The “Risk” you take by having women leaders in key business positions – by Simran Oberoi


Recently I gave an interview in the Economic Times, about how a working woman whose also a mother without a support system at a personal or organizational level, sometimes needs to take her child to the work place. There was a lot of encouragement that I received from the organization that I was working on a contractual project with, to do that. Surprisingly, the same kind of support seems amiss in regular full-time roles even for women with extensive experience and demonstrated high performance. Why is that ? It brings me to the core of my idea – the “risk” that an organization takes supposedly by having women leaders in key business positions.

What do we think this risk might be – when the person is already an identified high potential resource, has a proven track record of performance and has requisite experience? Here are some insights into the possible definitions –

  1. It is the lack of belief that a person can manage multiple roles and give her best to each. It is also the lack of understanding of how that person manages multiple roles – that of a mother, a working woman and a leader.
  2. It is the perception of a possible (not proven) connection between additional personal / family responsibility and performance at the work-place.
  3. It is the lack of insight into how technology can be used for effective working arrangements that meet the organization and the individual’s needs.
  4. It is the absence of the ability to clearly define what a person actually needs to deliver as per the role, without confusing it with what the organization “thinks” the person needs to deliver.

What an organization needs to truly understand is that – Placing an individual into a business critical role is always a calculated risk. That an organization takes that risk equally with men and women when they decide which leader to place in a particular business-centric profile. Therefore, to think of it as a gender issue is not necessarily correct, nor the best approach

By Simran Oberoi

Simran Oberoi

Simran Oberoi is an independent HR Consultant in Bangalore, with HR Advisory, Knowledge Development and Research expertise of over 13 years, in Rewards & Compensation, Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Development, HR & Social Media. She has worked with consulting firms like Hay Group, Aon Hewitt and PricewaterhouseCoopers in the past, in India as well as Asia-Pacific leadership roles. Simran is also a keen baker – you can find her recipes at

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