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    Dated : Saturday, March 18, 2017
 


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Equality in the World of Workplace

By Sasha Raikhy


Although workplace world is changing for women, we are still long way to go for “Work place equality”. We need more focus on equality of pay, leave entitlement, especially paid maternity and extended child care leaves, special leave entitlements for family & elderly care, protection during pregnancy, sensitivity during breast feeding leadership positions & even sexual harassment at work place.

We also need to encourage our girls to pursue broad range of careers (like military & sports) and choices beyond the traditional soft jobs like teaching banking etc. We need to teach our girls to dream big.

Another barrier in women’s career is their own self defeating belief and bias. Marriage, pregnancy child birth, breastfeeding and child care should not be considered as barrier or full stop in a woman’s career.

Women these days are facing lot of challenges at workplace, home and society due to multiple roles that they perform. We expect women to perform perfectly the role of a homemaker, a daughter, a daughter in law, a wife and many more roles besides a demanding job. As a result, women suffer from false guilt for not fulfilling expectations of the family and people around. It leads to increase in anxiety, depression, panic disorder and eating disorder among women. Apart from good working environment at workplace, attitude of society toward working women needs a drastic change. She should not be pressurized to push her limits to emerge perfect both at work and at home.

We also need to positively acknowledge workplace success of women. Women tend to face hostilities both at workplace and home if they are successful, despite the fact that the quality of life improves significantly when the woman of a family also works. Women should not be made to feel guilty for their professional work as having both parents working outside is good for child’s overall development especially for girls. ‘She is very career oriented’ is still viewed as negative compliment in our society.

We need to inculcate such values in the youngsters that they grow up as more supportive colleagues. We need to have families who share household responsibilities to provide for healthy working environment. Families where there are less gender discrimination (like mother going for work and father sharing household responsibilities) produce more confident children. As Prime Minister had once exhorted the Nation in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ that we need to bring ‘attitudinal’ change in our boys so that they learn to respect the women. The men of young generation should contribute to career of their partners. We need to change many gender stereotypes. We need to make our boys learn to be gentle in their personality, to love cooking, washing, serving and tending to the needs of children and elderly people at home. We need to make them learn the value of balancing family and careers too. We need to make them learn that although anatomically and physiologically women also have the same dreams and desires. Beside teaching girls to be bold & strong, we need to change our ‘nurturing’ attitude towards boys too.

Although, there has been a vast improvement in women representation in higher jobs and their financial empowerment, we need to change our unconscious bias for working women. There is also the need for attitudinal change in women. They should feel confident to honour the huge potential that dies daily within them. It is not only about equal wages, but it is also about opportunities, career choices and gender roles.

Women should resolve to ‘Be bold for change’ by challenging bias, inequality & celebrate journey of achievement. Let’s reinforce & support women’s triumphs in careers after overcoming all barriers. Let’s create new work opportunities for women, let’s be bold for change. (PIB)

 

Writing instruments growing despite digitisation spree

By Bappaditya Chatterjee


Digitisation and the widespread adoption of electronic devices have not dented the market for writing instruments. The industry, which registered a sales growth of about 12 percent last year, is expected to grow by double digits in the current year as well, stakeholders said. In fact, pen manufacturers remain bullish on writing their growth story and are betting on increasing literacy in a developing country like India.

A recent study by Euromonitor International showed writing instruments registered "current retail value growth of 12 per cent in 2016" to reach Rs 4,100 crore ($616 million). Pens, which remain the largest category within the industry, accounted for 67 per cent of retail value sales in 2016.

"In the last few years, the keyboard, keypad, touch screen have become the preferred writing instruments for students and professionals. Are they replacing the traditional pen and pencils? The answer is no. At least in the next 20 years, I do not think there will be any threat from increasing digitisation," Linc Pen and Plastics MD and CEO Deepak Jalan told IANS.

"In volume terms, the market grew about 6-7 per cent last year and a similar trend is also expected in the current year. In value terms, at least a 10 percent growth in writing instruments is expected in 2017," he said, adding that the growing literate population will lead to higher consumption of pens and pencils.

In the 2011 census, India's literacy rate was put at 74.04 percent, up by about 8.66 per cent from the previous census. Compared to the adult literacy rate, the youth literacy rate was about nine per cent higher.

Echoing Jalan was Shreyansh Kocheri, an analyst with the research firm Euromonitor International, who told IANS that electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and portable computers, did not impact sales of writing instruments in 2016.

"There are, however, an increasing number of government programmes that provide public school students with free school materials, including notebooks, pens, and pencils, among other items, which limit overall sales of such products in retail channels," he said.

Apart from the daily needs, the psychology of attaching greater value to the written material is still driving growth for the industry.

"More and more digitisation is happening, but people are still appreciating the benefits of writing by using pen or pencil on paper. Just as using electronic devices for writing emails, Whatsapp and SMSes, a lot of people are valuing the written words, realising that notes in black and white create a lot more impact," William Penn's CEO Nikhil Ranjan told IANS.

There is enough research and it has been proved that people remember hand written words and notes more vividly, he added.

Not only has there been technological advancement in the digitisation space; new technologies in pen industry usher more durability with long-lasting ink and smoother tips.

A writing instrument is no longer limited to a quill and a bottle of ink -- it has got roller ball and ballpoint pens, besides the traditional fountain pens.

"These writing instruments make writing easy. These pens are long-lasting. Kudos to technological improvement where the kind of raw material, metals and inks used while manufacturing these pens make it more consumer friendly," Jalan said. A recent study also showed that roller ballpens registered the strongest current retail value growth of 17 percent in 2016 with sales touching Rs 700 crore. Growth was driven mainly by pencil-led refills and inkwells and refills, which registered current retail value growth of nine percent and 11 percent, respectively, in 2016.

Ballpoint pens drove sales as this category and accounted for 47 per cent of writing instruments' retail value sales.

Apart from the domestic market, pen manufacturers remain positive about overseas markets as exports of writing instruments, which stood over Rs 1,000 crore, has been "growing over 10 percent year-on-year".

"Exports of writing products to highly-developed countries like the US, and European countries, which are far ahead in terms of digitisation, have also been growing," Jalan said, adding that Indian pens are getting preference over Chinese in terms of both quality and prices.

Out of the total market size for the writing instrument, the organised market comprises about 70 percent while the rest is covered by unorganised players.

"The introduction of Goods and Services Tax would also be a driving force for the industry, particularly for the organised segment, as it would ensure seamless movement of goods and raw materials," Ranjan added. (IANS)

 
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