Attitudes to women are changing for the better says Puja Bhesania, Commercial and Legal Administrator at Agilisys, as organisations discover the different qualities women can bring to the workplace.
As a member of the commercial team at Agilisys and as an entrepreneur – I continue to run the business I set up before joining Agilisys – it has been really interesting to see how attitudes to women have changed.
Today, I see a lot more respect for women and there are more opportunities, to the point where I think there’s much more demand for women. The reason for that, I think, is that women can bring different qualities to the workplace.
It’s a smart business and manager that recognises this, and I’m lucky to be in a department at Agilisys where this is the case. The commercial and legal team, led by Mark Gordon, is full of females, who are great at what they do, what they can achieve, how they negotiate, how they talk to clients…it’s so great to see.
What’s really interesting to me is that Mark recruits based on metrics – regardless of gender. There’s no subliminal bias or judging people on background. It’s just about getting the right people for the job and then providing the opportunity for people to develop, hone their skills and, crucially, maximise their potential. He’s looking for people with a willingness to work hard and learn.
That’s been a great support for me as I continue to learn. I’ve started to get to grips with the legal side of the business, even though I don’t come from a legal background. I’ve also gained loads of knowledge about commercials and negotiation, how this works and the structures and information trails that are needed in order to drive compliance. If I turned around to Mark and asked if I could learn about risk, he would say great, do it. If I didn’t want to do this through a formal course, he would be happy for me to learn in whatever format works for me. He’s giving me that opportunity to constantly learn and develop.
The support provided for staff is also great. Many women will talk about the support provided to juggle childcare – but for me Agilisys has been great in supporting my entrepreneurial ambitions.
For example, there’s a lot of give and take. I don’t mind working extra hours, but if I do need to take half a day of leave at short notice, as long as I have no meeting commitments that clash, it’s absolutely fine. It’s definitely a two-way relationship and I’ve never been told it’s weird to do two jobs! This supports me as a woman trying to forge an entrepreneurial career – and should be welcomed if more women are to follow suit and address the gender imbalance. I want to inspire women everywhere to achieve more, especially given the background I come from, and I can only achieve that with the support of my employer.
I think that all women should motivate and push each other. While the attitude exists – that women can’t do it, they shouldn’t do it or they won’t do it, women will have to come together and be positive. We have to motivate ourselves and shout about our successes. As more women become successful and stories are shared, any lingering gender stereotypes will start to evaporate – for the good of everyone.