Since a long time, women have been trying to prove their worth – whether it is in the field of politics, sports, agriculture, aviation, navy, military or even management. They have also sought support from the government on key issues like sexual harassment and working in the night shifts. It is not the case that they are incapable or under-qualified for specific positions. However, they have not been able to get the right support from them to carve good career.
Working women account for 17% of all the Indian women, 31% of the Indian workforce and 31% of the IT workforce. It is very important to understand what keeps them from taking up work in private companies.
Over the years, the participation of women in the management world has also increased especially in India. India has the world’s largest number of professionally qualified women. But it is also very crucial to understand how welcoming has the Corporate India been towards them. When talking about the corporate world, though it has opened its doors for women, it has not been successful in placing them in the top level management. Women are often observed to be working in the administrative departments. Very few of them get to climb the ladder and enjoy the post of CEO or Managing Director. They hold less than 3 percent of managerial positions in India as compared to their counterparts in the United States with 42% women in the similar positions.
Women have to juggle between work and life. They have to take care of their parents, children, in-laws which make them think twice before resuming work after marriage. A recent survey found that women want a corporate environment that recognizes that their strengths and skills are different from male colleagues but equally intrinsic to the organization’s success. According to a survey, more than two thirds of the female respondents believe that they were not recognized or promoted on an equal basis to men, and eight out of 10 agreed that companies did not place a high enough value on skills such as communication, team building and relationships. They want the focus to be shifted from family and childcare issues to the more challenging areas of stereotypes, perceptions and prejudices.
The attitude of the companies need not alone undergo a change. There needs to be a change seen in the attitude of all the male directors, managers, employers, co-workers, sub-ordinates. The firms should try to avoid traditional stereotypes and undue emphasis on marital status because of which women are under-represented at a senior level. They should be properly groomed for leadership roles. In addition to this, addressing gender issues within the organizational set up, establishing discussion platforms, mentoring young women, allowances for a sabbatical with an option to re-enter the workforce, commitment to diversification and equal opportunity are all strategies that set the stage for greater gender equality in the workplace. It is important to note that many large corporations in India have not yet taken simple measures like providing child-care, flexible work hours etc. to support women managers to build a career.
It is time everyone stops referring women as the secondary species in the world – just a home maker. For years together, they have been assigned temporary positions or part time work. Considering the conditions in which women have to work, they can be designated with proper working conditions like crèches for their children, easy commuting facilities etc.
Women too for these and many other reasons need to adopt a robust system and keep working hard. They need to exude confidence, smartness, dedication, ethical sense of work, commitment and the drive to achieve the given targets while working. One has to push oneself a little more on the edge and prove her capability.