Interview with Prof. Indira J. Parikh

Prof. Indira J. Parikh

Prof. Indira J. Parikh

On the Occasion of International Students Day, Paycheck India interviewed Prof Indira Parikh who is the Founder President of FLAME Institute, Pune and was faculty member at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad for over 30 years and Dean from 2002-2005. She has specialized in organization development and offered management development programs for managerial role effectiveness, training for trainers, issues of role and identity, and stress and self-renewal for men and women in organizations.

Talking to Prof Biju Varkkey (Project Leader-Paycheck India project), Prof. Parikh highlights career decisions that young students make, their worries and concerns and what factors one can consider to make informed decision.

Paycheck: Can you reflect on the perspective of the young students about studies, work and their life?

Prof. Parikh: Today’s young generation of students especially the urban students, have a free spirit. They come from smaller families, mostly nuclear families, and education is seen as a means to career opportunities. They are social and interactive and for the first time in the country this generation has experienced some childhood and adolescence. Their life is different from than that of their parents with televisions, mobile phones, smses, computers, chat possibilities, facebook, etc. they are intelligent, get bored easily and require constant attention. They have not experienced systemic boundaries, are defiant and rebellious. However, once the boundaries are defined and implemented they settle down. Parents cannot control or discipline them.

Paycheck: According to you, what should be done in and beyond classroom to empower young students especially girls/women to follow their dream, choose career of their choice and gain economic independence?

Prof. Parikh: In order to have their talent flourish, the students need to have choices in the larger and multiple educational streams. They need to participate in sports, performing arts and experience the wider spectrum of life. When they experience the diversity they start to respond to their inner calling. Today the focus is on generating wealth and a lifestyle which provides comfort and luxury. The focus on such life style is good provided it is anchored in values, ethics and laws of the land. The students also need adult interaction and dialogue space.

Paycheck: Considering that woman play multiple roles in the society, how can they ensure their continuous self development (skills/knowledge)? What are the resources available to them?

Prof. Parikh: Women have better opportunities than they ever did in the earlier millenniums in India. However, the country needs to create more spaces, opportunities and interface with women and with dignity. Women play multiple roles and they can evolve into dynamic roles given the education and more so as they enter the work stream. In the coming decades, the family will be sustained with a quality of life when both partners work and generate resources and create, build and shape the family.

Paycheck: What message would you like to convey to young women who are entering the workforce?

Prof. Parikh: Women entering work today must realistically accept that the entire society is not restraining and constraining, nor are all the men. There are some elements who are anchored in archaic and traditional social structures.

First of all, women must accept the uniqueness of their identity, learn to dream big, take small steps first to translate the dreams into reality and accept that they play multiple roles in multiple systems. They will receive support from where they least expect it and they may not receive support from where they seek it. Most important they must learn to value and respect themselves. They can make departures, create a new path and walk many a new steps.


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