Increasing Gender Diversity at Workplace

Suchita Oswal Jain calls for a remodelling of the outlook around Gender Diversity in the workplace. She writes, "Women leaders must drive the change and lead the chain of empowerment. They must help their sisters to be not limited by other’s opinion about their capabilities"


The terms gender parity and women rights are not new to us. For decades equal opportunities are being demanded, requested for, and fought for. We have been challenging the stereotypical/patriarchal norms and fortunately, the efforts are yielding great results and the matter has been given the share of attention it deserves.

Employers play a major role in paving the way for change by ushering in skill development and financial independence. Employers must also revisit the existing systems and find new approaches we can identify and promote gender parity at workplaces.

The following mantras should be watched closely-

1. Underdogs should not be under-represented

We need to promote gender diversity and eliminate any biases and discrimination that hinder the career growth of any employee. A healthy environment should be enabling i.e., growth must be based on merit and everyone should be treated with respect irrespective of their socio-economic background, skill set, gender, or designation.

Biases can be fatal, particularly in succession planning, promotions, or new hiring. To curb the conscious and unconscious biases, employee’s goals should be discussed to help establish their career path and performance should be monitored in such a way that underdogs are not under-represented.

2. Women and management skills are naturally intertwined

Gender diversity brings with it a number of benefits. Managing a house is no less demanding than managing a business. It involves similar principles like resource allocation and their optimum utilization along with strong problem-solving skills. Organizations must value and harness this innate strength of women instead of assuming it to be a limitation.

Not only as an advocate of women empowerment but also as an entrepreneur, I feel that having women in the workforce is advantageous to the organization. We have over 35% of women in our workforce and most of them are from a rural background who had not stepped out of their sheltered village life earlier. But with the right guidance and support, they have overcome the barriers of formal education and won awards on international platforms 

3. Opportunities must be created

Expansions and innovation are key to any business and it applies to employment opportunities too. With different people comes different perspectives, thus a variety of ideas and approaches. Companies should be open to creating recruitment possibilities with options like part-time, flexible working hours, work from home etc. since the benefits of such options are not restricted to women alone. 

4. Overcoming inhibitions is healthy

Hesitancy in investing in the development and growth of its people is not healthy for an organization. In fact, it is the responsibility of the organization to ensure the holistic development of its employees. Women are at a greater disadvantage at this front too since their probability of relocation and maternity benefits are seen as a problem. However, investing in human capital is highly advantageous. By inculcating skills and developing potential, you are tapping the large pool of human resource - the most important asset. Organizations get stronger when they invest in people and must overcome all inhibitions when it comes to the development of human resource.

5. Craving Work-life balance is not to be frowned upon

In the existing model of the workplace, it is assumed that women are unfit for profiles that require an anytime-anywhere kind of approach owing to their greater share of responsibilities at home. Women can be as ambitious as men and work-life balance is not a barrier but an enabler. Family-friendly policies boost employee satisfaction for both men & women. The professional world cannot thrive for long at the cost of personal life and relationships. Moreover, researchers are suggesting that “it's unrealistic to expect humans to work like machines” and extra working hours can sabotage creativity as also productivity.

6. Reframe policies as also the outlook

Approach or outlook towards a policy is directly linked with its successful implementation. Change is a multi-layered process that requires persistent efforts & the right approach. Policies and compliance are just a part of the change. Organizations should develop a work culture that is supportive of their goals to reap the benefits of the framed policies.

7. The panacea of the “Women for women” approach

If a woman is behind a man’s success, there certainly should be women creating the possibilities of success for their fellow women. We need to move from Middleton’s ‘Women Beware Women’ to a modern and supportive “women–for-women” world.

Women who make it to the top have a major role to play in empowering other women. I recommend not only engaging women at the centre of business activities but also imparting necessary skills so they can make the most of opportunities. Organizations too, whether women-led or not, must reach out to connect women with the mainstream economy.

To conclude, women leaders must drive the change and lead the chain of empowerment. They must help their sisters to be not limited by other’s opinion about their capabilities

The Author, Suchita Oswal Jain is the Vice Chairman & Joint Managing Director, Vardhman Textiles Ltd.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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