Gender Diversity at Workplace-The unsolved mystery for India Inc.

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Since starting my professional career with MNC in the year 2011 I am hearing about workplace diversity. One of the major aspects of the broader concept is the gender equality in the workplace. It was shocking for me seeing recent research report related to gender diversity at workplace. Many Indian conglomerates thought they are having a good ratio of gender equality, but the fact says something different.

Workplace Gender Diversity Facts

First if all talking about the Indian population, we have around 48% of female population out of which only 30% are economically active as per the recent World Bank report. Now drilling down to more facts, around 11% women employees in senior level, a mere 4.9% in Board of Directors, 16.4% and 30.3% in middle and junior management respectively as per GDBA 2014.

Even if Indian companies pay very lucrative to their executives, looking at the differences in pay scales of men and women there is almost a difference of -26.7% as per the Monster Salary Index. Even more women are jobless in India than the male counterparts. As per the reports by NSSO 23.4% of urban female who are graduate or above are jobless compared to 16.3% unemployment for urban male youth population. Even in the World Economic Forum’s 2014 gender gap index India’s overall rank is 114 among the 142 countries.

Reasons behind lower gender diversity in Indian companies

While there are verity of reasons to prove the facts for Gender Diversity the below in my view, contribute the most towards the lower scores.

Indian Value System/Family Constraints: We are Indians and our girls are our dignity, they can’t work outside. Most of the married women leave their jobs to support the family after marriage. There are a hell lot of believes restricting even the most eligible.

Talent Acquisition: Even today many companies were unable to hire front line sales executives as a female. They were always considered fit for a desk job and not the field job.

Work Life Balance: After getting a higher position women employees feel harassed to maintain a work life balance due to today’s high demand time bound jobs majorly in the IT sector. Maternity leaves and other benefits impact a lot when companies want to attract women staff. Family support is one of the major factor to tackle the issue and the organisations should also make proper policy changes.

Safety and Security: The increasing cases for sexual harassment at workplace are also one of the major factors that pull the eligible women candidate out of the office. Despite the stringent laws and regulations, organisations in India still struggle to tackle the issue.

The positive wave in the Industry for gender equality in workplace

There are various steps being taken both by the Government and Private sectors to have a better gender equality in workplace. Some of the latest steps to highlight are as below,

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) from April 1 2015 imposed a quota of at least one female director on the board of every listed firm.
  • Private companies like HSBC India, Google, TCS, IBM, Vodafone, etc. who have launched and supported various women empowerment activities are creating a positive vive among the India Inc.
  • Women’s are now encouraged to take challenging roles both for field and desk jobs with an equal pay scale with their male counterparts
  • More organisations have started believing in the concept of “Equal Opportunity Employer” to increase gender diversity at workplace

Solving the mystery of gender diversity at workplace

Despite of the steps being taken by the Government and Organisations, the issue of gender diversity at workplace in India will stay at a lower level unless we Indians need to change our mind-set towards female employees and look forward for a more inclusive growth. To solve the unsolved mystery our females can take a major role by crossing the so called “Laxman Rekha”. Leaving behind some food for thoughts for solving the gender gap in Indian workplace.

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