As a part of BizAsia’s series of specials for International Women’s Day, we spoke to Sapangeet Rajwant, Head – Marketing, and Digital – Hindi Mass Entertainment & Head of Brand Solutions – Viacom 18. Rajwant spoke to BizAsia’s Raj Baddhan about her journey in such a prominent role and the way she has overcome hurdles being a strong female in a male dominated industry.
How do you feel the role of women has evolved in the Indian TV industry over recent years?
Over the years, women have been challenging themselves and society by fighting odds, braving gender bias and creating a strong foundation for themselves. There have been inspiring examples of women who have taken up the mantle and led by example, especially in the Indian TV industry. At COLORS, several important functions including programming, marketing, and communications among others, are led by women who have transformed the business and helped the company scale successful heights. The phenomenon of women taking charge and contributing across roles has become more pronounced. With another decade gone by, we hope to see more gender equity across the Indian television industry and that day is not very far.
What do you think have been the key contributors in women being appointed at powerful positions in Indian television?
I believe, there is no reason to discern success based on gender. Women have evolved over time and today occupy positions of power across several sectors. Inspirational women leaders have excelled in their fields in spite of several challenges along with balancing work and family. Women have a lot of potential that needs to be tapped, and many corporates are now providing them platforms to flourish, which is a big change from how things were in the past. We need to continue this momentum and keep the fire within us burning. However, if you’re confident of your calibre, nothing will stop you from reaching your goals.
I won’t say there were no challenges and obstacles in my way, but one needs to learn to tackle them. A lot of it comes with the position of power and you need to dig your feet in the ground and stand tall.
Aside from the media, do you feel there is much more acceptance of women in positions of power at various establishments?
A few years back, if a leading position opened at one of the top companies, there were more chances that a man would be considered for that role. Being a woman, it was tough to reach the top level but this is not at all the case now. Women are expanding their roles. They have come out in the open now and are being given their due credit.
Since you joined Viacom18, what obstacles/challenges have you faced along the way?
Honestly, I’ve been one of those who has learnt to overcome hurdles with the sheer determination and support of my hardworking team. I won’t say there were no challenges and obstacles in my way, but one needs to learn to tackle them. A lot of it comes with the position of power and you need to dig your feet in the ground and stand tall.
As colleagues we are all equal, and the gender has no role to play. I have some of the best male colleagues who work with me in building successful campaigns, no gender defines it.
If a new female was starting in a role similar to yours, what kind of advice would you give her?
Don’t let anyone dissuade you just because you’re a woman. Your success will be based on your performance and that’s what should drive you to give your best.
Being in a powerful position you are in; how would you describe the attitude of male employees at your workplace?
To be very honest, after hearing this question, it made me think of how lucky I am that I have never felt any sort of disparity or gender bias. We don’t treat each other differently when it comes to work. As colleagues we are all equal, and the gender has no role to play. I have some of the best male colleagues who work with me in building successful campaigns, no gender defines it.
When it comes to recruiting, how much does gender factor in over the credentials of an applicant?
People today recognize gender fluidity and so do we at Viacom18. A person’s skills and ability to adjust under pressure is what we look at. Hiring a woman or a man doesn’t define the role or the position as both will have to make their place based on their performance.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
I believe, it is a day when we get to celebrate multitasking superheroes in our society. A lot has changed over time including societal thought processes. In India however, we are still breaking stereotypes one at a time and showcasing the true power of women in various roles.