Financial freedom has evaded Indian women for many years now. Going out to work in a safe and supportive environment still remains a pipedream for many women. Basic hygiene is overlooked at many workplaces, creating a huge barrier for women to earn a living, even in times of need.
The situation is not much better in higher income groups. Everybody knows that making a career requires commitment and hard work. As the world celebrates International Woman’s Day 2017 India still grapples with the concept of a career oriented women. Somehow wanting a career makes a women less “womanly”. She still needs to fit into the strictly traditional role of a doting mother and wife with no room for her individuality.
The idea that a woman can be both - exceptional in her work and loving to her family is an alien idea to most Indians. To enter the workforce, a woman has to fight off mentalities like
“Why does she need to earn when her husband earns enough”
“It’s good for her to have a hobby"(going to work)
“She must be a bad mother”
And the best of all
“You must be so thankful, that you are allowed to work”
And here we are, thinking that only the Constitution is allowed to give rights. Apparently, women also have many other masters whose permission and blessing they must seek if they want to earn a living or respect in the society. Unfortunately even a large number of women believe that they are lucky if their husbands or in-laws “allow” them to work. That is the extent of the stronghold of our society.
In such an environment, even employers don’t want to take risks. During hiring, promotion or any work related opportunities, employers don’t prefer to mentor or train women because they might relocate to husband’s place or get pregnant and never come back to work. Other than these concerns, which seem legitimate from an employer’s perspective with extremely less risk appetite, there are other disturbing concerns as well.
Recent sexual abuse cases coming up in successful startups like Uber show the prevalence of predatory behavior even in Silicon Valley. Our best educated women face this, what can be expected for the lesser fortunate ones. To avoid getting into these issues, businesses don’t do much to promote gender equality.
While it is easy to criticize many business owners, factories, startups alike for their lack of gender sensitivity, we should also promote and encourage companies doing their fair share for women.
Putting clean toilets might not be much of an achievement, low female attrition rate definitely is
Retaining women employees is a great metric through which a company can be judged on.
Great retention indicates gender sensitive policies, healthy employee engagement without fear of discrimination or abuse and equal opportunities based on merit and performance. Such workplaces contribute to making employment a game of fair opportunity. Such workplaces should be recognized and celebrated for their efforts in participating in social change for promotion of diversity.
I am proud to say that my employer, OnlineRTI.com, is a shining example of a great startup culture for women. Women at OnlineRTI constitute 40% of full time employees. Also, the attrition rate, especially that of women, has been minimal since the existence of the company. Our CEO , Pradeep Bhatt, believes that the power of diversity creates a richer organization culture.
Social changes are brought about not just by government policies and actions but have to be supported by changes in mindset and various institutions leading by example. This International Woman’s Day 2017, it is important for organizations to decide to be a part of social changes. Businesses should show responsibility by shedding the mindset that women do not contribute to business growth and diversity initiatives are merely waste of money and space. To come up with innovative solutions, the importance of diversity cannot be stressed enough. It is in fact, in the best interest of organizations to train and leverage the vast pool of female talent that remains mostly underutilized and dismissed.
This International Woman’s Day 2017, we bring to you inspiring stories of courageous women who know their rights and fight hard to exercise them. Read on for series of Women RTI Success Stories
[Woman’s Day 2017 Special] RTI Success Story 1: Shravani from Himachal Pradesh filed RTI to get death certificate of her father.
[Woman’s Day 2017 Special] RTI Success Story 2: Bhavna from Chandigarh filed to get certified copies of answer sheets for Punjab Superior Judicial Services Examination
[Woman’s Day 2017 Special] RTI Success Story 3: Akanksha from Delhi got certified copy of agreement from CAW Cell, Nanakpura