By Atif Khan:
Despite what you may have hear or believe, there are still many women and homosexual workers at companies who don’t get the same benefits as others in the industry get.
According to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, women in Turkey and India face some of the greatest workplace inequalities among the G20 nations but are least likely to speak out. The findings come at a time when tech companies are under scrutiny for their evident dearth in celebrating diversity at the workplace.
Celebration of diversity needs to be applauded and encouraged in a sensitive society like ours where segregation in terms of sex, religion, sexual orientation is viewed as a normal. Managing diversity indicates commitment of an organisation to recruit and retain employees from a different demographic background. There is a need to support women in achieving a good work and household life balance. Ericsson, a global name in technology, set an example in its Blue River Project. Ericsson aims to have one-third of its employees as women by 2020 by hiring more female candidates in fields dominated by men. Ericsson India, who were committed to the cause were encouraged to join the movement by signing the HeForShe pledge on the website.
‘SEWA’ a trade union which is an organisation of poor, self-employed women workers has done a remarkable job of wage fixation for the home based piece rate workers by taking action in the ILO and passing the minimum wage act. The mindset towards females in most cultures including ours is that she is the one who has to take care of the household even if she is working and men have nothing to do with what is happening inside the house. In the corporate arena, not only in India but across the globe, business is also discussed outside the four walls of the office where men have gathered for their recreation, and this system disallows women to be more inclusive in the ‘Men’s Club’.
According to the survey conducted by pollster Ipsos MORI, one in five Turkish women, and one in four Indian women perceive a lack of equal career opportunities as a major issue in the workplace. By celebrating diversity, we should encourage ideas that anyone can bring to the table, despite belonging to a different religion, gender or sexual orientation. The survey also revealed that only four in every ten women were confident that they earned the same as a man doing the same job.
Women need to feel empowered to act and be aware that change is possible and it is acceptable for speaking out in the workplace. There is a popular notion followed by some organisations to include women only in certain departments like human resource management or public relations. They are not included in core operations and there are only few female CEOs and Presidents of big companies.
We have to understand and dispel that primitive psyche that believes that Indian women are by default a bad negotiator for themselves, and have to work harder for getting their due. Only initiatives by organisations like encouraging diversity at the workplace and pay parity can bring some change to a working woman’s life.