The question of gender equality in the workplace has been around since only the late 1990s although women have ventured to work outside the home since the 1950s. The women’s movement existed from the 1920s, but a whole century of protesting unequal treatment has, at best, had only mixed results. Against this backdrop, exploring gender equality in the workplace sounds unpromising, but doing so is the need of the hour.
The grim strains of evidence in history with regard to gender equality in the workplace were not missed by the pioneers of India Inc. Today, gender parity at the workplace and a healthy balance of male to female professionals is recognized as a need in almost every industry. It is unsurprising that the male gender took precedence in society for centuries, and women were “allotted” different priorities. But in an economy where being professional, earning rewards in lieu of skills brought out to solve problems, and shoring up revenue is the default definition of “doing well” or “being effective, the standards that men and women are held to are in a fair way to unite. Each gender now relies on its own merit, and interdependence is cherished as opposed to being seen as a sign of weakness. For gender equality in the workplace to thrive, both genders now have to uphold mutual respect and feed off one another’s strengths.
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Examples supporting gender equality in the workplace
Gender violence coming to light moved not only feminist movements in the society but corporates to take action too. For instance, on International Women’s Day in 2021, Hindustan Unilever launched awareness campaigns about violence, and psychological and physical drains on wellness that women of different stature undergo in the home, at work, and in society. Shining a light on these issues, HUL brings support to victims of abuse and mistreatment, and hopes to extend support to 5 million women. In the vision of achieving full gender parity by the year 2022, this is only one of the many initiatives of HUL over the past several decades. Standard Chartered Bank joins the number of vociferous corporates that denounce increasing domestic violence against women which became far more serious than it already was with the rise of the coronavirus pandemic last year. The National Commission for Women is one of the many resources poised to address women’s issues case by case. Helplines provide psychological support, counseling services, and offer helpful links to women’s support cells. The initiatives by organizations like HUL are exemplary because they address spiralling problems in the top-down approach, addressing deeply-rooted unconscious bias in a two-pronged fashion – by targeting numbers as well as a culture shift towards gender equality at their workplace through a Global Diversity Board.
In modern times, one of the most straight-forward ways in which leaders and visionaries can show that the time for gender equality in the workplace has come is by reducing the gender pay gap. Taking gender bias out of the equation, outcome-led tracking of performance management systems further the cause of reducing gender pay parity. It is time to move the needle in the direction of lessening the gap in more fields, and not just STEM fields. The representation of gender equality in the workplace can be backed by effective education methodologies which encourage women to finish courses and take on employment in their chosen fields.
- Women, Leadership and Workforce Education | Sam-barrow.com | August 8, 2016
- HUL launches safety initiative for 100,000 women in ‘outer core’ | ET Bureau | Rica Bhattacharyya | March 08, 2021
- A Brief History of Indian Women Protesting Gender Inequality | The Swaddle | Rajvi Desai | March 15, 2019
- In a first, HUL develops policy to help employees facing domestic abuse | Business Today | December 25, 2020
- Nine ways we’re making Unilever a more gender-balanced business | Hindustan Unilever Limited | March 4, 2020
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