According to a popularly quoted internal report by Hewlett Packard, men tend to apply for a job if they meet just 60 percent of the qualifications, while women will do so only if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications. This lack of confidence in women is a result of generations of condescension and disregard, and while the situation has markedly improved, women still fight submissive conditioning in the workplace. Consequently, they find it difficult to find jobs and, sometimes, to even hold on to them.
Given this perpetual internal battle, while having to simultaneously fight another against the world, we could all use some motivation that reminds us of our potential. These TED Talks given by renowned women leaders are exactly what you need to push yourself harder when you feel like giving up.
We all know Kiran Bedi, a woman of strength and inspiration to all Indian women. As the first and the highest-ranking female officer in the National Police Force of India, Bedi talks about growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s; the hardships and difficulties she faced as a female police officer, her fight for prison reforms and drug abuse, and the impact she created as a police officer and as an activist. By the end of the talk, you will be reminded that perseverance can move all obstacles. It is natural to feel alone and misunderstood in your workplace, especially if you are working in a male-dominated office. But drawing inspiration from this pioneer who not only built her career in a heavily male-dominated sector but also excelled in it and moved onto a vibrant political career will help you stay strong and push forward in the face of adversity.
In this talk, Founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani talks about her passion for public service and how that pushed her from a career in finance to running for elections in New York in 2010. She elaborates on her loss in that election and the lesson she took away from it about bravery over perfection, the latter being a trait that is thrust onto women by society. She then breaks down the reasons for the under-representation of women in fields like entrepreneurship and , and in positions of CEO or the board. She explains how she is using coding to break down this wall and encourage women to take greater risks at work. She lays emphasis on how women need to be brave and not use perfection, or the lack thereof, as a reason to not grow.
Ameera Shah, Managing Director and CEO of Metropolis Healthcare, speaks very eloquently about her journey of entrepreneurship and the difficulties she faced while trying to establish herself. Shah talks about the biases women face and provides means to overcome them. One of the key takeaways from this talk is the emphasis on the conditioned lack of self-belief that Indian women suffer from and an ecosystem that promotes this fallacy. In the talk, she elucidates on how this can be overcome to go on our own ‘journey of self-discovery’.
Pricing consultant and professional speaker, Casey Brown shares valuable stories that are fine examples from which to learn to communicate your value and get paid accordingly. What with the still persistent wage gap between men and women, this 2017 talk is perfect to help you answer the question: Is your boss paying you what you are worth or are they paying you what they think you're worth. Casey Brown provides useful tips in this talk and illustrates how one can shape this thought process and the consequent conversation.
This one is for all young women concerned about their futures and about doing everything right in order to materialise it. Mithila Palkar is an Indian actress known for her roles in the TV series Girl in the City and Netflix's Little Things. She rose to fame after she performed a unique cover of an old and popular Marathi song on YouTube. Mithila talks about the challenges she faced when she strayed from the traditional path, and charts her course in Bollywood. In her own unique and quirky way, she provides lessons on being patient and following passions.
No list can be complete without this world-renowned talk by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of the bestselling book ‘Lean In’. Through this iconic talk, Sandberg managed to reignite a global discussion about the obstacles in the way of of women's advancement. With over 10 million views, the talk highlights the three calls to action - sit at the table, make your partner a real partner, and don't leave before you leave. These three steps serve as powerful litanies for women making their way up the corporate ladder.
These incredible women have not only paved the way for future generations but have also shared their incredible stories with the world. They are an inexhaustible well of inspiration that should help anyone stay motivated throughout their career.
(Edited by Varsha Roysam)