Women’s Day Special: ‘Work-life balance is a cycle and not a one-time achievement’
In order to mark the occasion of International Women’s Day 2022, the official campaign of High on Persona, we interacted with many prominent women about a variety of serious and pressing issues affecting women.
I was in for a pleasant surprise while speaking with Monia Bahl, CEO, Beauty and Wellness Sector Skill Council. It took a very subtle way for her to bring to light some situations as well as issues that we women encounter on a daily basis, but we never talk about them the way we discuss other topics such as gender equality, feminism, women’s reservation in politics, etc. Despite their relevance for women, these concerns tend to overshadow many other issues that deserve immediate attention too and gladly Monica came forward to raise these issues, like safe modes of commuting for women, street lights on the road at night while suggesting solutions etc. Additionally, in her role as CEO of Beauty and Wellness, she stands committed to taking the sector to the next level, offering training and upskilling to aspiring professionals, as well as improving the overall situation of women who work in different cities and remain far from their home town within the sector.
Furthermore, I spoke to her about her success mantra, work-life balance, and simple steps that professionals can implement to make it big in their careers.
Q What is your mantra of success and career advice you would like to give to aspiring young professionals?
My advice to all women who aspire to join the Beauty and Wellness industry is to follow 3 P’s in life:
Passion: Follow your passion and make all possible efforts to achieve your goals. Choosing a career If you choose an option that you are passionate about, your chances of success are much higher. I feel that if you believe in yourself and follow your passion, you tend to be a much happier person from within.
Preservance: There will be roadblocks, but you should not get de-motivated and keep moving forward. Never stop learning and learning can be from different sources. Your team member, subordinates, or even your clients.
Progress : For consistent progress, always be honest and genuine with your clients. Keep your eyes and ears open to re-check on the client’s expectations, ever changing delivery patterns, and to track what the competition is doing
Q. Being a successful professional and a working mother, how do you maintain work-life balance?
My belief is that work-life balance is a cycle and not a one-time achievement. My principle is to maintain work-life balance is by sorting out priorities and making constant adjustments, each day…every day. It is important to allocate intense focus and efficient time management, specifically as per your priorities, which would lead to better physical, mental and spiritual health to deliver the activities of life. It is also important to remain fluid and thus constantly assess where are your goals and priorities. In addition to this, planning activities in advance to combine work activities with leisure, social, or fitness activities is equally important, so as to justify required life deliverables.
Q According to you, what are the pressing issues women face in the Beauty & Wellness industry? And what changes do you suggest to improve the situation?
The majority of the workforce in the Beauty and Wellness industry encompasses women, primarily migrants, which amounts to insecurity, higher cost of living that leads to increased attrition rates within the organized and unorganized brands of the industry.
Also, there is a vital need to bring about the respect Beauty and Wellness professionals deserve, so as to be at par with women professionals from any other industry. They should be looked upon with equal respect and dignity as their white collared professional counterparts.
Q.cAs a woman, do you face any pressing issues in the workplace or in society that need top priority in the current environment for women?
For Indian women, sexual harassment is an abhorrent reality of their daily lives. Their biggest struggle, every single day, is to maintain their sanctity-at home, on the road, in their educational institutions, as well as at their workplace.
Despite the rise in numbers, women are finding that their complaints are not redressed effectively by employers. Employers are either unaware of the law’s provisions or have implemented them partially and even those that do set up internal panels have poorly trained members. Women in India continue to feel unsafe while using public transport. With the lack of safe public transport options, most people are dependent either on their own vehicles or autos and taxi services. As darkness descends, the number of women on the streets reduces and women are hampered by a lack of gender diversity in public spaces.
Factors that contribute to making women feel unsafe on the streets are lighting, the presence of security and visibility, or knowing that you are visible to others—vendors, shops, street-facing houses – on the streets. There also exists gender segregation in the workplace in terms of benefits, hours, leave, wages, opportunities, promotions, etc. The concept of equal opportunity in its true sense is yet to settle in mindsets. The attitude which considers women fit for certain jobs and not others causes prejudice in those who recruit employees.
The dynamics of the work environment have exerted enormous pressure on working women as they need to cope with virtually two full-time jobs – one at the office and the other at home. Such imbalance has a negative effect on the personal life of working women which in turn has taken the form of social hazards such as the increasing number of divorces, infertility due to high-stress levels.