Women comprises of about 50% of the human race. They are active participants and contributors to the development of the world. But are they getting what they deserve?
Have you ever come across a conventional story of an ambitious woman at work place? It is often framed on these lines: Woman collaborates with an organization with big dreams. She advances alongside men colleagues. Still, with her efforts, she hits an invisible barrier. That is not a “glass ceiling” but a “major block” in the pipeline.
Is the story conceivable? If you have any doubts about the authenticity of the story, here are a few statistics to back it up. Women start as 43% of tertiary-level graduates. Still, they constitute only 28% of entry-level professionals. After a few years down the line, there are only 16% in the middle management level and just 4% in the senior leadership roles.
People’s mindset of “Bread-earning man” and “house-keeping woman” is slowly changing, and women at the workplace are walking as fast as their legs can carry them. Still, their great career stride is often slow or even stalled. This could be due to various reasons – from self-doubt to family pressure, to societal norms. How to deal with this conundrum?
Along with the strong will of women to lean in, society and workplaces should take the lead to lean in too. This is how we can forge a better, safer and happier world for women:
● At an individual level: Raise girls who are self-aware and confident. Commend them for their grit and resilience. Encourage their individuality and be a scaffold for their personality. Induce a can-do attitude along with a positive self-image. A girl with such characteristics can be an influential individual in the workplace.
● At family level: Families are the compass that guide and the inspiration to reach greater heights. Women play a significant role in raising a child. So, families should evaluate their conditioning, stereotyping and beliefs that can influence the raising girls in the family. Pressuring the women to perform stereotypically feminine activities can portray gender disparity. Which includes impeding from statements like “Girls can’t work late night”, “Women should take care of the house”. Rather, encourage women to chase their dreams.
● At the community level: A community can make or break women. These socio-cultural norms deep rooted in the society demand women to prioritize their families and constantly tear their conscience between two contradictory sets of expectations – ideal women and ideal workers. This can spawn incomprehensible problems. Whereas, the community needs to bring in a shift of the monolithic thinking around gender roles. The community should focus on unlearning gender inequality, being the cheerleaders for the women workforces and take a step towards achieving progressive perception.
● At an organizational level: With the realization about gender equality and its importance at the workplace, organizations are working towards attaining gender diversity. Still this hasn’t translated to meaningful progress yet. High number of women are falling off the labor grid. This situation is unlikely to change anytime soon unless the organizations take a holistic approach. Along with the flexible policies, office day-cares, and Maternity Benefits, there are a few other measures organizations can implement to embrace gender diversity and empower women.
➢ Redefine what work means: Result-based approach for defining the success of the employees.
➢ Recalibrate the work measurement factors: From subjective traditional evaluation method to objective performance analysis.
➢ Implement flexible performance model: Deliver work at their convenience at a broader framework.
Companies, along with above-given measures, are taking other steps to build gender parity and sensitize both the genders towards the other.
Women have come a long way. From housewives to CEOs, from kitchens to corporate offices, the expedition was onerous for them. But the journey is not over yet. There is still a protracted path. To make it simple for them, let us all pledge to reset the paradigm at the workplace and the society, and create a jubilant and safe work environment for them.