For decades, empirical evidence has indicated that companies with better representation of women on staff generally outperformed their peers with less gender diversity. One reason for the beneficial results is that a strong diversity of perspectives facilitates better decision-making.
Corporates around the world are realizing the benefits of gender equality and diversity. Diverse workforces led by agile leaders who adopt an inclusive approach are better positioned to tap employees’ full potential.
To achieve this goal, companies must build teams that truly represent diverse groups and local communities across India.
Organizations that promote diversity are also able to attract young talent willing to work in democratic settings with a transparent work environment.
Issues and benefits of gender equality
Notably, NASSCOM’s March 2020 report on trends in diversity and inclusion in India’s technology industry shows that women comprise more than 35% of the tech segment’s workforce in FY2020. The increasing number of women in the workforce may not be a coincidence, as many companies are making concerted efforts to enhance gender diversity through various means, including using technology to remove bias from their hiring processes.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, promoting women’s equality could increase annual global GDP to $12 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve this goal, the public, private and social sectors must work to reduce the gender gap in the workplace and society. .
Besides being an important social issue, women’s empowerment and gender equality are fundamental human rights. Recognizing the criticality of gender equality, one objective of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to gender equality.
INITIATIVES PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY
Accordingly, the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) have been formulated as guidelines for businesses to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the marketplace, workplace and community.
Announced by UN Women and the UN Global Compact, the WEPs are designed as human rights and international labor standards, based on the recognition that businesses have both an obligation and a responsibility to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
WEPs are the primary means for corporations to deliver on the gender equality aspects of the UN’s 2030 SDGs agenda. By participating in WEPs, companies signal their commitment to working in collaboration with multi-stakeholder networks to foster business practices conducive to women’s empowerment.
Additionally, companies that promote women’s empowerment have curated programs to retain female employees returning to work after long breaks, provide maternity support, and encourage women’s career development.
Digital literacy and skills are being promoted by many organizations as technology is now seen as a game-changer for women’s empowerment.
Among other technological gadgets, computers and smartphones have facilitated participation in various personal and professional activities, helping girls and women overcome family and social restrictions.
Benefits of ICT and STEM
The pivotal role of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in gender empowerment is a universally accepted fact. ICT is seen as an enabler that increases women’s economic empowerment, earning power, standing in society and greater participation in decision-making processes at home and workplace.
However, these steps do not mean that barriers against women’s empowerment in the workplace have gone away. Several reports note that although men and women may start their careers at the same age, career progression among women is generally slower. Generally, men holding senior positions are younger than their female counterparts in the same role.
Given the initiatives of multiple organizations like the UN, NASSCOM, the corporate world and the central government, higher representation of women in the workplace along with greater gender diversity is expected to become a reality soon.
Article: Midhula Devbhaktuni, Co-Founder and CMO, MIV
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