International Women's Day: Pledge for parity

International Women's Day, March 8, was a global day celebration in social, economic, cultural and political achievements for women. The day also marked a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Every year, the UN comes out with a unique theme. The theme for 2016 is 'Pledge For Parity'.

09 Mar 2016 | By Shripad Bhat

Shripad Bhat, the editor of Grafica News India

Why, pledge for parity?
The website of, states: “Everyone - men and women - can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity - to help women and girls to achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Globally, with individuals pledging to move to talk purposeful action and with men and women joining forces. We can collectively help women advance equal to their numbers and realise the limitless potential they offer the economy worldwide.”
To mark a respect to the women in the print industry, Grafica News India's February 2016 issue, has published a viewpoint of several women entrepreneurs and academicians in printing, speaking about women empowerment and gender inequality and equality in business.
Rinky Naicker, Akash Enterprises, Bengaluru
Women empowering should begin from the girl's childhood. Let her play equally, study equally, let them express views, ideas; let it flow so that when she grows, she is empowered. An empowered woman is one who not only thinks independent but acts independently in all the ways of life, traditional yet modern, soft but bold. Honestly, we only talk equality in our society but when it comes to practice, a woman has to face lots of challenges. So, it’s time that we actually give women the scope to come up and explore the areas where men think women cannot do it.
Asha Shah, motivational and self-development trainer, Mumbai
Society should have full respect to women! I believe in the Sun even when it's not shining. Similarly, society should have full respect to women, even though they appear to be weak. Nature is also called Mother Nature. The earth is called Mother Earth with abundant resources offered to human being. Similarly, every woman has been blessed or I would say already empowered with infinite potential of love, care, nurture, give create heal, inspire, and uplift/shape the world. May she use this power to make this world a better place to live in? Woman is the one who not only designs her life, but even the life of her family, society, nation and the world - through her thoughts, words, deeds and Sanskaras. She is God's chosen architect who designs the world. We all have unlimited potential. But unfortunately most of us have a low self-esteem, whether they are men, women or children. It's our thoughts and not the world that causes stress. Stressful thoughts create resistance to love, peace, happiness and abundance that we desire to create in our life. Practice meditation stay in a state of gratitude and awe change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change. Let’s together make the best out of our life.
Bhuvaneshwari P,  Chitra Printers, Bengaluru
According to me women empowerment is to live freely with a sense of self-worth, respect and dignity, to make their own choice and decision in their life. Women empowerment means freedom in socio, economic, religious, and financial status of a woman.
Dawn M Hohl-Nowlin, technical trainer and consultant on screen printing and a member of the Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technology (ASDPT), USA
Allowing women to freely develop, function, and bring improvement in society and industry using their innate talents and traits, and having that society/industry recognize and compensate them equally for their contribution. Allowing women to fully and equally participate in society/industry is a win-win. The unique talents and traits women possess can enhance and develop any area they are involved for the benefit of all concerned. The wellspring of incredible abilities, intelligence, wisdom and creativity within women should be maximized in any society that wants to thrive and develop.
Providing equal opportunities for education, skill development and management positions are important steps to bringing women up to their full potential. I think the graphics (printing) industry tends to be more accepting of women than some other types of businesses.  Of course there is room for improvement.  
Overall the US is fairly progressive with gender equality, especially in the last 40 years. As I said, I see the graphics (printing) field to be fairly accepting of women in all types of positions from top to bottom. The excellent opportunity in the US for women to attend higher education is a key element. There has been a successful and consistent push for equal treatment of women for many years in America which has benefited the country as a whole.
Kalpana R, Sarvesh Printers, Bengaluru
“According to me women (Naari) is a strength (Shakti). Without our self-empowerment, women can't achieve anything in our life. As I observed among our women staff, they are trustworthy and sincere in their work. Let the fragrance of women’s virtues spread in the society.”
Vandna Saxena, Kamal Printers, Ludhiana
“Women empowerment is necessary as no country can progress if it isolates 50% of its potential (the women). Women bring unique talent, ideas and sensibility to the workplace. Their economic empowerment is needed to truly achieve growth and to sustain it.”
Neha Mistry, Partner, Grafica Flextronia, Mumbai 
Gender inequality cannot be removed so easily unless women get equal participation in education, profession, business, etc. To give her equal share in all walks of our life, she should be equally empowered with education and decision making power. To be empowered she should get proper education, get equal rights, family support, and be able to make her career choice.
There is no denying fact that there has been a noteworthy change in our society as compared what it used to be centuries ago. We can see more women in the corporate boardroom; administration, politics, etc. Women can work, and at the same time she can run her family successfully. Yes, women are entering different areas hitherto male dominated including screen printing. But the number/participation of women is considerably small. That means there is still room for improvement.
In India, we believe in ‘Naari Shakti’, that is, women power. I feel in some areas men are good, in some areas women are good and in some areas both are good. So society should give opportunity to women as per their capability. In our company we have tried to employ as much as women staff in office and administration while in the factory we employ only men since ours is a heavy manufacturing company. 
I feel the success in business and family comes when men and women work together with unity. A working woman is being recognized for her dual contribution - her family and her business or profession. Women can think differently and take action to become part of a powerful community. 
In nutshell, empowered women can live with dignity and can greatly contribute for the betterment of the society and business.
Santilata  Panda, Krishna Creative Crafts, Bhubaneshwar
A woman should be self sufficient; she should not be dependent on others for small things. An empowered woman is that who takes care of her-self as well as others and manages house hold duties and professional responsibility in a balanced way. Woman empowerment is a necessity because it gives self confidence and a feeling of comfort.
Philomena, director, Cotton Blossom India, Tirupur
Women need to be heard and treated equally to strike a balance in decisions and way of life. Empowering them will only create the right balance as men and women were created to be together to strike this balance. If they are suppressed the balance will go wrong. If the right opportunity is available, both men and women should be able to do business equally well.
Seema Manchanda, Plus Creations, Sonepat, Haryana
An empowered woman empowers others. This may be the most difficult but most rewarding of all. Their positive nature encourages other women to unfold and discover their full potential. Their farsightedness and multi-task nature genuinely makes progress in and for the society. This confidence has to be built in them if we want our society, our community or our country to progress. Both men and women are equally powerful and inseparable. Women are undeniably powerful. They live a life of clarity and uncover their power only when demanded.
Reet Arora, Bir Horizons, Noida
My view points about women empowerment:
Thanks for honouring ‘women in printing field’.Women empowerment is need of the hour in our Indian society as we are the second largest country in population. Still we don't have skilled workers. Our country is still a developing country and economic status of our country is bad because it is still male dominated. Traditionally, men have been walking alone and they forced women to do only house hold works. It must be understood that women power is the ‘half power’ of our nation and combining their power with ‘men’power can make country more powerful, and no other country would be more powerful than India. Let us give equal opportunity women.
Renuka Roy, Radha Govinda Printers, Kolkata
I can say both men and women together with unity can make the society beautiful. As I said, in my case, I was behind my husband’s every crucial decision making, not that he cannot decide on his own. But I give him confidence and moral support so that the ultimate decision that he takes is fruitful and beneficial for our family business.  Motivated by our unity, my son has also joined our business.
Rashmi  Bhat, assistant professor, printing and packaging technology, SIES Graduate School Of Technology, Nerul
For me women empowerment is giving women freedom to choose their path and be supportive in their endeavors. Empowered woman is the one who has the power of decision making and who can take care of herself. Caring comes naturally to women and when we empower women they can contribute to society in a great way. If girls are given equal rights and choices like boys when they are brought up it will lead to healthy competition bringing out the best of both.
Everyone is a unique person and has his/her strengths and weaknesses. Earlier the society was biased towards men in workplace. It was more so with printing industry as it was seen as a labour oriented industry. But of late we are finding more women in the industry. It started at upper and middle management level and gradually it has percolated down the hierarchy. We have more automated machines and today it is more about people management be it customer or the personnel and adaptability with the ever changing technology. The society has become more open about the idea of training and educating girls so as to make them equal contributors in every field and the results are there to be seen.
Rupali Bhonsle, Head Admin / Purchase, Spectrum Scan, Vasai
Women are not helpless in face of existing challenges. Around the world they are decision-makers for themselves, their families, villages, businesses, and governments. For societies where this is not the case, people speak of the need for women’s empowerment. In the simplest of words it is basically the creation of an environment where women can make independent decisions on their personal development as well as shine as equals in society. Some of the main attributes of an empowered woman are as follow:
1.    She takes responsibility of her life
2.    She makes her own rules
3.    She honors herself
4.    She lives by her inner compass
5.    She values her passions
6.    She chooses empowering relationships
7.    She takes a stand
8.    She empowers other woman
However, the key is ‘education’ which is the basic requirement of women empowerment. Once woman is educated it radiates out from her persona affecting everybody around her – father, brother, husband, in-laws, children and social community.
Zalak B Shethia, Tarun Print Group, Mumbai
Women empowerment is an environment wherein men and women are treated equally, having equal rights to participate in social or business activities. It's also having an equal amount of exposure at any given age without any barrier or hindrances. 
Empowered women is one who doesn't consider herself any less than a men, is equally strong confident in her own self and is also responsible for her own life without being depended.
Fulya Kaplan, Fuleks Mümessillik, Instanbul, Turkey
As you know, the most famous chefs are men or vice versa. Some of the fortune 500 companies’s CEO’s are women. If we start to see more women in previously not seen working areas, it shows us humanity is developing and moving one step further in civilization.
My first job interview: Rejected but not dejected! I had applied for an business recruitment advertisement which was not suiting me at all because the criteria laid down by them. Although it was hard to convince them for an interview (as a women) I got a chance! The company had two share-holders. I had interview with one of them (with the young one , around 45 years old). It took around three hours  mainly because the gentleman was so kind not to hurt me while explaining that the job was not suitable for a female. His argument was that the job required:
*Arrivals late at nights after visits outside Istanbul
*Driving and flying long distance among different cities of Turky and countries all around the World
*Working in a man dominated fields such as machinery-maintenance departments of textile plants and mainly because of communication difficulties
*The other field that the company involved was engraving departments of textile printing plants.
At the end of three hours interview I was very kindly rejected. While I was leaving the office I came across with the other share-holder (a 64 year old gentleman). He called me for a short interview with me. And after a 15-minute interview, I was finally selected for an employment. I quit the company in 2006. But today I can see that the daughter of the young shareholder leads the business in that company whose father had told me that my gender was not suitable for the job. So I led a big change in the mind of the shareholder; a woman could do this job too. I feel proud that I created an opportunity for another woman and I should say that this is an incredible feeling! Here, I would like to underline that those two gentlemen allowed and helped me a lot to spread my wings to be able to fly in this area by myself. I had real learning challenges from my bosses all the time.
Natalya Slobodina, general manager, Kinto, Moscow, Russia
It is believed that we live in a world ruled by men and women in it, until recently, were near home, so to speak. Even the right to vote in elections, women gained a little more than half a century ago – and that were the advanced industrial countries. Female education was also considered unnecessary, and even more, it was different from that received by men. Regarding the global trends of women's participation in business, politics and public life today - it seems to me that their role should occupy an equal position with men in countries where it is approved by culture and religion. In Russia, there are no problems with career opportunities for women: you only need the desire and love for the chosen cause. In Russia there are a lot of business women, women politicians, etc. They do business on equal terms with men. Again - you just need desire (and, of course, professionalism, as a basis for a career).
We continued to invest in new equipment and technology with debt finance and LC. We were dealt a hug
Professor Sadhana S Thatte, coordinator, KCES’s Multimedia and Printing Technology, Jalgaon
Celebration of women's day means celebration of women's economic, political, and social slightly more achievements than male. Women empowerment is empowering the women with education thereby make them independent in all aspects - in mind, thought, rights, and decisions. Women must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves. That means equality to women in the society in all spheres just like men. Long ago, India had a woman Prime Minister for many years and even now we have few women chief ministers in few states. But still women are suppressed in India in many fields. So there is a need to empower women so that also set the goal to make India a fully powerful and developed country. Empowered women can fight against all the evils of the society. Empowered women have the skill to adopt many things in the society.
Inequalities between men and women in the society create lots of problems which become a big obstruction in the way to success of nation. Despite all efforts to reduce gender discrimination against women, still our society’s mindset is not ready to give equal treatment to women at par with men in all fields of the society like education, business houses etc. Women are much better than men to deal with certain problems. They are fully able to perform multiple roles like administrative, supervision, budgeting, and relationship maintenance etc.