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Women and Career: Barriers, Work-Life Balance, and Betterment of Society

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Ambitious career woman

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Of the Fortune 500 CEO’s, a meagre 21 of them are women. This basically translates to 4.2 %. Out of 195 independent countries worldwide, only 17 are led by women. Only 20% of the seats in parliaments globally are occupied by women. This means that when major decisions influencing a large number of people are made in the boardrooms and parliaments of the world, men are making these decisions.

2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee was at a book party celebrating the launch of her autobiography “Mighty Be Our Powers” hosted by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. She is also celebrated for leading women’s protests against Liberia’s dictator. During the party, someone asked her how American women could help the women who were victims of incidents like mass rapes in places like Liberia. Many thought she would reply with the name of an organization to donate money, but instead she replied with four words that forms one of the main points of this article. She said, “More women in power”. Now I had never even heard of Ms Gbowee till I read about her in an excellent book called Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg- which you should read by the way- but I applaud and admire her for her message because it is so, so true.

When more women work to the top of their careers they will be able to take the decisions that will help other women. When we read horrific incidents in papers about girls getting raped and ill-treated, we can grab our signs and march around and we can social network about I furiously, or we the women, can do our best to work it to the top of our respective career tables and we can ensure that we make the laws to protect women. A small example- In 2004 when Sheryl Sandberg was running online sales and operations groups at Google, she also happened to be pregnant with her son. Sandberg women face a full 9 months of morning sickness, so one morning, she rushed to office for an important client meeting, feeling heavily nauseated. Google was at the time a very fast growing company and Sandberg writes that parking was an ongoing issue. She parked rather far away and slowly waddled to the office for the meeting. This of course made her nausea worse and she prayed dearly that sales pitch would be the only thing that came out of her mouth at the meeting. That night she spoke to her husband Dave Goldberg about her troubles when he told her that at his then company Yahoo, they had pregnancy parking. The next day Sandberg march-waddled into Google founders’ Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s office and demanded pregnancy parking. They agreed immediately. Having one woman at the top made all the difference to many pregnant women to work at Google thereafter. Sandberg proudly notes that the pregnancy parking remains even to this day.

Barriers preventing women from reaching the top

There is no doubt that at the school and university level, girls are as good-if not better- than the boys. Girls are increasingly outperforming the boys in the famous ICSE and ISC board exams with 98.78% of the girls passing the ICSE board exams compared to the 97.73% of the boys; while in ISC it is 96.66% for the girls and 93.91% for the boys. The pass percentage in CBSE 10th exams was more or less the same with 98.94% of the girls passing and 98.64% of the boys passing. In the 12th exams also 87.98% of the girls passed with 77.78% of the boys passing. I think these numbers prove that the girls are very much capable of excelling and reaching the top of their careers. So this isn’t the problem. Then what is? Well the thing is, there are internal and external barriers preventing women from reaching the top.

Let’s start with external. Let’s take a word that is carelessly thrown around these days- “bossy”. You go to a school or an office and you hear this adjective being used to describe girls and women. But men? No. Rarely, or never. The reason is mainly because women are expected to be underplayed and soft- so when women speak up and stand up for themselves, they are deemed bossy. Men on the other hand are expected to be Outspoken and well- loud. Men are expected to be ambitious and chase after their dreams in career- women are expected to stay at home and keep house. A woman chasing her career dreams and being ambitious breaks unwritten rules of social conduct and is insulted and often shut out by society. In fact in my old school, we had a woman coming in for a Home Science demo class- the first thing she came in and said- You’re girls; you need to learn how to keep house. Home Science is a very important subject for you. This sends the wrong message to girls who want to work it to the top of their careers.

Another very important barrier- Success is positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. In 2003, Columbia Business School professor Frank Flynn and NYU professor Cameron Anderson ran an experiment to see how women and men are perceived in the workplace. They picked a real life Harvard Business School case study of a woman named Heidi Roizen. Half of the students were assigned to read Heidi’s story and the other half the same story- except the name Heidi was changed to Howard. The students were then polled about their impressions of Heidi/Howard. The students rated Heidi and Howard as equally competent, but Howard came across to them as a more appealing colleague. Heidi was called selfish and not the type of person one would want to work for.

Women who do well are not liked- by men AND women. As if this isn’t bad enough- studies show that in a picking of a police chief, if women possess certain qualities, those qualities are deemed more important and if she doesn’t they become very important. It is the exact opposite for men. Once again- this gender blindness is by both men and women.

Now: the internal barriers faced by women. The Imposter Syndrome: the name really says it all doesn’t it? When women do well or succeed at something, they feel fraudulent, as if “someone will catch them”. I have experienced this first hand. My old school had till the tenth grade and after, I applied to an elite school ranked number 1. I was shocked when they took me in without so much as an entrance test and checked my mail every day for them to send me a mail saying that my admission was a mistake and that they take it back. I was sure they would “catch me red handed.” I was sure I had gotten lucky and my friends and teachers voiced that opinion even though my parents protested against it. My SAT prep book advised me to pick hard courses in high school. Following its’ advice in the 9th grade I picked a subject about java which I was sure I would flunk in the 10th finals. When I finally got an 83, I was shocked and sure that there was some mistake. Then I thought- “Mom helped me on my project and it was pretty good. The viva questions were pretty easy so I did do pretty okay on that. Mom helped me a lot to study. I got quite lucky.” Ask a woman why she thinks she did well, she will attribute it to help from others and getting lucky. Ask a man and he would say- what? I’m awesome! What kind of a question is that? Women are naturally not so confident and not likely to raise their hands and voice their opinions. When applying for a job, men apply if they meet some of the qualifications and women only if they meet all of them. This makes women turn down a lot of great opportunities. Every time I think about signing myself up for a competition- I’m doubtful of whether I should, sure I’ll lose horribly and sure I’m not good enough. A boy would jump and kick people out of his way to take the opportunities I’ve turned down deeming incompetence.

Work and life balance

Now, one of the main reasons holding women back- the reason this is neither under internal or external barriers is because this is a little bit of both situation- household chores and childcare. Women decide that they must pick between a career and having a happy married life with children. Now if men can have both, why can’t women? When it comes to just married life it is definitely not true that a working woman with a successful job and career can’t have a good marriage and can’t be married. For example, in the 21 women of the Fortune 500 CEO’s, 19 are married, 1 is divorced and only 1 is single. Now when it comes to children, women believe that they cannot raise a child and work. Also, women leave work and decide that they can have just one of the two way too early.

Peggy Orenstein- the author of “Cinderella Ate My Daughter”- tells the story of a 5 year old girl who comes home from school looking disturbed. When her mother asks her what was wrong, she says that both she and the boy she likes want to become astronauts. Her mother asks her what’s wrong with that and she says, “Well, when the both of us have to go to space who will stay back to look after our kids? I think it will have to be me.” That is one very smart little girl because sadly, that is true. Women start thinking about balancing work and home far too early. The funny thing is- even when they get pregnant, they have nine months to prepare.

I saw a special on TV about a small restaurant in Kerala run by women completely. The restaurant is crazy popular and busy, and most days they work up till 9 pm. They then have to go home and do all the housework as well. So ineffectually, they end up with 2 full time jobs. There are many women all around the world with ungrateful partners who refuse to help with 50% of household chores and childcare. It is important that partners’ are sensitive to women’s careers and help with half off the work at home. That way, the household gets more economic support to raise the children; something very important what with the rising prices of groceries, fuel and other necessities. My aunt and uncle are great examples of leaning in at work and at home. They both have full time jobs, and not one child, but twin boys. They have neatly split up the chores and childcare hence working extra hard at work and raising two awesome little men.

When fathers are great examples- and believe me there are men out there like that and they are the most attractive kind- sons are inspired to be like that when they grow up and we have more women able to work it all the way to the top.

Bringing the change and making the society used to

Another problem is the way people perceive this equal splitting. In society, the men are supposed to be the breadwinners and the women are supposed to take care of the children and homes. So when they see a woman in the office and a man in the playground, they get put off. This has to change. When I was in the 4th grade, my classmate asked me what my mother did. I told her that she worked in an office. She did a double take and announced proudly- My mother doesn’t do that, she stays at home to cook me my favourite things, take care of me and take me out. My father works in an office.

One of my favourite stories on the Lean In Org online page –www.leanin.org- is about a young woman who was raised in the US but comes to a village in India for college. Her parents bring her; get her a car and a driver. She protests furiously saying that she wants to get her own license and not depend on any driver. The cab driver answers quickly saying that it is not safe for a girl to drive on her own and that none of the women in the village drive. Her parents go back to the US and as college progresses she secretly learns driving from her driver and starts driving herself to college. People start staring and whispering at first, but as time goes on they not only get used to it, but all the girls and women start learning driving. They are more independent and don’t have to depend on any men to go anywhere.

My reason for relating this story is to say that as more women become working it to the top and more men start taking care of the house and the children, society will not only get used to it, but also start practicing the same themselves. Once people at top positions understand the gender blindness they will be able to make wiser choices while picking people for promotions keeping in mind that women are disliked for being successful. Women can understand their feelings of being “unworthy” and “frauds” are not true and start grabbing more opportunities.

I love how Nora Ephron put it in her 1996 Wellesley commencement speech while talking about women having families and careers, “It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands.”

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The Importance and Usefulness of Medical Posters in Research

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The results of scientific work and research projects in the medical field can be disclosed in a variety of ways. Along with the scientific article and the oral presentation, medical poster presentations are one of the most important and most common communication formats among researchers in the medical field.  The medical poster is a graphic summary of a previous research whose composition consists of a short title; an introduction to the hypothesis: an overview of the experimental approach; the most interesting results, and a discussion about the results obtained. It is also important to include a list of the relevant articles used during  research. And, when there is still room available, it is worth to mention the persons or institutions that have contributed to the work by giving funding or technical assistance.  

Why are medical poster presentations relevant?

Medical posters are an alternative to oral presentations because they offer the opportunity to present research projects or papers that cannot be presented orally for various reasons – for example, if the author resides in a country other than that of the conference venue. Plus, they help to achieve the ultimate goal of all communication in a scientific congress: the transmission of a message by the author and its capture by the audience. This is possible because medical posters allow the attendees to analyze research results at a speed that matches their knowledge and skills, and also because it is easier to remember images – especially if you have time to look at them carefully – than to remember the content of an oral presentation.

In the medical field, posters are a form of communication with great potential because they enable the concise, clear and permanent transmission of their content, without the time restrictions imposed by oral conferences. Medical posters offer the possibility of establishing direct communication with the author(s) of the poster promotes the one-to-one exchange of opinions with a tranquillity that is difficult to achieve in the context of a large-scale conference. E- poster platforms such as https://www.postersessiononline.com/ have virtual galleries where the delegates have access to all the posters and they can interact in the same way they did during the congress, contacting the author, downloading the poster and even starting a discussion in the forum.

On the other hand, an additional advantage of medical posters is that the author does not have to prove his erudition and the presentation does not become a difficult oral examination, which is especially important when research is presented in a language other than mother tongue. It also allows doctors who find it difficult to overcome the pressure of an oral presentation to expose the results of their work.

How is the ideal medical poster?

The design of the poster is important both to attract the interest of people who visit the room where the poster is displayed and to comprehend in a very short time the most relevant aspects of our work. The reading of the poster -and the subsequent understanding of the content should take less than 10 minutes. A poster must be visually attractive and that is why it is important not only to know how to combine colors, letters, images and graphics, but also that it does not contain too much written information: the maximum recommended is 800 words. Therefore, the information should be synthesized so that, in a few minutes, the attendees have a clear idea of the objective and result of the research that they are reading. In this regard, a well-designed medical poster must satisfy the following criteria: Visual appeal, personality, aesthetic balance, clarity in the explanation of ideas, quick understanding of the hierarchy and distribution of the parts, synthesis and rigor.

You also have to take into account the font and size that is used, as some are too complicated to read. Times New Roman, for example, is often used in written texts but is not suitable for a poster as it is difficult to see and read from a distance. The color chosen for our poster is also important. Do not use colours that are too light on a light background or dark colours on a dark background. It is also advisable to avoid loud colours. Another common mistake is to plague the poster with too much information. Don’t forget that the medical poster is not an article in large print. Try to reduce the text and use more graphic resources such as tables, figures or images.

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Students' Column

Learn to Speak Spanish fluently step by step

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Learn Spanish Street

With a large Latino population in the english speaking countries and the booming Latin economies, employers are desperate for people who speak Spanish. There is a huge demand of Spanish-speakers in nursing, construction management and media, among many other positions. So, either if you want to promote or get a better position, If you’d like to travel to a Spanish-speaking country or you have been there for a long time but you have,’t managed to master the language perfectly, you are probably asking yourself the following question: What can I do to speak Spanish fluently?

Well, first thing you can do is acknowledge that learning a language is not the same thing than speaking a language. You can study grammar and read books for years, but when you travel and try to communicate, you are unable to understand the natives. On the contrary, there are people who can barely read in a language but who can talk with other people just fine. Why is that? Because, as it happens in music, we can play an instrument by ear without knowing a single thing about music theory. If you want to be fluent in Spanish, there is only one thing you can do: speaking Spanish. Sure, learning the basic grammar and vocabulary will help, but you will only master the language if you practise your speaking –and make the subsequent mistakes often.

Step 1: Sign up for an online course

To learn how to be fluent in Spanish in less time, the ideal would be to go to Spain or a Latin country and dive into the language immersion. However, this option is not available for everyone, so the closest you can get to that is by using the best learning tool of all times: the Internet. You will find endless tools and resources that will help you and facilitate the process. There are several online courses based on developing your communication skills such as the one offered by http://www.hablarespanol.com where you will be able to learn the basic grammar and vocabulary and learn how to use them in context.

Step 2: Learn all the vocabulary you are capable of

A part of the essence of a language is found in its vocabulary. Words are like bricks that allow us to build our discourse and make communicative exchanges. No matter what level of Spanish you are currently in, there are always new words to learn. Opt for a thematic approach. There are many vocabulary manuals composed of thematic cards. Learning 30 words a day, you will be able to cover 70% of the Spanish vocabulary in a few months. The idea is not to memorize the entire dictionary, but to find the necessary resources to learn the vocabulary you need based on your goals. You can start learning how to introduce yourself in Spanish, talking about everyday objects or adressing your professional skills

Step 3: Study the grammar basics

Grammar is what allows you to build and structure sentences. Sometimes it is the most complicated part of learning a language, but the good news is that you can use it even without understanding the mechanics of it. If you listen enough native speakers, you will mimic their structures when you speak without thinking about it –just as little kids do.

It is best to learn about 1,000 words before beginning to study grammar. You will need several days to get used to the main grammatical structures in Spanish –you can find them in an online course, textbooks or just searching online. But as soon as you have learn the basics, move on to speaking practice.

Step 4: Speak. Practice pronunciation. Speak again.

The ideal is that you get to speak at least 2 – 3 hours of Spanish per week. Find a language Exchange tandem or a tutor online to practice conversation. . In each session, focus on keeping the conversation flowing each other rather than on not making mistakes. You can also try to translate your thoughts or say them out loud. In any day-to-day situation, get used to ask yourself: How would you say this in Spanish? To improve your pronunciation, listen to native speakers. You can do so by listening to music, radio and podcast in Spanish and watching movies and TV series in Spanish (first with subtitles, then without them).

Step 5: Keep improving by learning and writing in Spanish

Reading will allow you to learn new words or structures and will encourage your memorization. After a few weeks, once you have acquired a solid foundation, start reading in Spanish: press articles, book, magazines, online articles, and so on. Any resource is good to read and improve your vocabulary and expressions. In addition, since when we write we memorize everything much better, it is also a good idea to keeping a diary in Spanish. Try to write a few paragrahps about how your day was every nigh. The more you write, the better you will assimilate the language.


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Students' Column

Why do people think that higher education is important?

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Why should you be well-educated to gain success nowadays?

It is probably not a secret that many people nowadays decide that they should not get a higher education. Are you one of these people? You probably think that studying in the university is useless and you can become a well-educated person without this institution. You can read specialized books and articles, watch special videos and get the same level of qualification at home. Well, we are going to dispel this myth. Continue reading if you are ready to change your mind forever. So, let’s start.

Bullying and free online services – the main reasons for this situation in the educational market

Fortunately, people in the US usually do not declare that there is no need to study. They understand that we live in the 21st century and only our intelligence can help us to gain success. It is a very sad but true rule: only smart people can overcome problems, find a good job and earn a lot of money. However, some people also think that there is no need to visit special institutions to become a smarter person and improve some skills.

Of course, we are not going to refuse the fact that you can become a well-educated person without visiting a special building five times a week. And it is really cool! We have an opportunity to study at home without any problems. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars to figure out something new. Just open the appropriate webpage and that’s all – you get unlimited access to useful information and knowledge. It is really impressive!

For example, if you do not want to waste your free time in the university, you can visit coursera.com and study the same subjects and courses online. And there is no need to pay for these courses. This possibility is extremely profitable.

Moreover, many students do not want to study in the university because of bullying. This problem is very serious and it causes obvious consequences – children do not want to visit schools, universities and colleges. Our government and educational system do not implement new rules and approaches to solving this problem and the level of our education decreases. To solve this problem, we should understand the reason for this situation. What forces people to do that? If you want to figure out more about bullying and the most popular causes of bullying, you should visit this website – https://scoobydomyessay.com/blog/causes-of-bullying-at-school/.

So, we have already understood why do people do not want to study in universities and discovered the most frequent aspects which cause bullying. Now, let’s consider 3 reasons which can convince you that high-quality education and studying in university is really important.

3 benefits of studying in the university or college

So, why should you study in the university?

  • Networking

It is probably not a secret that universities and colleges are something like big communities of smart people, who are united by one purpose – figure out something new and useful. These people are well educated and motivated. They understand what they want to get from their lives and what they should do if they really want to turn their dreams into reality. Students are smart and interesting people, that’s why we really think that it is one of the best platforms for networkers. If you want to find new friends or even business partners, you should enter the university right now. Networking is extremely useful because it can help you to overcome problems in the future and solve day-to-day questions. For example, you can find a good job or even your future wife. So, do not lose this chance!

  • Unlimited access to knowledge

Even despite the fact that you can study at home with the help of the Internet, we cannot declare that it is an equal alternative. There are many limitations if you choose online studying. In addition, universities give you an opportunity to communicate with wise teachers who are ready to help at any time of a day. This individual approach changes the whole situation. Finally, the fact is that students can use universities’ equipment and books.

  • Diploma

If you study at home, you will not get a special diploma. You cannot prove your knowledge and employers will not be interested in you at all. However, if you have a diploma, you can find a high-paid job without big problems.

Conclusion

Therefore, consider all pros and cons and choose your own way. Keep in mind that everything depends on your specialization. If you can become a real specialist without studying in the university, you should develop yourself at home. However, if the situation differs, choose another way. Do not hesitate anymore and create your own history!

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