I’ve been with Mypromovideos for more than five years now, the longest I’ve been with any group, save my family and school. During this period I’ve grown with the firm both metaphorically and literally (heh!heh!). Most of my time here, I’ve been the only woman in the crew ( Although off and on, we’ve had other ladies). So, it is pretty natural that I often get questioned about how I feel here, doesn’t it affect me in anyway? What has made me stick on? Well, there’s a short and a long answer to it. The short, tl;dr, answer is that I’m comfortable here and yes, it does affect me in some ways. But….there’s a longer answer too. And that’s what has made me stay on…
Equality…or should I say, Equity?
I joined this office as a single, working mother. I was still breastfeeding my son back then. I couldn’t work the same number of hours as my colleagues, and no one, not once, questioned why I had to go early. They easily accepted that having a mother in the team meant this, but I was never made to feel a lesser team player for this. I was welcome to bring my son to the office whenever I wanted. No, this was not because I’m a mother, this is how the office culture worked- people were welcome to bring their kids, nephews, nieces, family, pets(yes, the whole tribe!) whenever they wanted. Similarly, there were times when I couldn’t attend team-bonding activities, so activities were planned to make sure I could participate. Like a family that stuck together, every member of the team was valued, and that didn’t have anything to do with their gender or background.
Glass ceiling ? Never heard of it!
We have all heard of “glass ceiling” and those horror stories with poor pay and poor working conditions for women. Being inside Mypromovideos, is like being in a different world altogether. My gender not once came in the way of my career here. I joined as a Scriptwriter here, but soon I became the Senior Scriptwriter and Creative Director. I don’t think my gender EVER entered the minds of my employers or my cohorts. I was one of the best paid employees, because of my experience and role. My salary continues to increase systematically with others in my team. Incentives, opportunities, gifts…all came on par with my contribution and growth of the business.
So, is it an office of feminists?
Well, no, I wouldn’t go that far. The “f” word may actually seem scary to many of the folks here. Justin Trudeau stand aside, feminism is still draconian to some. But that is talking about individuals. Mypromovideos, as a firm, with a “people-before-everything” culture, does not discriminate. Here we’ve discussed everything from menstruation to parity. We create an atmosphere that helps those in need. Are you struggling with health, money, family, education…? Like a true guardian, it will lend you comfort. Not because you belong to a certain gender or certain community or certain background, but just because you need it and you are part of this ecosystem.
A note to startups…
A culture is not born overnight. It starts with small steps like these. When your organization is small, it is easier to plant the seeds of the culture you want. It may seem difficult to think of “principles” and “inclusivity”, along with the pressures of growing a business. It may be easier to compromise, to just get the work done.But I feel that if you have an inclusive atmosphere right in the DNA of your organisation, it is not likely to change, even as it grows.
Recently there were a stream of articles about treatment of women at Uber. I feel terrible for what these ladies had to go through, but somewhere in my heart, I also feel incredibly lucky. My abilities were never questioned because of my gender. I was not given a partial treatment because I’m a lady, nor was I discriminated.When you create such an atmosphere, loyalty and camaraderie thrive. Employees feel confident. A community is nurtured. And there, lies the reason why even after half a decade, I stay on.