Stereotypes. A heavy word, isn't it?
You know what’s heavier?
The impact of it.
Pink is for girls. Blue is for boys. Only girls play with barbie dolls. Only boys buy car toys. Little words that are just tossed around harmlessly have the potential to lay the foundation for false practices. One such example of this is the prevailing gender inequality. While it begins at home, if not addressed at the right time, this faux stereotype can have an impact on other areas of a person’s life too, particularly their work environment.
According to a 2021 study by LinkedIn Opportunity Index, around 85% of women in India missed out on job opportunities and promotions due to their gender.
Why is this happening? Let’s try to understand this bit by bit.
Reasons for the Gender Gap at Work
Diversity and inclusion are the two terms that have gained popularity in organizations, lately. Every business wants to portray a happy work culture that prioritizes every single person’s well-being. Despite this, the reality is entirely different. The gender gap at work is constantly expanding. Tracing down the reasons for it is a subjective task. However, here are a few points that might be contributing to this.
Undefined roles of women, both at home and at work.
Pre held notions about men and women.
Lack of a fair-minded policy at work.
Unjust practices like unequal pay, fewer opportunities of promotion due to gender.
Unfair job segregation.
How Can We Make A Dent?
In the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, India ranked 139 out of the 144 countries, in economic participation. Do you know what this means? That we continue to leave our women behind. Far behind.
With these practices not only affecting the various genders at the workplace, but the country overall, putting an End to G-END-DER inequality is the need of the hour. We need to do something, and we need to do it now.
1. Acknowledge that something is wrong.
The first step to solving a problem is to accept the fact that there is a problem. Keep your prejudice, biases, and preconceived notions aside and accept that your workplace might condone this too.
2. Revisit your company policies.
Go through your company policy again. Highlight and underline the areas that are causing gender disparity. Sit with your Human Resource team, or hire an expert, rework the things that will make it better, and align it with your future goals. Make sure there are policies and perks that promote equal pay and unbiased opportunities of promotions. These policies can include paid parental leaves, POSH for both men and women, acceptance of every gender, and more inclusive hiring processes.
3. Empower women.
Approximately 48% of the Indian population consists of women. They are the ones who will lead the future economy of India. Therefore, it makes no sense to leave them behind. It is time to empower women by giving them equal opportunities to climb the corporate ladder. There are still very few women who hold the designation of senior roles.
4. Don’t forget about mental health.
Last, but not the least, make your mental health policies more inclusive. Mental health issues see no gender. Anyone - he, she, or they- can face it. So, make sure your company has strong programs and guidelines that give every employee equal access to mental health facilities.
There is still a long way to go before we can fully eradicate gender inequality from workplaces. However, even a small decision to consciously fight against it can be a good start.