A Glass ceiling exists primarily in the minds, both of women and men
N S Shobana, chief finance officer, TAKE Solutions
What are the challenges of being a woman executive in a top role?
As clichéd as it may sound, the biggest challenge for a woman is balancing life, family and work priorities. Time management, the ability to prioritise and delegate, competent support systems both at work and home are key factors that help one excel in a top role.
What is your educational background?
I am a Chartered Accountant, Cost Accountant and a CPA (USA).
What is your family background?
My father is an automobile engineer who retired as a manager from United India Insurance and mother is a post graduate in Hindi Lit- erature and a home-maker. I have a son doing his B.Com from Loyola College, Chennai.
What are your comments on working in Maledominated field of IT, especially in R&D?
Finance is a field where there is a fair representation of qualified women. Hence, I do not experience any male domination. My peers and seniors at work have also been very encouraging and supportive of my aspirations and interests. There are many women in senior positions in our organization (TAKE Solutions).
Does a glass ceiling exist?
A glass ceiling exists primarily in the minds, both of women and men, in terms of social stereotypes, preconceived notions of gender behaviour and the expected traits of successful leaders. For example, in many cases women themselves do not consider or are not considered for opportunities that involve a location change while it is more effortless and acceptable for men in parallel situations. Similarly, social norms or expectations of a woman’s role in the family often result in them compromising their career aspirations without a fair evaluation of opportunities.
What is your advice to working women?
Do not relegate career and growth at work to a secondary position of importance. It is of equal significance as our various other roles of daughter, wife and mother. It is very important therefore to have effective support systems both at work and home that will help balance and prioritize based on immediate requirements.
What are your hobbies?
Music, cycling and other recreational activities with my son.
Mention future plans.
I don’t believe in making plans for the future, I choose to make the best of opportunities that arise.
“You don’t have to watch what you say if you watch what you think”