How To Succeed As An Executive Assistant

How To Succeed As An Executive Assistant

Everyone knows good help is hard to find. If you are an executive searching for a top-flight assistant – or even the other way around – it helps to know what you are looking for.

A friend of mine recently interviewed for a position as executive assistant to a CEO, and since I also happen to be the head of a company, she turned to me for some insight. She especially wanted to know what I consider to be the five most important attributes of an outstanding assistant.

I had to stop to gather my thoughts. Although I am my company’s CEO, I do not have an executive assistant who goes by that title. However, several members of our firm’s administrative staff perform those functions for me within the scope of their other duties. Moreover, a number of our firm’s clients have been CEOs and other top-level executives, so I have worked closely with EAs for many years.

Executive assistants, like administrative assistants generally, share some traits with the secretaries who were their historical predecessors. Yet the position looks different today. Yes, some EAs do field their boss’ phone calls or manage their calendars, but they may also attend meetings or negotiations, analyze business documents, prepare research reports and supervise more junior staff. Each executive will need a slightly different skill set from an assistant, depending on the industry, the company and the executive’s personal work style. Although the precise duties vary, the best assistants will typically display many of the same qualities.

Some of the EAs with whom I have worked have been remarkably skilled. Fans of USA Network’s drama “Suits” will recognize Donna in many of the characteristics I discuss, and not without reason. I see a lot of Donna in many of the EAs I know, minus the slinky designer clothes, questionable office banter and entangling personal relationships that are much more common on TV dramas than in real life.

So which five qualities are at the top of my list for an EA who is destined to be a star?

1. Loyalty. An outstanding assistant must be committed to the success of the enterprise as a whole, and to the executive’s efforts to guide it. The best EAs will not hesitate to give their boss an honest opinion, whether to agree or disagree, but they will never criticize or undermine their bosses behind their backs.

2. Discretion. A high-level EA will inevitably have access to highly sensitive information, including information about the company itself, its clients or customers, and fellow employees. The assistant’s boss must trust that the EA will never share or use this information inappropriately.

3. Judgment. An executive assistant is the gatekeeper for much of the information flowing toward his or her boss. He or she must discern which items require immediate attention, which can wait and which should be redirected to someone else’s desk. Perhaps most important, excellent EAs know when to ask their bosses for guidance. Some of this judgment comes with experience, but some is simply a cultivated sense of how to properly evaluate the boss’ priorities. A smart EA will also know when something is worth handling differently than usual.

4. Initiative. To maximize both their assistant’s efficiency and their own, accomplished executives want to drop as many problems as possible into the assistant’s lap. Assistants must be prepared to tackle a wide array of challenges, from regular tasks to rare and complex projects they have never encountered before. By the way, bosses also appreciate assistants who, when alerting them to a problem, simultaneously offer a potential solution.

5. Accuracy. Top executives usually care a lot about details, but their jobs do not allow the time to get deep into the weeds. They rely on others to present information clearly, concisely and – above all – accurately. After all, you can’t make good decisions on bad information. The strongest EAs are masters of detail.

You will notice I did not include items like “organization,” “effective communication” or “time management.” That is because those sorts of skills are basic requirements, not distinguishing traits of a star performer. A disorganized assistant to a top-level executive does not stay in that job very long.

Today’s executive assistant need not type letters or learn stenography. I think of the position in much the way Eleanor Roosevelt is sometimes portrayed in her working relationship with her husband – someone whose loyalty is unquestioned, ready to act as eyes, ears and troubleshooter.

The best executive assistants make themselves equally indispensable. They also have one more characteristic I have not mentioned: They are often choosy about who they work for. If you are lucky enough to find one of these high-powered assistants, you need to know how to get the most out of that individual. Or else you should ask your new assistant to show you how it’s done.

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Starting A Business in 2016

Starting A Business in 2016

Millions of people right now want to get into business, and ditch the 40 hour work week. If you are seeing yourself wanting to jump into a better production cycle, you need to look at focusing on internet business opportunities. You could start your quest by searching online terms like, 2016 internet business. That may sound like a good course of action, but it’s not. You’re going to get hit with a lot of opinions on the matter. Most of them will not suffice in giving you the right leverage. If you’re serious about jumping from a boring job, then it’s time to look at a few steps to get you into the right option today.

Investigate Several Paths

As you start to nail down your search for 2016 internet business online, you will want to look at various paths. Do not get bogged down in “one” path. You want to make sure that you are breaking things down in such a manner that you find the “right” solution for starting a business. Whether that means starting from scratch, or jumping into an existing model, you will definitely want to look at several solutions overall. You cannot take for granted this simple step. If you just wake up tomorrow and decide, “I’m going to start a business”, you’re going to fail. Investigate several paths, and see what fits your wants and needs.

Start Working On The Little Things

Once you’ve identified the method or program that you want to pursue, take time to start working on the little things. Start looking at what you need to do to sign up, or how you need to work towards:

making daily & weekly plans for your internet business
setting up a website or blogs (domain names, hosting, contents)
getting familiar with outsourcing content writers that will help you write your content
allocating funds for your internet business

Or anything that is going to help you launch in the New Year. If you start working on things now, when 2016 rolls in, you’re going to be steadfast in regards to triumphing against competitors. Working on the little things shouldn’t take you more than a few hours a week, and done right, this will alleviate stress down the line.

Build Content

The next big thing that you need to work with in order to get your 2016 internet business ideas fleshed out is to build content. Content design is the key to starting a business right. What this means is that your website has to have things on it, and not just a skeleton. That’s why it’s important to work on the little things first. Get a domain name, establish some web presence, build your social media platforms, and get ready to start posting on a regular basis. Building content is going to save you a lot of headache down the line, that’s for sure.

Start Before 2016 Begins

At the end of the day, if you’re serious about starting a business in 2016, you should work at it now. Start working on the little things now, and when the New Year rolls through, you won’t panic or have a lot of elements that could cause you to stumble. Starting a business on day one is difficult, but if you plan ahead, good things can happen, and profits can be realised up fast.

Best Practices for a Successful Acquisition or a Merger

Best Practices for a Successful Acquisition or a Merger

Pre-requisites For a Merger or an Acquisition:

Identify the Assets and Liabilities and have a clear definition of what an asset or a liability is. In the cased of shared assets and liabilities it is essential to arrive at the final dollar amounts so that there is no confusion when the final merger or acquisition happens.

Take into account future revenue generating events and have the figures consolidated into the as-of balance sheet.

Identify how the processes of the acquired company can be tweaked to fit into the overall business processes.

Identify specific roles of the acquired organizations personnel since there might be duplication of efforts.

Establish a reconciliation cut-off data for all business related transactions so that the income and liability statements are accurate.

Establish a consistent revenue recognition mechanism between the merged entities so that revenue leakage if any can be addressed as early as possible.

Business Process Strategy:

Form a team of experts to identify all the business processes and transactions which need modification with the organizational change.

Involve IT during the function point/s analysis so that the risks if any can be addressed and the business systems will be ready by the time an acquisition or a merger happens ex: System Readiness, Data Quality and Data accuracy etc.

Draw up a detailed plan as to how the in-flight or incomplete transactions are to be handled. Ex: Existing and Future supplier liabilities, Revenue from Sales etc.

Establish a meaningful change control so that any issues identified with respect to data are addressed through a proper mechanism ex: having designated personnel to obtain customer feedback and making changes to the process so that the transition is easy on all the stakeholders and most importantly on the customers.

Ensure there is a proper correlation between customer facing functions and back office functions with the organizational change Ex: Between a contract negotiator and Receivables supervisor.

Communicate to the customer who is one of the important stakeholders regarding the organizational change which can help alleviate the pain points if any.

One of the important considerations which need to be taken into account is the statutory and legal reporting of the new organization if the parent organization belongs to a different legal entity. Sufficient time should be allocated to test all the transactional data and the amounts which when reported to a statutory body are in conformance with the standards of the country in which the organization is based out of.

Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

Do you know the difference between strategy and tactics? Most leaders who think they are talking about strategy are really stuck in tactics. Many times it is hard to see the difference. A business owner called me today because he read “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish and was honest in admitting he was confused. When you think you are developing a strategy for your business, could you be confusing it with tactics?

Two Strategic Questions Every CEO Must Answer

Strategy is the plan of action to achieve a major or overall aim. While strategy can be used in many contexts, I recommend that you and your executive team be able to clarify your strategy from two vantage points.

1.What is the critical strategy you will use to turn your business in to a cash-producing machine?
2.What is the unusual strategy that you will use to cause customers to choose you over your competition without violating strategy number 1?

I recommend that each of these questions be distilled down to a one-sentence answer. The simpler you can keep your answer, the more likely it is that everyone in your organization can understand and execute on it. A good strategy clarifies the dos and don’ts. For example, a story Gazelles coaches use to help illustrate this point is IKEA. Their strategy could be described in the phrase “flat pack furniture”. They have chosen to ignore the desires of customers to have multiple, easy-to-access locations at which to shop, and IKEA also does not assemble or install their products unless you purchase those services at an additional cost. It is up to the customer to drive distances to get to their locations, complete the transport of the goods, assemble and install them. In exchange for these trade-offs, they have a significant price advantage over their competitors in the residential and small office furniture industry.

Tactics Are the How… But Are You Solving the Right Problems

Tactics are the steps you take to achieve your strategy. The blessing (or curse) of the entrepreneur is that they are problem solvers. They get things done! However, many times they are not getting the “right” things done. Do you find that when you are having strategic discussions, you and your team very quickly jump to problem-solving? Too often this need for activity causes organizations to have to do 2 and 3 times the work required to achieve the desired outcome. Leaders will be proud of the outcome and not realize they unnecessarily worked everyone to death; including themselves.

So the challenge is to know which tactics matter and to focus them on the right problems, and that is why Strategy is so important. The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Your job as a leader is to determine which 20 percent of the activities (tactics), when given the most attention, will have the 80% impact. This includes identifying those things you must “stop” doing.

4 Cool Tricks to Maximize Your Credit Card

4 Cool Tricks to Maximize Your Credit Card

Your credit card is an important tool when it comes to your finances. This is precisely the reason why you should try your best to make the most of its perks. You may not realize it, but there are a number of things that you can do to maximize your card’s use.

This article presents a couple of cool tips every cardholder needs to remember.

Make best use of your Billing Cycle

The way you pay your monthly bills is crucial to maximizing your card. For instance, if you settle your dues punctually and in full, then you will be able to avoid being charged with interest. This is probably the best way to use your card. This is because you are technically getting a free loan from your card provider.

Of course, there are still a couple of tricks you can do to step things up. Consider this: if you make a charge a day before your statement is closed, then that you will have around 20-25 days to settle that charge. However, making that same charge a day after the statement is closed will give you a total of at least 55 days to pay that charge. This is because that charge will be transferred to the next billing cycle.

Another important trick you need to remember is that some card providers actually allow their users to move back their due dates, thus extending their payment cycles. This can certainly help if you find yourself in a financial jam. However, you need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to this repeatedly.

Always ask to be reconsidered

If your initial credit card application was rejected, you should never hesitate to ask for reconsideration. There is always the possibility that your credit worthiness was not assessed correctly. Keep in mind that the process itself is not perfect, so mistakes are bound to happen.

Just give your card provider a quick call. Explain to them why you deserve to be approved for that particular card. If you are convincing enough, the person on the other end of the line might just give you that card you want.

Threaten a Chargeback

Asking for your money back from a merchant is often a futile effort. Fortunately, credit card users have a slight edge over people who pay with cash. As a credit cardholder, you are entitled to a chargeback option.

The chargeback option is an important trick all card owners need to remember. All you have to do is call the merchant, and ask to speak to a supervisor. Inform them that you want your money back. However, if your initial attempts at a refund are rejected, then tell them that you intend to ask for a chargeback from your card provider.

It is virtually guaranteed that the supervisor will change their mind once you threaten them with this. This is because a chargeback means increased merchant fees. They would rather give you back your money than be charged any additional fees.

Make the Most out your Reward Cards

As you may have already noticed, many reward cards rely on gimmicks to make you spend more. Do not fall for this trap. Overspending is the among worst things you can do with your credit card. Instead, you should try using these cards creatively. Earn reward points the smart way.

For instance, if you want to qualify for a sign up bonus, then try using your credit card to purchase gift cards. Just make sure that you will be using these in the future. That beings said, buy them from retailers that you visit often.

Important Factors in Child Development

Important Factors in Child Development

The first five years of life, children rely on their parents to guide them and support their emotional, intellectual, and social development, and keep them physically healthy. They also rely on parents to keep them safe and provide vital care. It was difficult for narrow down the most important factors of development, especially since so many aspects of a child’s development are intertwined. Many of these supporting factors of development may overlap and rely on one another.

Nurturing Parents/Caregivers

Being a nurturing caregiver and providing the necessities for a child to develop is an important aspect to parenting. nurturing caregivers provide food, protection, warmth, and affection. Without nurturing parenting healthy development will not be accomplished and a child may not thrive. Children need to feel safe, especially since they are so vulnerable and rely so heavily on adults. Parents should keep children safe from physical harm, but just as importantly, from emotional harm. Children need to understand safety and how to remain safe as they become more independent. Introducing safety rules before other rules can help regulate a child’s behavior as they develop.

Emotions

Children are in tune with parents’ emotions and feed off the emotion being expressed. In a child’s early years, parents should try to have positive moods around their babies, responding to them with love and affection, and encouraging happiness. A child will respond to a smiling parent with joy, and will being to model their parent’s expressed emotions. A baby can sense a stressed parent who uses negative reinforcement and is unhappy. Being aware of emotions and what is being expressed around a child is very important. Providing children with love, affection, and happiness is crucial to their emotional development. Happiness is not going to rule out negative emotions, but a child who feels happiness and love is going to be able to better self-manage feelings such as anger, frustration, and fear. Often times, some parents disregard the child’s emotions and this could create barriers. Surrounding a child with negativity, fighting with a spouse in front of a child, and exposing them to frustration and constant unhappiness can also be detrimental to a developing child. Children may not be able to understand what is being said or the context, but they understand the emotional tone and physical reactions.

Play

When parents read and play with children, it helps them grow intellectually and is crucial to language development. It also helps with social development and to expand the child’s thinking in creative ways. Reading and play prepares a child for the entrance into school or social learning environments. Utilizing developmentally age appropriate games and toys will enhance healthy development in the following areas:

1. Social Development

Sharing

Taking turns

Cooperating with others

Leadership qualities

2. Language Development

Communications skills

Narrating skills

3. Physical Development

Gross and fine motor skills

Independence skills

Task completion

4. Emotional Development

Self-esteem

Self-confidence

Discipline

Discipline is essential to guiding a child through life, but some discipline methods can harm a child’s wellbeing. Being patient and understanding that each child is an individual goes a long way. Remaining calm, together, and avoiding explosive, harsh, and physical discipline is the most effective way to guide a child through early development. There should be discussions and open communication about desired behavior, and rewards for positive behavior. Boundaries need to be created and reinforced, but in a way the child understands and is logical.

In Sum

It is amazing just how significant the first two years, and the first five years of a child’s life are. The impact on the child’s future during this time is monumental. Acknowledging the uniqueness of a child and respecting them, loving them, providing care, and supporting their emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and language development is essential. This phase creates an opportunity for a healthy lifelong bond between child and parent and shows parents just how incredibly important their support is in the process.

Guide to Investing For Beginners

Guide to Investing For Beginners

This is a real basic guide to investing for beginners. Sometimes the new investor gets lucky simply due to circumstances. Other times the odds are stacked against you the day you start investing. Here are some incites to help steer the new investor in the right direction.

As a general guide to investing for beginners, stock investing is the centerpiece of the average investment portfolio. Bonds become more important as you near retirement. Stock investing is where you either make it or get busted in your working years, and timing is just about everything.

Don’t overlook the luck factor; and don’t rely on it. If you were lucky enough to start investing in 1982, you had 18 years of easy stock investing and bond investing ahead of you. Stocks (equities) were in a bullish mode and interest rates were coming down from historical highs. A new investor in the year 2000 or in late 2007 was not lucky in any sense of the word. Investing for beginners was tough.

If you are a new investor and frustrated, do what the sports professionals do when they are in a slump: get back to basics, in this case investing basics. Equities and bonds are only half of the equation. Think in terms of four basic investment categories: equities, bonds, safe investments and alternative investments.

Since you can’t count on luck, especially in stock investing, always have money invested in all four categories. Safe investments like bank CDs, savings accounts, and money market securities pay interest and add stability to your portfolio. Alternative investments like real estate, basic materials, precious metals and even foreign securities can produce profits and help offset losses when U.S. stocks and/or bonds are in a slump.

By having money in safe investments and alternative investments as well as U.S. equities and bonds, the investing basics are on your side from a historical perspective. To be honest with you, the financial world has been difficult for most of us to get a handle on since the financial crisis unfolded in 2008. Since then, safe investments have paid peanuts, with interest rates falling to all-time lows. Many other investments, like real estate and basic materials, were hit for heavy losses along with the stock market.

Investing in 2009 was very unpredictable, with stocks soaring after being devastated previously. This is all the more reason for the new investor to go back to investing basics and cover all the bases. Investing for beginners can be tough enough without having to search for investments in all four of the asset classes I have covered. How can you simplify the process?

Mutual funds are available to cover all the bases, including safe investments called money market funds. You pick the funds, and they do the management for you.

A retired financial planner, James Leitz has an MBA (finance) and 35 years of investing experience. For 20 years he advised individual investors, working directly with them helping them to reach their financial goals.

keys to Developing Your Child’s Genius

keys to Developing Your Child’s Genius
Would you like your child to be the best that he can be – to
achieve his maximum potential? Imagine how successful your
child can be with a brilliant mind, lightening fast learning
skills, an accurate, lasting memory, creativity and problem
solving skills of a genius. Here are 10 keys to developing your
child’s genius.

1. When Should I Start?

Start immediately. Do you have a newborn? Excellent time to
start. Do you have a teenager? It is not too late! There are
many things you can teach your teenager, that will increase his
chances of success in life, as well as improve your relationship
with him. Many of these things are never taught in school!

2. Make it Fun

Learning is fun! If you observe little children at play, you
will notice that by playing, they are actually performing
research of the toy they are playing with. When they feel that
they have learned all that they can learn from the toy, they
toss it aside and look for a new one. If you make learning fun ,
your child will develop the love of learning.

3. You Are Your Child’s Natural Teacher

As a parent, you are your child’s natural teacher. No matter how
many teachers your child has in school or outside of school, you
are his first and most important teacher. Your child learns from
you the most important things in life. Make sure to take
advantage of this fact to teach your child important lessons.

4. Don’t Keep Your Child Behind

We all underestimate the ability of children to learn. A newborn
cannot speak yet, so we don’t know how much and how fast he can
learn. Young children are dependent on us to provide the
learning materials to them. It is important to realize, that a
child learns a language in his first year of life! This is a
huge achievement, as everyone who has tried to learn a second
language knows.

At the time a child starts speaking, single words at first and
then whole sentences, he already understands a vast majority of
things that are said to him. His mastery of the language is
already much better than he can demonstrate by talking.

At the core of this incredible ability to learn a language, is
the skill of pattern recognition. This skill is also important
in reading, music and many other areas.It is wise to take
advantage of this incredible skill to teach the young child as
much as we can.

5. Let Your Child Lead the Way

Children are interested in different subjects at different
periods of time. Expose your child to many subjects, and let
your child show you what he enjoys most, what he is interested
in most. Then you can explore and research that particular
subject. It is much easier to teach your child a subject that he
is interested in, that one that he is not.

When you are “working” with your child on the subject of his
choice, you can relate many other subjects to it. For examply,
if your child is interested in trains, you can study about the
history of trains, about the physics of trains and how they
function, geography – study a map and look at train tracks in
different geographical areas, Mathematics – related to trains,
and much more.

6. Children Hate to be Tested

When you explore and research with your child, or teach him a
subject, never test him to find out if he learned. Trust that he
is learning, and keep going. You don’t have to worry whether your
child is learning or not, the only thing you have to worry about
is whether you are able to keep his interest. As long as he is
interested – he is learning!

7. Children Learn Fast

Children learn so much faster than we think. If you don’t move
fast enough, you lose your child’s interest. Teaching too slowly
and repetition create bordom, and bordom is the enemy of
learning.

Again – let your child lead the way. If your child is ready to
move to a new subject or a new concept – follow his lead.

8. Confidence and Self Esteem

Confidence and self esteem are most important to your child’s
success. As you know, even the most talented, intelligent
person, if he doesn’t believe in himself, will never attempt to
take on a challenging assignment or a challenging position. This
can be hazardous to his career and success.

Praise your child often. Honest and sincere praise will do
wonders for your child’s confidence. Never criticize. Make it a
habit at the end of the day, before your child goes to bed, to
review his achievements and successes. Notice even the smallest
things!

9. Goal Setting

Teach your child to set goals early on. No matter what your
child’s age, you can start the day talking about the plan for
the day, and the goals you would like to achieve that day. When
your child is ready, you can start setting weekly goals, monthly
goals and yearly goals. Make a plan to achieve these goals, and
make sure your child knows that the plan is flexible and can
change.

10. It’s OK to Make Mistakes

Make sure your child knows that it’s OK to make mistakes.
Mistakes are learning opportunities, they are feedback about
what works and what doesn’t. You will never make mistakes if you
never attempt to try and achieve anything. This realization leads
to a stronger confidence.

As a parent, you have the ability to contribute to your child’s
future, to help your child achieve his maximum potential. But
don’t wait! The earlier you start – the better your child’s
chance to achieve brilliance and explosive success.

Save a Girl Child

Save a Girl Child
Let’s save a girl child and stand against the genocide that is taking place in the society. Feticide is the most dastardly form of violence against women. Since the technology for sex determination first came into being, sex selective abortion has unleashed a saga of horror in India. In fact nature intended the womb to be a safe space place for nurturing and grooming the foetus before the child could take birth. But today, doctors have made it the most unsafe space for the female child by unleashing the terror of feticide. Today a girl child is several times more likely to be eliminated before birth in India than die of various causes in the first year of her existence.

Save a girl child: Sex determination and sex selection

Although foetal sex determination and sex selection is a criminal offence in India, the practice is rampant. Private clinics with ultrasound machines and other latest technologies are doing brisk business. Everywhere, people are paying to know the sex of an unborn child and paying more to abort the female child. The technology has even reached remote areas of the country through facilities like mobile clinics. People are getting sex determination done even for the first child.

Save a Girl Child: Historical connection and overall discrimination against the girl child

Earlier when the technology was not available to know the sex of the foetus, the girl child used to be killed by putting a sand bag on her face or strangulating her or some poison used to be applied on the breasts of the mother. The irony was that neither mothers nor their family members used to express any kind of sorrow on the deaths of their baby daughters. Now the scenario has changed. With the help of new technologies one can easily detect the sex of the foetus. So the practice of female infanticide has been replaced by female feticide.

Save a girl child: Discrimination against the girl child and women

Female feticide and infanticide is not the only issues with a girl child in India. Actually at every stage of life she is discriminated and neglected for basic nutrition, education and living standard. When she is in the womb, she is eliminated before she can enter the world. If by chance she takes birth then at the time of birth her relatives pull her back and wrung her neck and after killing her she is thrown into a trash can. If she gets lucky to survive the early feticide and infanticide then her childhood is not more than a punishment with her brother getting all the attention with new shoes, dresses and books to learn while she is gifted a broom, a wiper and lots of tears. In her teenage, she misses nutritious food to eat and gets only the left over crumbs. During the age when she should be in college she is hurriedly “married off” leading to conditions where she remains ever dependent on others for her survival. She does not have either social or economic independence. Further her illiteracy, lack of education results in unwanted and early pregnancies, high fertility rate. This further aggravates the overall condition of females in the country. Again if this female gives birth to a girl child, the whole journey cycle of murder and discrimination begins all over again.

Save a Girl Child: Culpability of the Medical profession

As per some studies the industry of ultrasound and sonography, sex-selection and female feticide is around 500 crores in India and this is run through small clinics, midwives, unregistered doctors and big hospitals. They conduct the abortions very secretly and many a times they become the reason for the death of many women. Many Doctors are involved in this widespread malpractice to make easy money. Actually it is a very profitable business. The machines have become cheaper, so even a new medical graduate can quickly set up a business. It may be illegal but it’s very rare that in India medical council debars anyone for ethical malpractice.

Save a girl child: Responsibility and accountability of the medical profession

It is high time that now Doctors are made responsible and accountable. In fact they are the ones who had aggressively promoted the misuse of technology and legitimised feticide. They created a weapon of mass destruction. Worst of worst some Doctors feel that they are doing a great social service and feel happy to provide this service to parents desperate to have a son, in the belief that they are preventing the birth of an unwanted child.

Save a girl child: The oblique way of sex determination

Today when the laws are getting stricter the method of revealing the sex is becoming more oblique. Now either the doctor will hand out blue or pink candy to the family members as they leave or make a remark during the examination by saying something like “Your child will be a fighter” or “The baby is like a doll.” It is a clear fact that since the implementation of the legislation has taken place, the business has gone underground. The proof is the ever increasing number of feticide around the country especially in north India.

Save a girl child: Under-the-table fee for sex determination

Now the Doctors who disclose the sex expect an under-the-table fee for breaking the law, ranging from a few hundred rupees in poorer areas to several thousand in more prosperous regions. The plain and simple truth is that the medical fraternity has not been sufficiently regulated in India and there is no sufficient deterrent or awareness even among the medical fraternity which can prevent these malpractices from taking place in the first instance.

Save a Girl Child: The Actual problem in terms of figures

Let’s now look at the figures which speak the truth for itself. According to the last official census figures, India with its nationwide ratio of 933 women for 1,000 men had a deficit of 35 million women when it entered the new millennium. Experts are calling it “sanitised barbarism”. UN figures tell that about 750,000 girls are aborted every year in India. It as genocide: “More than 6 million killed in 20 years. That’s the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.”

Save a girl child: Abortion of a million foetus in a year

Demographic trends indicate India is fast heading towards a million female foetuses aborted each year. In India, if the 1991 Census showed that two districts had a child sex ratio (number of girls per thousand boys) less than 850; by 2001 it was 51 districts. The irony is that the nation of so called goddess and mothers still follows a culture where people idolize the birth of son and mourn the birth of daughters.

Save a girl child: Income level directly proportional to sex selective abortion

Ironically, as income levels are increasing, sex determination and sex selection is increasing all over India. The most influential and affluent pockets have the worst sex ratios. Take Punjab for instance – 793 girls for every 1,000 boys against the national figure of 927. Or South Delhi – one of the most affluent localities of the Capital – 760. In many regions of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan; the sex ratio of girls for every 1000 boys was mere 745 or 754 or at 779 respectively. Based on the number of births in Delhi every year and the sex ratio across the capital – 814 girls for every 1,000 boys about 24,000 female fetuses are aborted in the capital every year, and about one million across the country.

Save a girl child: Warning of unexpected social problems in the near future

Abortion rates are increasing in almost 80% of the Indian states and especially in Punjab and Haryana. These two states have the highest number of abortions every year. UNICEF has warned that unless steps are taken to address the problem across the country, India will soon face unexpected social problems like men unable to find brides, gaps in the work force and increased trafficking of women.

Save a girl child: Answering ethical questions

The other side of the coin is the issue that attempts to regulate women right to abortion inevitably raise delicate ethical questions, but for a contrary like India this is not a pro-choice or pro-life issue. “Equality is a fundamental right,” but where is the gender equality when one million girl fetuses are destroyed every year before birth itself. Therefore we need to understand the fact that our situation is really alarming and extraordinary and preventing this discrimination takes precedence over arguments about women reproductive rights.
Save a girl child: The taboo surrounding sex selective abortion
One more major problem is that despite the prevalence of the ghastly and inhuman phenomenon, the decision to abort a female fetus remains a taboo, and it is difficult to persuade women to talk about the issue. If women themselves become party to the problem then how can we ever think about finding the solution?

Save a Girl Child: Misuse of technology

The social evil of discrimination and marginalization of women and killing of girl child is ironically deep rooted in Indian ethos and the most shocking fact is that the innovative and hard high end technologies have actually helped in the brutal killing of the Indian girl child. Earlier it was infanticide. Now it is easier with feticide with technology at the helping end. Innovative techniques, like biopsy, ultrasound, scan tests and amniocentesis, devised to detect genetic abnormalities, are highly misused by number of families to detect gender of the unborn child. These clinical tests are highly contributing to the rise in genocide of the unborn girl child.

Save a girl child: The technology as the devil

In patriarchal States like Rajasthan where infanticide has existed for centuries, this new technology has many takers as it is easy and secretive. There are far less questions to be answered when you abort a girl child rather than kill a baby girl. Today, people pretend overtly that they are modern and that they do not discriminate between a girl and a boy. But when the actual situation arises they do not hesitate to quietly go to the next village and get an ultrasound done and even abort the girl child. Here the technology has become the uncontrolled beast and demon rather than the angel.

Save a Girl Child: Related & Associated issues

Apart from the means of killing of the girl child “feticide” is also one of the most common causes of maternal mortality. Law permits that the she sex of the foetus can be only determined around 14-16 weeks. Because of this most of the sex selective abortions are planned late and this leads to a very high chance of maternal mortality. Either way the woman suffers.

Save a girl child: Feticide a symptom of a larger problem

We must understand the fact that in fact Feticide is a symptom of larger and wider problem related to marginalization and discrimination against women through various social, cultural and economic bias and practices. Feticide is related to issues as varied as privatisation of medical education and dowry. For example Karnataka is a state in India with the highest number of private medical colleges. Here healthcare has turned into a commodity without proper regulation and control leading to terrifying consequences like illegal abortions and feticide.

Save a girl child: Affluent farmers and feticide

Another ironical phenomenon is that wherever agricultural green revolution has happened with resultant increase in income among farmers, feticide has increased. The connection is simple. With more landholdings and wealth inheritance the dowry demands has increased and therefore birth of a daughter is considered as an economic liability. Today, people don’t even want their daughters to study higher as a well-educated groom is likely to demand more dowry.

Save a girl child: Male child selection in nuclear families

Even the creation of small and nuclear families have come at the cost of the girl child. Parents who are opting for one child are most likely to go for a male child rather than a female child.

Save a girl child: Demand Vs. Supply debate

Another issue that has been put forward by the medical community to absolve their own culpability in this whole malpractice is the demand and supply debate. Doctors say there is a social demand and they are only fulfilling it. They argue that social attitudes must change. However they are ignoring the fact that in this case supply fuels demand. The easier the technology is available the more likely is the chance of abortion and feticide.

Save a girl child: Tougher regulation and control

There is no option other than tougher regulation and control of the “technology and the medical practice” as technology in the hands of greedy, vested interests cannot be neutral. There is a law in place to prevent misuse of the technology and it must be enforced strongly. On the other hand the solution for curbing the increase of feticide can only work through increasing awareness and overall empowerment of women in every aspect.

Save a girl child: Need for female youth icons and role models

Women participation in workforce, having disposable incomes and their making a contribution to larger society will make a difference to how women are seen in the society. Female youth icons and role models are definitely making an impact in changing the overall perception of the society which has been highly discriminatory till now.
Save a girl child: Laws against violence and discrimination of women
Other issues which are attached to the overall discrimination and marginalization of women include the laws for violence against women such as dowry, domestic violence, rape which are directly in the control of a largely inefficient and corrupt police force which in fact is biased against women with its colonial hangover and resultant approach of doing things. In any case of violence and discrimination against women the whole onus and burden of the case is always put on the women involved.

Save a girl child: Urgent need for police reforms

It’s high time that police reforms take place and the country gets a modern police force which is more sensitive to the issues of the society rather than the current one which exists to please the whims and the fancies of their political masters. Today even though good and tough laws exist still the offenders get away with ease. Just like many other laws of the country the law preventing sex determination and sex selection exits but enforcement is a big question mark.

Save a girl child: Myths to be shattered

Another myth that needs to be shattered is that feticide exists among illiterate and less affluent of the society. According to a survey there is a 28.32 % increase in the number gainfully employed and working women in India in the last two decades. But at the same time, what is more shameful and ironical is that there is a subsequent increase in the number of pregnancy terminations or abortions by working women.

Save a girl child: Abortions by working women

The reasons stated behind the practice of abortions by working women are: They want a small family; they want better career prospects; they want a male child and they do not want daughters. Many of these women justify sex selection and abortions because they think that if they deliver a baby boy then they are looked upon in the family. Also, they do not want their daughters to suffer the hardships a girl has to face. Besides that they find themselves unable to afford the dowry expenses the parents of a girl child have to bear. “Since maintaining the high living standards has become so expensive, who will save for her?” say modern mothers. These are the ‘serious’ reasons these literate and modern women give for not giving birth to a girl child. But they are forgetting that had their mothers thought the same way, they would have also met the same fate.

Save a girl child: The bane of consumer culture

Further the whole problem is just an extension of our consumer culture. If someone can afford to buy a Mercedes, they feel they can afford to secure themselves a son also. If they can pay for an ultrasound, then they don’t need to have a daughter – that’s the logic.

Save a girl child: Outdated social practices and their consequences

Dowry is a big issue for the urban elite because the amount which people are expected to pay as dowry is astonishing and ridiculous. Over that is the cost of the obscenely extravagant Indian weddings. Aside from the costs of dowries and marriages, there are other reasons why daughters are seen as less desirable like there is general belief that sons will look after their old parents and daughters are anyway to go to a different household and are therefore of not much use in the long run. The social and cultural settings are negatively biased against women. After marriage, a woman traditionally lives with the family of the husband, leaving her own parents to be looked after by a son, if there is one, in their old age. Sons carry on the family name and often the business, usually inherit the property and perform the last rites. All these contribute towards a negative bias against the girl child even before she takes birth.

Save a girl child: The misconception that poverty leads to feticide

From the above analysis we can clearly see that it’s a misconception to think that this is a problem related to extreme poverty. It’s quite rampant in upper and middle class families. Female feticide is very high in Punjab and Haryana – some of the best-off states in the country. Even money has not brought attitudinal change. In fact more money has led to aggravation of the whole problem. The mind-set remains – girls are not important, girls are a burden, and sons are more useful. With new lifestyle culture in India, when people are rich they want to spend their money on things, not on dowries or marriages for their daughters. So we can see that how social and cultural practices like dowry and extravagant marriages are in fact contributing to the overall menace of female abortion and feticide.

Save a Girl Child: Law against feticide and Implementation of the law

After almost a decade of delays, the Prohibition of Sex Selection Act came into force in February 2003, aimed at preventing the use of ultrasound examinations for sex determination. Any person including pregnant women who seek help for sex selection could be sentenced to a three-year prison sentence and fined 50,000 rupees, or $1,200, while If any doctor is found guilty of this malpractice, he can face suspension of his registration by the state medical council.

Save a girl child: The Act that was passed in 2003

Pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostics techniques (prohibition and sex selection) Act, which came into effect on 14th February 2003, was as a replacement of the pre-natal diagnostic techniques (regulation and misuse amendment) Act 2002, that said any kind of sex selection in pre or post pregnancy is prohibited.

Save a girl child: Creating acts and laws not sufficient to deal with the problem

But these acts seem not to be casting much effect on the dark shades of human deeds. No case has come to court, and campaigners against the practice of prenatal sex determination complain that the legislation is impossible to enforce. Law is very well conceived and the need of the hour is legal literacy to ensure the law is implemented. Here the role and competence of the law enforcement agencies is a big question mark? In spite of all the stringent laws framed to curb the female feticide, the practice continues. The declining sex ratio between boys and girls poses a serious threat to the very existence of a balanced social order in India.

Save a Girl Child: Sensitization of the society

There is a need to sensitize the Indian society about the sex selection tests and the impending gender crisis. There is a need to advocate to the society about greater gender equality. Increase awareness about the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Act (PNDT), 1994 as well as its recent amendment passed by the Parliament that bans any form of sex selection tests is needed.

Save a girl child: Awareness in the society

Society has to be sensitized about the pitiable state of women in the Indian society of which selective sex abortion of the female foetus is one of the indicators apart from increasing incidences of violence and trafficking.

Save a girl child: Implementation of the law

Law needs to be strictly implemented and we need to increase compliance amongst the maternity homes, nursing homes, ultra-sound clinics, radiologists for registering their ultra-sound machines under the PNDT Act. Medical community has to be sensitized about the ethics of medical profession and the role they ought to be playing in improving the population crisis as well as sex-ratios in the country. It’s also time to have a stricter and tougher regulation of the medical practice in India.

Save a girl child: Changing the attitude

There is a need to build a dialogue amongst the stakeholders as well as track inter-generational change amongst the women through various generations. Achievements of the successful women from different strata of the society as well as from different walks of life need to be highlighted to change the attitude of the society against women.

Save a Girl Child: Closing comments

There needs to be widespread visible contempt and anger in society against the “genocide” against women. Today nobody can say female feticide is not their problem when more than one million girl foetuses are been selectively destroyed every year in the country. It’s high time we all did our bit to help save the girl child as time is really running out for the girl child in India. The disastrous consequences of what is happening today will be felt in another 10-20 years time. Therefore to prevent a horrible future the need of the hour is to realize our responsibilities and give a halt to this evil crime of killing the girl child in the womb itself. A determined drive can initiate a spark to light the lamp and show the world that we indeed are the land of the great goddesses and mothers.

How To Foster A Culture Of Entrepreneurship In Your Children

Fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in your children is an important factor in supporting them to become self-reliant and financially independent as they grow into adults. It’s a gradual process that requires you as a parent to be actively and effectively involved in your child’s development.

Though formal education is very important and we cannot avoid it, relying on it solely is no longer enough to deal with the changing demands in our life. You need to help your children to understand money and how it works. You need to begin early enough to deal with the obstacles that deter educated people from achieving financial independence. These obstacles include mainly fear, cynicism, laziness, bad habits and arrogance. By fighting against these behaviors early enough, you foster a culture of entrepreneurship in your children.

Fear is a very big obstacle to success. Fear of losing money or losing anything should be fought early enough. Let it be properly understood that there is no rich person that has never lost money and there is no successful person that walked his way to success without any challenges. But there are a lot of poor people, who have never lost money. Whom do you prefer?

Cynicism, a belief one may have that something good will not happen, prohibits many people from venturing into business. Being doubtful about success is a major hindrance to financial freedom. Guide your children to be optimistic about what they set their heart to do. Opportunities are so sly that cynics tend to wake up when it’s too late. That’s one reason why they remain poor.

Fostering a spirit of laziness in your children is a very bad tendency among some educated and well-to-do people. They tend to provide everything that their children request, thinking that their children will be happy. But they forget that by so doing, they ignorantly kill the children’s ability to solve problems, to make good choices and to be creative.

Arrogance kills the spirit of seeking information. Many people tend to ignore the things they don’t know and ignorantly consider them to be avenues for losing money. If you find yourself ignorant in a subject, the best way to become knowledgeable is to find an expert in it to coach you or to look for a book and read it. Help your children to seek information on what they don’t know.

Our habits are reflected in our lives more than education. For instance, he who was loved is more likely to love other people he interfaces with. But the one who was never loved in his childhood will find it difficult to love others even if he is highly educated. Love is learnt through association with lovely people. Practicing value adding habits is one of the basics of fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in your children.

How can you then foster a culture of entrepreneurship in your children?

1. Train your children to communicate assertively for them to acquire good communication skills that will eventually help them to become successful entrepreneurs. The way people communicate is normally a reflection of their behaviors and beliefs. Most successful people are always assertive while unsuccessful people are either aggressive or non-assertive.

Aggressive communicators’ behavior is based on the thinking that they have to win at all cost while the people they interface with have to lose. They think that they have more rights than others. On the other hand, people who are nonassertive think that other people are winners and they are losers. Their submissive nature makes them to develop the feeling that other people have more rights than them. But assertive communicators believe that they have the same rights as others and they are the best communicators your children should emulate.

The best way to foster the culture of entrepreneurship in your children is by resorting to communicating to them assertively. They will learn from you and end up being assertive communicators. Let them learn to assertively say “No” to others, to receive and to respond to criticism, and to respond to aggressive or nonassertive people. This will eventually help them to live independent life and to venture into any kind of life, which is one of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. The onus now is on you to communicate assertively to your children so that they can learn from you.

2. Raise entrepreneurship awareness to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in your children. You can purposefully expose them to various situations where they will informally learn about entrepreneurship. For instance, take them to events on entrepreneurship like trade fairs. Organize outings to places where they learn something on entrepreneurship. Engage them in some good talks geared towards discovering something new. Use entertainment like showing them videos on entrepreneurship. Look for other ways of raising awareness.

3. Instill in your children a spirit of hard work, irrespective of whether you are rich or not. Let them learn that it takes someone to work hard to earn money. Instead of just giving them whatever they request you, let them work to achieve what they want. For example, set clear goals for them and reward them with what they crave for upon achieving the goals. When you do that you will be training them to become achievers and hard working people, which is one way of fostering the culture of entrepreneurship in them.

4. Another practical way of fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in your children is by starting a home business. You will not only become their role model but you will also enable them to acquire many entrepreneurial skills that will eventually help them to start their own businesses.

5. Train them to acquire new skills. It’s important to interest your children to learn various skills. This does not only unlock their mind but it also helps them to engage themselves in meaningful activities.

6. Another way of fostering the culture of entrepreneurship in your children is by associating them with successful entrepreneurs. Be friends with people, who have worked through to riches or to financial freedom so that they can act as role models to your children.

7. Guide them to take meaningful decisions that can impact positively on their lives in future. For instance, guide them to differentiate “needs” from “wants”. While needs are essential items you cannot live without such as food, wants are things you can live without. Guiding your children to make right decisions basing on what is essential to their life as opposed to luxuries is important in fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in your children.

8. Take them to schools where programmes on entrepreneurship are organized. Such programmes may range from activities like music, dance and drama to programmes like essay writing competitions, funding winning business proposals, debates and entrepreneurship award schemes. These help to sharpen your children to acquire behaviors of successful entrepreneurs such as being innovators, problem solvers, hard working people, information seekers, committed persons, persistent and many others.

9. Inculcate in your children a culture of reading to get knowledge and apply it. Let them know that knowledge is useless unless it’s applied. Applied knowledge is what makes a difference in people’s lives.

In conclusion, I would like to reemphasize the need to help your children to develop behaviors of successful entrepreneurs. Formal education alone is no longer enough to lead people to financial freedom. A doctor who has entrepreneurial skills is more likely to begin a business in his field of expertise and succeed than the one without any entrepreneurial behaviors. The onus is now on you to put in practice the above practices as a way of fostering a culture of entrepreneurships in your children