Challenging The Status Quo to Re-imagine Women’s Potential: A Battle Between Social Conditioning and Change
In a world where social conditioning often dictates our emotions, beliefs, values and actions, there lies a constant battle between the reality of women’s potential and challenging the status quo. Despite the significant progress women have made in recent decades, they continue to grapple with societal expectations that often limit their potential. We talked to Rajni Shah, a 30 years old a freelancer home tutor from Guwahati Assam, India who is developing critical soft skills to challenge the status quo, differentiate, and educate those around her.
Our unwavering commitment to publishing the first one million untold stories stems from our belief in the transformative power of soft skills. Soft skills are primarily concerned with interpersonal interactions and relationships, creative energy, emotional intelligence, communication, adaptability, and problem-solving and have the potential to redefine women’s roles in the workforce and contribute significantly to the global economy. Highlighting the tenacity, perseverance, strength and resilience of women, we hope to inspire you and demonstrate that soft skills are formidable tools capable of generating $28 billion every year for women and their families.
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Challenging the status quo: a woman doesn’t have to choose between her career and personal life
Women are no strangers to juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, often balancing careers while acting as primary caregivers in their families. Women are facing unique challenges that lead to having to choose between careers or personal lives. Yet, society still tends to perceive them as individuals who cannot handle the ‘pressures’ of the workplace. Women are often socially conditioned to feel greater degrees of ‘guilt’ for having thriving careers, especially after becoming mothers. Research reveals that a third of working mothers contemplate quitting their jobs after returning to work post-maternity leave.
We talked to Rajni who is attending to her parents’ needs out of affection and devotion, not due to a sense of obligation. She shared with us some of the most significant challenges she faced along the way, and how she managed to overcome them.
“The most significant challenge I have faced so far is building a team and enrolling volunteers for serving our local community. During covid we delivered food to people’s door, helping them in times of need. All our projects are humble signs of gratitude and compassion, giving back to our community. For example, I have collected funds to buy sewing machines and provided training to local women so that they can be earning a living and be financially independent. Nothing can stop you if you are determined to do good. Giving means a lot for my team and our local community. This is one of the biggest achievement I had till now.”
Soft skills: rewrite your story &challenge the status quo with the stroke of a pen
Critical soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, communication, problem-solving, and leadership, serve as invaluable tools for women to counter the limitations imposed by social conditioning. These skills enable women to assert their presence, navigate complex workplace dynamics, and showcase their strengths without succumbing to societal pressures.
For instance, effective communication skills can help women articulate their ideas and opinions, dispelling the misconception that they are unable to handle workplace or their own business challenges. Similarly, leadership skills can empower women to step into decision-making roles, shattering the glass ceiling and challenging traditional gender norms.
With a passion for music and a belief in the power of education to shape the future, Rajni developed diverse soft skills and talents into her work as a writer, speaker, and educator. When we asked her how soft skills have contributed to her overall success and personal growth, she told us:
“My grandfather once told me: ‘The sky is the limit’. In the universe there are many galaxies and planets. If each one of them can perform their own function why will I not been able to pursue my talent in different fields? I feel that learning is a never ending process and we should keep on learning. This thought has always gave me the confidence to learn different soft skills and to experiment with my work, being more creative. And this is how I implement my skills in my work.”
Unlocking women’s full potential: the $28 trillion opportunity and the power of soft skills
Offering women equal growth opportunities and harnessing their full potential can lead to astounding economic benefits. By 2025, gender parity in the workforce could add up to $28 trillion every year, or 26%, to annual global GDP. Soft skills can shape a new reality for women who are given the chance to develop critical soft skills that pave the way for their professional success.
While both men and women enter the workforce with aspirations to reach the pinnacle of success, the journey is often more challenging for women. Men typically have access to powerful networks, enabling them to build trust and connections effortlessly. This advantage largely stems from preconceived notions and social conditioning that favour men, as well as the fact that there are still more men than women in the workforce.
To bridge this gap and create a more equitable environment, women need to hone and develop certain critical soft skills that help them advance in their careers. By mastering skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, time management, critical thinking, decision-making, stress management, adaptability, conflict resolution, creativity, and resourcefulness, women can unlock their full potential and make significant strides in their professional journeys.
Effective communication empowers women to articulate their ideas and opinions, fostering collaboration and influencing others. Excelling in teamwork enables women to collaborate with diverse teams, driving innovation and achieving common goals.
Strong problem-solving skills allow women to analyse complex situations, identify solutions, and make informed decisions. Efficient time management helps women prioritize tasks, maintain a work-life balance, and increase productivity.
Critical thinking equips women to evaluate information objectively, form logical conclusions, and make data-driven decisions. Confident decision-making enables women to take charge of their careers and drive meaningful change in their organizations.
Effective stress management techniques help women maintain mental and emotional well-being, fostering resilience in the face of challenges. Embracing adaptability allows women to navigate change and uncertainty, thriving in dynamic work environments. Mastering conflict resolution helps women address disagreements constructively, fostering healthy relationships and collaborative workspaces. Cultivating creativity empowers women to think outside the box, driving innovation and breaking through barriers.
Developing resourcefulness enables women to find solutions in challenging situations, leveraging limited resources to achieve their goals. Embracing Soft Skills for a Prosperous Future By honing these critical soft skills, women can level the playing field and unlock their full potential in the workforce. Organizations, too, have a vital role to play in supporting the development of these skills through targeted training programs, mentorship opportunities, and inclusive work environments.
The path to gender parity is not only a moral imperative but also an economic one. By empowering women to develop the soft skills necessary for success, we can unleash their potential and contribute to a staggering $28 trillion increase in global GDP by 2025. The time to act is now – for the benefit of women, their families, and the world at large.
Advocacy for creating a supportive society
To foster the development of these soft skills, organizations must create a supportive environment that encourages women to break free from societal constraints. This includes providing targeted training programs, mentorship opportunities, and flexible work arrangements that enable women to balance their personal and professional lives.
Creating a culture of inclusivity that values the unique perspectives and talents of women, acknowledging and celebrating women’s contributions is a tall order but women know that is a choice to thrive and inspire others to defy social conditioning.
As an advocate for women’s health, equality and inclusion, Rajni have spoken at national and international conventions. Here are the changes she hopes to inspire to build a fairer society:
“In my community I have seen specially women who are not taking care of their health and only realise after their health condition is deteriorated. I felt that apart from medicines, we need to create awareness on preventive lifestyle, to keep women healthy and happy. Only healthy women can build healthy nation.”
Creative energy: changing the narrative within
The battle between social conditioning and reality is an ongoing struggle for women across the globe. However, by embracing critical soft skills and cultivating supportive environments, we can shift the narrative and redefine what it means to be a woman in today’s world.
Ultimately, it is crucial to recognize that the potential of women is not limited by their gender but rather by the societal expectations that have been ingrained over centuries and transferred into the next generation. By empowering women with the skills to challenge and overcome these expectations, we can create a future where social conditioning no longer dictates reality, and women can truly realize their full potential.
We asked Rajni what role is creativity playing in her life and what creative energy could change in the world once unlocked. She told us:
“Creativity has always shown me a new path. Whenever I feel depressed my creativity has enchanted me to look forward and move. I am a very positive person. I believe that every problem has a solution as long as we know the system. Positive discussion , taking actions, developing our soft skills and helping each other to grow will definitely change the world.”