Women's History Month, observed annually during the month of March in the United States, celebrates women's contributions to history, culture, and society. Along with International Women's Day, which similarly honors women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements, it is a time to recognize and support women's struggle for equality, rally for accelerating gender parity, and raise awareness of gender inequality, discrimination, stereotypes, and bias. To that end, the campaign theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. At Litera, it is a time for us, individually and collectively as an organization, to reflect on past efforts and plan to empower the women at Litera.
Today, in this second of a series of four spotlights that feature women at Litera, we sit down with Komal Dave – Senior Corporate Counsel. We explore her journey towards trusting her gut feeling, speaking out, as well as the advice she offers to other women in the legal industry.
Could you walk us through three key highlights in your career?
The first highlight to mention is more of a reflection. I have gained so much knowledge in the last ten years, and I have never stopped learning in the legal industry. Another accomplishment to mention at a previous organization was when I was appointed to its Board of Directors. I was chosen out of 1,500 people and was the youngest on the board. It made me believe that age has nothing to do with your ability to perform great work, as long as other people believe in you. Finally, a few years ago, I was invited to represent my previous company at a local meeting held by government officials. I was the only woman in the room and made sure to raise the points I came to defend. The next day, that particular issue I raised was the local newspaper's headline. I felt proud to be able to use my voice and have it recognized.
Have you experienced any challenges in your career due to being a woman? How did you overcome those challenges?
The biggest challenge I think I ever faced was when I just started working after graduating from university. I joined a large office that only had two other women employees, and the leadership team had very preconceived stereotypes that women could not handle a lot of work or pressure. Thankfully, through hard work and determination, I was able to change their approach during my time there.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
I see it as a celebration. I believe it is an occasion to celebrate every woman and their personal and professional development. It is also a time to celebrate the victories we have achieved worldwide in the fight for our rights. I believe International Women's Day should be used to celebrate women's victories, no matter how big or small.
How do you break the gender bias in your personal and professional life?
In my personal life and culture (as I am based in India), I have noticed household chores being taught and expected of women, but not men. That needs to change, and I believe everyone should teach their children household chores and being helpful to one another are things that have no gender.
In my professional life, at a previous organization, I was alerted about a sexist comment that was made to someone on my team. I was able to speak to both parties about the incident and report it to the appropriate department. I felt obligated to report this unacceptable behavior and voice my concerns, and I am proud I did so.
What career advice would you give to other women?
Work hard and use your voice. An important piece of advice I would share is to take care of your mental health. It's as equally important as your physical health and something that should be prioritized above all.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell her only one thing: follow your gut. When I was younger, I felt a lot of pressure to follow other people's advice on what was best for me, but my instinct told me otherwise. There are a lot of external societal pressures as well, but I would say to ignore them all and trust your gut feeling.
Posted in International Women's Day