Women's day is approaching. It's that time of the year when we all are going on out about equality, giving speeches about gender diversity and so on. Once the Women's Day Celebration is over, so will our interest in such things. We move back to our age-old ways. Things that need to be practised each day go on a backburner. Diversity and equality just become words that we use, not the inherent trait in our cultures. Such practices tend to harm organisations. According to the Harvard Business Review, diverse companies experience increased innovation which results in 19% higher revenue and 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee.
Over the last few years, we have seen women shattering many glass ceilings. Yet, a lot needs to be done. Assuming the role of primary caregivers in the family, women are forced out of the workforce due to a lack of flexible work schedules that allow them to look after multiple responsibilities. You can solve these challenges while working from home.
Here are a few things that organisations can do to create an equal workspace for all.
1. Inclusive recruitment practices
Recruiters, like most of people, come with their prejudices. For ages, we are often led to believe that men are good for things that involve running around, technology, decision making and any other tough task. Hence, we see that women's share in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) roles is only about 14%*. The rates are alarmingly low when we understand that 43 per cent of STEM graduates in India are women*. So, it becomes evident that the reason for the lack of representation is not talent, but bias. Such biases need to be done away with while recruiting for your teams.
2. Use best onboarding practices for women
People decide whether they want to stay with the company based on their onboarding experience. So, right from day one, women need to know that they belong in your organisation. If you are giving joining kits, the products that you give should be unisex or specific for women. Quite often, it happens that women get joining kits with men's apparel. Such actions communicate deep-rooted biases. Instead, a simple gesture, like giving a joining kit with gender-neutral products that are personalised for women would speak volumes about your culture of equal treatment. Other policies like maternity benefits, health and insurance benefits, work-life balance should be created and women joining your teams should be made aware of such initiatives.
Little things can go a long way in making them feel at home, thus making them stay and grow.
We are so used to male outperformers, it often happens that a woman's contribution at the workplace goes unnoticed. It becomes imperative to recognise each person's role, regardless of their gender.
3. Flexible workplaces
Over the last few years, we have seen women shattering many glass ceilings. Yet, a lot needs to be done. Assuming the role of primary caregivers in the family, women are forced out of the workforce due to a lack of flexible work schedules that allow them to look after multiple responsibilities. You can solve these challenges while working from home. Several organisations are allowing work from home for women, giving them an equal opportunity to make their mark.
4. Rewarding women's contribution
We are so used to male outperformers, it often happens that a woman's contribution at the workplace goes unnoticed. It becomes imperative to recognise each person's role, regardless of their gender. Even when women's efforts are rewarded, the gifts that are generally given are male-centric. Such issues deter the enthusiasm of women who are putting in a great effort. The best way is to give gender-neutral or customised gifts for her. Or better, just let the women choose their own rewards.
5. Women at leadership positions
Lastly, the most important thing that an organisation can do for women is give them a fair and equal to be leaders. The Companies Act, 2013 requires at least one woman on board. However, the representation does not end with the seat at the table, but with an equal voice. A report indicates that only 11% of the leadership positions are held by women in India, far below the global average of 23%.
These numbers speak larger than words and give us a startling call to rethink our practices.
While it is true that the working environment for women is far better than it ever was, there's still a lot more to be done. But with collective movement, one step at a time, we can get there. You can start by telling your female workforce, how special they are with special women's day gifts for her.
We can also help you get personalised gifts for her. Let's speak.