Women have been and will continue to be a sizable part of the workforce. Mentoring women and encouraging their progress has the direct result of bringing financial gain and richness of perspectives to the dealings of opinions. It makes sense for India Inc. to tap into this solid, sustainable, and highly dynamic cohort of human resources to take itself forward. It would help Corporate India remain comparable with the top performers on the world stage. According to Ellyn Shook and Julie Sweet in their report ‘When she rises, we all rise‘ (from Getting to Equal 2018: Creating a Culture Where Everyone Thrives), for every 100 male managers, there are 34 female managers. The report goes on to claim that this number can very well grow to 84. Mentoring women is the singular way to help push these numbers further up. This is a survey carried out by interviewing and noting data from 22,000 respondents across 34 countries, India among them.
Mentorship programs for women require awareness and planning about a range of life stages, women’s physical and mental health considerations, financial factors, and so much more. It begins with empathy for their needs and respect for the value they bring as professionals. For starters, policies for women’s safety, anti-sexual harassment strictures should be firmly in place. Team members and managers need to understand that strict professionalism that does not put down womenfolk in any form has to be made the behavioral standard. Comments and sentiments expressed with regressive notions and any discrimination based on gender have to be nipped in the bud. Awareness campaigns about gender diversity in the workplace can be carried out to sensitize all the male cadre and staff in general that disrespectful behavior, even by implication, is unwelcome.
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Initiatives mentoring women that are initiated by organizations and carried forward through dedicated mentors see more success than individual-led ones. Women in the workplace look for equal opportunities in technical learning, executive leadership coaching, and preparing for higher levels of responsibility. Mentorship programs can be especially useful for women returning to the workplace after maternity leave, after a sabbatical to care for a sick loved one, or for those trying to gain a foothold due to relocation. Men mentoring women have to go the extra mile in clarifying to their female team members about the provisions of maternity leave, creche facilities, and the options to work from home with the best interests of the employee at heart.
The swathes of development in favor of women brought about by tech and IT businesses in India is particularly commendable. They create positions such as ‘Heads of Sustainability and Diversity’ – a dedicated person who works in parallel with the HR personnel to study and name trends for what they are in actuality. One such finding points to the 3Ms – marriage, maternity, and motherhood as the driving forces behind women dropping out of promising careers just as they gather steam.
Notable entities like IBM, Accenture, Mindtree, and Capgemini are among the admirable entities that conduct surveys and then follow them up with action to retain their women in the workplace.
Women’s advancement to leadership positions and the presence of their voices in managing the business decision-making is an established harbinger of betterment in all major metrics of business performance.
The ways and means of men mentoring women start with simple benefits such as flexible timings, mentoring women on their way back into the workforce, and mentorship programs for skill-building after a gap.
You might also be interested to read: Wages of Inequality: Gender Pay Gap Remains High
- Rania H. AndersonDavid G. Smith, What Men Can Do to Be Better Mentors and Sponsors to Women, Harvard Business Review, Aug 7, 2019
- Shamni Pande, A Girl’s Best Workplace Friend, Business Today, Oct 13, 2013
- Priyanka Rao, Maternity leave in India and other countries, PRS India, Aug 11, 2016
- Ellyn Shook and Julie Sweet, When she Rises, We All Rise, Accenture.com, 2018
- Shelley Singh, Gender Equality, Still A Startup at Technology Companies, ET Bureau, Feb 15th, 2018