experience is less. The gender is different so they might or might not be able to do certain level of tasks. That lens needs to be changed so that people will have more clarity about another person.
Anything you learnt about yourself?
We think that I am the best driver in the world and the rest of the people don’t know how to drive on the road, but when you put yourself in their shoes, you figure out their challenges, what are their aspirations, what are their shortcomings your perspective completely changes. Putting that into the context of gender sensitisation I know there were a lot of men in my team, the question was asked on a scale of 1-10 how would you rate yourself in terms of being very understanding of gender equality. Everyone rated themselves 7,8 or 10 saying 'I am doing so many good things' etc, but when a few further questions were asked we very clearly understood that we are not even a 2, 3 or 5. The amount of blindspots that it opened up made it very clear that there is a long path in front of us and the other aspect is that at least it told us that yes there is a path. Everyone is at a different maturity level. It cannot be forced. The only thing that we can do is to sensitise, help people understand their blindspots and if a couple of things improve I think it can have a great impact.
How did the training empower you?
During the entire workshops there were a lot of different women who brought out their thoughts, their feelings, their emotions and what they want the men in their lives or in general to change. The sense of empowerment came when all these people started to tell us that yes there are certain things you have in your power to change. You can exercise that power so that it’s not only you who feels empowered but in general all the people around you will feel similarly empowered in terms of exercising their freedom. I initially felt that I knew a lot of things and that I was equal in my mindset when it comes to gender but this opened up some of the doors, I now feel that yes I need to work on certain things. I feel this was an empowering aspect of the training. What was your experience of being involved with people from different companies?
It goes without saying that this was enriching. The only feeling that I had is most of us have a very similar kind of background. There’s a positive and negative aspect: The positive is that we understood each other well because we have very similar contexts in our past experience. We come from a very similar organisational culture. We are all Nordic-Swedish cultured organisations.
I would have wanted more diverse organisations or people with more diverse backgrounds. Maybe someone from a factory shop floor, a lady who is working on a factory shop floor would have brought out a completely different aspect saying that I have to work with almost hundred men and I’m the only woman out there. What are the challenges that she faces on a regular basis? Maybe some senior folk or someone very young maybe a graduate entering training, she has just joined the organisation, what kind of things is she feeling and seeing? Someone in my age group would find it very difficult to very clearly understand people almost 10 years younger. What does gender sensitivity mean to them? It would have been a bit more interesting to have that perspective.
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
As part of Alfa Laval’s commitment to Community Engagement, the company is giving 40 girls in India support with scholarships for five years.
I am Kadambari, currently studying in Grade 11. I belong to a middle-class family, my father works in a college, and my mother works in a private institute. I studied in a government school but was selected for Avasara Academy in seventh grade.
Here I get a chance to participate in different cultural activities and practice my skills together with others through various activities, discussions, conferences, and programs. Avasara has such a good environment, it is hygienic and clean, where I love to study, with mountains and trees around me. There is a counseling team to help me to decide my career path, my future and also there to support me emotionally.
This has been a life-changing opportunity for me. I am very appreciative of everyone supporting my school helping it achieve the mission of empowering girls.