Gender Inequality Has Been Costly – Now’s The Time To Remedy

Every working professional has heard of gender inequality at the workplace. It’s prevalent in primary education all the way upward and continues in the office. Many would have observed it first-hand. In fact, it’s so internalized in the Indian mindset that people hardly notice it anymore. But behind this imbalance is a tale of lost opportunity.

Flailing state for gender inequality

Often women are forced to leave behind a money-making opportunity outside of the home, a business opportunity (however small or big), or not even allowed to finish an education that might one day help them earn a living. The causes are almost always socio-political, cultural, or economic. When there are members of the same family (most often men) who earn comparatively higher than women, the trade-off seems to make economic sense. But in reality, the sunk cost of lost opportunities over the lifetimes of countless women is far beyond an estimate.

Even as these debates happen, India slipped several places further down on the Global Gender Gap Index, landing at no. 112, and being recognized as the third-worst country on the list of South Asian countries on the index. Another study, the World Economic Forum report on Global Gender Gap 2021 puts India’s rank at 140. Statistically, it is appalling. 

On the face of it, women may not look under-represented. There are working women in Computers & IT, Manufacturing, Science & Technology, and Humanitarian Studies. The stark numbers, however, indicate that the women are the worst hit in the unorganized sector, and among the spate of covid-19 related job-losses that affected every sector.

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Gender inequality fight is not a mere CSR initiative – it’s here to stay

Now, in the wake of the post-pandemic economic recovery that has been on the minds of every working professional and business person, one of the biggest proponents of the said recovery can be every adult of productive age and mind doing their bit.

To put the money where the words are, organizations across the corporate canvas of India seem to realize the fact that gender inequality is no longer an issue that the country’s economy can afford to ignore. To turn the gap into an underpinned success from within, several Indian companies including some start-ups are turning their ventures more women-friendly in a bid to hire more women. Zomato, the restaurant aggregator announced a 26-week parental leave policy for both men and women employees who welcome children into their lives. They also offer Period Leave, linking it into their Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) guidelines so that no woman should be embarrassed to avail the leave. Tech companies and larger corporates are not far behind in devising innovative plans that can give more women reasons to trickle back into the corporate spaces. Microsoft India Development Center provides free technical training programs for young girls to encourage them in the STEM fields while PayPal India’s six-week Recharge program is meant for those women who have had to take a career break. This brings coders and technology graduates back into the workplace after maternity breaks or other sabbaticals. IBM’s Stem for Girls and Disha programs are along the same lines and hope to sensitize parents into encouraging their girl children into studying Science-related courses.

All of these examples outline ways in which gender inequality can be addressed in the longer term so that women have better opportunities for playing a meaningful role in the economic activity of the country. These initiatives are necessary since the stagnating Labor Force Participation Rate of women in India is not a mere function of the pandemic-led economic crisis. Even before the pandemic hit, women accounted for only 20% of India’s working population. Gender inequality figures do not correct themselves. It is up to every business owner and leader to champion the cause of reducing workplace gender parity to bring a balance of the genders in the coming decades.


  • Gender inequality has cost world $70 trillion since 1990: Report|Auto.EconomicTimes|Press Trust India|07th March, 2021
  • WEF’s gender gap index: India slips 28 places, ranks 140 among 156 nations|Business Standard|Press Trust India| 01st April, 2021
  • These Companies Paved The Way For Diversity And Inclusion at Workplace In India|In Makers.Yahoo|Athira Nair|07th October, 2020
  • Top Diversity Programs By Tech Companies In India|Anu Thomas|Analytics India Mag|28th February, 2020
  • Act now on gender equality to support India’s recovery|Live Mint|Oliver Tonby,Anu Madgavkar|25th August, 2020

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