Leading like a woman: What Assam’s top bureaucrat said on Women’s Day


“Before I begin my speech, I want you all to close your eyes and think of the greatest leader ever. Well, can I answer something?” Archana Verma asked IAS, Principal Secretary, and Government of Assam. She knew that most of the answers would be male.

“It is never a woman who comes to mind as a leader. As I was tested, I thought of Mahatma Gandhi,” Verma said.

Thus Verma started her speech at the first Women in Government Conclave of its kind held in Guwahati, an international platform to promote the leadership of leading women leaders representing various political parties from around the world.

“Now again, I want you to close your eyes and think of the qualities of a great leader,” she continued. The test also found that people commonly used words such as charisma, confidence, courage, strength, decisiveness, and discipline. Recent studies, however, show that leadership has enduring qualities, such as enlightened audiences – empathy, patience, cooperation, communication, and ethics.

This is where she realized that women, indeed, probably because of the fact and circumstances of their birth, score better than men in these parameters. However, these qualities are not considered as good as charisma, confidence, or qualities that are more focused on power.

Although women have come a long way, and you see a lot of women in leadership positions, women as a community are required to understand themselves, not as leaders. He added that it is not good to be motivated or ambitious because of this deep state of mind or only ambitious and driven people make good leaders.

“Like this black girl, although she thought of the name, she was reluctant to say it. So we need to remove this mental barrier for women not only in public service but in all walks of life. In which women have to be leaders. Or if we want to be leaders, we have to be more disgusted with our qualities, “said the principal secretary.

He remembered an interesting incident of being a very good Bihari. When he was allotted the Assam cadre, he became a little soft-spoken. So when she went to Delhi on deputation, she was soft-spoken and saw that no one was paying attention to her.

“All my staff was openly disobeying me, then the spring in me came out, and I scolded them. And then my PA came and said, ‘Madam, you did your best today, you did it today.’ So, the fact that I was not a woman but a ‘man’, and I think many of you officers who are in the service will testify that often we are serious about public service in another domain. You have to behave like a man to get it, “said Verma.

She said she often needs to lose her femininity in order to take it seriously in any field, and it is a stereotype that she feels women need to be eliminated.

“That’s why we need women to be role models in leadership positions because I remember when I was younger, Madam Kiran Bedi impressed me a lot to join the civil service because we heard about her. That they snatch the cars of important leaders and they are called. “Crane Bedi”, “Verma recalled.

We need leaders to break down the mental barriers that women have as a community. That’s why she thinks our society needs women leaders.

Despite being in a relatively gender neutral service and being self-motivated and passionate, over time, Archana Verma always faces the guilt of a working mother, as she is unable to balance work and life in her career. Are He believes that women are required to feel guilty about themselves, so we need women as role models. And that’s why women who break the glass ceiling with their courage and perseverance act as role models.

Verma gave examples of contemporary Indian women like the late Kalpana Chawla, Indira Novi, Geeta Gopinath, Mary Kom and Nirmala Sitharaman.

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