An engineer by profession and writer by passion, Archana is rediscovering her passion and profession after an extended maternity break. Currently, she works as SEE, technical writer and a creative content writer. She is fond of food, health, music, yoga and everything related to it. She loves learning and following new technologies. Archana believes in the motto, “Enjoy life with what you have”.
Women in Corporate- Discrepancy and Gender Bias
– Archana M Somayaji
Sophisticated Technology, stylish language, air-conditioned rooms, vibrant life, but what gets lost amidst these is the hard work that goes in. Welcome to the dream world of the corporate culture.
Technology has been a blessing in the employment sector for the last two decades. It has helped India emerge out of traditional job patterns, break barriers, and think innovatively. Women and all sections of society are blessed to be part of corporate without discrimination. Unfortunately, as we climb up the ladder, many women drop off, women fill only 50 percent of middle management positions globally and make up less than 5 percent of CEOs.
So what makes Indian women slip away from the career ladder:
- Every student works through his/her limitations to reach a job. However, just as a woman calls it a career, an essential occasion arises in life – Marriage and Childbirth. Both these events turn out to be a turning point in every women’s life. The general perception that “Women should adjust” forces women to change location, compromise job role, own additional social responsibilities, and slowly diminish the need and luster of career. Do we realize the social impact on women’s identity? Raise a family, elderly care, manage a physically/mentally challenged; whatever be it, women take the blow to maintain and balance of life. In spite of what the educated call as progressive, we still believe that the profession is more critical to a man than a woman.
- After all these hurdles, if women manage to climb the ladder, then women up there always face discrimination in opportunities, promotion, evaluation, assignments. Women should work harder to prove competence and credibility than men. “Break”-In terms of maternity diminish her professional credibility; furthermore, she should prove hard to make believe that she is here to stay, and she still has competence.
- Working women dwell on a delicate balance of responsibilities. Even though women are born with remarkable communication skills, she won’t have sufficient time to network as men. There she loses opportunities to extend her career because networking is key to opportunities; networking is essential for career growth; networking is significant to prove your records and broadcast your abilities.
- Unconsciously, men seek business acquaintance while women seek self-confidence from mentors. Of course, knowing the trade is the only way one can contribute, add value, and grow in a career. Consequently, women lag.
As the International Labour Organisation points out, “Unconscious gender bias remains a significant barrier to women’s career advancement. It is also challenging to identify and prevent. Unconscious gender bias can exist in both individuals and organizations. ”
Slowly, the corporate industry realizes the importance of diversity. The industry recognizes the skills, ideas, and values women can bring into the workforce. Corporates realize the wasted talent when an educated woman drops out. According to a 2015 study, increasing women’s participation by ten percentage could add $700 Bn to India’s GDP by 2025.”
Many companies like Accenture, Goldman Sachs, TCS, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, SAP, Intuit, Genpact, GE, offer returnship programs to women who want to get back to the workforce. Leadership development programs, reskilling, flexible work environment, mentoring, counseling is also provided to retain existing employees. Many women-centric organizations and NGO’s like HerSecondInnings, JobsForHer, Sheroes play a vital role in motivating, reskilling, and restarting women’s careers.
Diversity is crucial in the corporate sector. The world is extending itself to include women’s talent. This opportunity is indeed reassurance of the potential hidden in us. Let us readdress our self-beliefs, recognize the mental and social barriers. Let us embrace a career and live a conscious life of respect and dignity.
Opinions expressed are of the writer.