The Hindu: Holy Grail of Gender Balance
The Hindu: Holy Grail of Gender Balance

Aug 03, 2018

More and more companies are waking up to the advantage of having a workforce marked by equal participation of men and women. At first glance, the production floor at Syrma in Chennai appears to be preserving women, but, on closer scrutiny, there are men, but they’re hugely outnumbered. At this electronics manufacturing services company, there are 1,780 workers; however, a whopping 1,403 are women. This provides quite a contrasting picture of the manufacturing sector, which is hugely male-dominated. In contrast, it’s certainly commendable to see women participating in the workforce in such a big way. In any organization and at any level, gender balance is a greater ideal to pursue. According to a study by London Business School, teams with equal participation of men and women have a better track record in terms of team spirit and productivity than those characterized by gender lop-sidedness.

Incorporate India; the gender diversity ratio has been a sore point. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2017 placed India at 108th position for equal representation of men and women in the workforce. The top ten countries were: 1. Iceland, 2. Norway, 3. Finland, 4. Rwanda, 5. Sweden, 6. Nicaragua, 7. Slovenia, 8. Ireland, 9. New Zealand, and 10. The Philippines. On the positive side, gender diversity is becoming a key focus area for many companies with global footprints. Accenture seeks to achieve a gender balance of 50:50 globally by 2025. ThoughtWorks has set itself to ensure 40% of employment for women in technical roles by 2020. This figure also includes sexual minorities. How can we improve the statistics around men and women in an organization?

Kings Learning, a Bengaluru-based educational technology startup, has ensured balance in representing men and women in its workforce. The company appoints women to most positions for software engineers. “When we do campus interviews, we make it a point to interview more women,” says founder and CEO Arshan Vakil. Mondelez India has achieved 50% diversity at its manufacturing unit in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh, by “reinventing the ecosystem.” The company has built hostels for women employees, rolled out special training programs for them, and worked closely with their families to handle fears relating to security.

Syrma: Female Workforce

Sreeram Srinivasan, CEO, Syrma SGS Technology, says his company creates an environment that enables women employees to work their way up through the ranks. The company already has success stories of women graduating to higher roles. “A formal degree isn’t a must. We place greater emphasis on having the right attitude,” says Srinivasan. He added that they’re seeking to increase the percentage of women at the junior level to 50% and at the senior level to double-digits. Tina Vinod, diversity and inclusion lead at Thought-Works, says there’s nothing wrong with women having greater workforce participation. The percentage is bound to vary from company to company, depending on its area of operations. Nirupama VG, Managing Director, Ad Astra Consultants, says she can see a difference in the way companies are looking for women to play leadership roles. She says, “Now, more than 80% of my clients want women for various positions.”

To view the original article, please click here.