It’s all in the head: ‘Women must break glass ceiling in their minds’

Workshop held on women’s personal, professional development.


Sehrish Ali July 05, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Gender biases, whether we accept them or not, remain a prevailing issue among the workforce in the society. While many seasoned female professionals learn to tackle various issues with time and experience, fresh entrants face difficulties when confronted with various situations in a workplace.


In light of such issues, the Institute of Rural Management (IRM) offered an extensive day-long workshop on “Women’s Personal and Professional Development” on Wednesday, where females employees of organisations such as HRDN, CARE, MOJIZ and IRM’s own staff members participated. The lead trainer was Roomi S Hayat, who is also IRM’s CEO and HRDN chairperson.

Stress management was a part of the session that was undertaken by Saiqa Raziq.

The one-day workshop consisted of six sessions on a range of topics, including breaking the glass ceiling,  career planning, decision making exercise,  work-life balance, and managing performance by managing stress. During the course of the workshop, the main concern of many women seemed to be balancing work with family life and how to excel at work without having to compromise at home.

“Managers tend to hesitate with giving challenging tasks to women, especially married ones, because they feel she won’t be able to handle the workload,” stated one participant.

Breaking the glass ceiling was an interesting session where the hurdle of preconceived notions of one’s own capabilities was discussed. “Generally, women tend to build a glass ceiling in their mind where they think they cannot do certain things sometimes due to their own insecurity and sometimes due to biases at work. Women have to find ways to break through the glass ceiling that they create in their minds,” said Roomi.

The last session on stress management by psychologist Dr Saiqa lightened up the atmosphere of the long workshop, as she showed participants various easy breathing and physical exercises to do at stressful times, some of which had the participants giggling by the end of the day.

Many seemed more informed after the workshop, as Hadya Ali of IMMAP stated, “This workshop is really good for someone who has just joined the workforce and is completely inexperienced. I feel that if I had attended this workshop at the start of my career, it would have been extremely beneficial.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2012. 

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