India is now registered as one of the nations having the fastest growing number of career women in the world. One of the oldest constitution in the world, India always stood for equal rights, pay and working conditions for women – at least on the legal front.
It has taken a little more time to make this a reality. But now people are waking up to the fact that women are competent workers in almost all fields. Organisations, both big and small, are going all out to hire women for various positions.
According to “The Glass Ceiling in the 21st Century: Understanding Barriers to Gender Equality”, edited by Manuela Barreto, Michelle Ryan and Michael Schimdt, gender discrimination is a myth.
Most of us, especially career women, like to believe that there are no biases against them just because they want to think so. This topic is very subjective as it differs from one experience to another, across professional fields.
However, there are some indications that accusations of gender discrimination in the workplace are not without basis.
Challenges Faced By Indian Working Women
Since women are often pre-judged as “soft” or “weak-hearted”, people tend not to assign them responsibilities that demand assertiveness and a firm demeanor. Sending women on official trips is also considered as risky an unsafe in many companies.
Nitin Khanna (name changed), HR Head in a leading MNC, says, “It is an unspoken rule in our organization to recruit women for typical ‘9-5 desk jobs’. We already had some issues with prior female workers regarding temporary relocations or going out for official tours, which caused us to take this step. However, if we come across a suitably qualified and experienced resource, we don’t let gender get in the way.”
Women can fight against discriminatory attitudes and hostile work environments by taking charge of the situation and making themselves aware of the laws and rights they are entitled to.
They need to be expressive and assertive whenever they are faced with unfair treatment and aggressively fight for their rights. Many organizations now have women support groups that allow female employees to vent their grievances and discuss suitable solutions.
Technically, even the Government of India is in favor of equal rights and working conditions for working women. It has introduced several policies and terms that find relevance both in the topmost tier as well as the grass-root level of organizations.
Unfortunately, these are not adequately publicized and many women are not even aware of their existence. If all working women are educated about these laws and regulations, their status in the workforce would greatly improve.
Organizations that recruit women in their workforce need to be more proactive in keeping a tab on employees and scrutinizing everything that seems to be working against their female employees.
They need to provide clear terms and policies regarding equal and fair play in their workplace, and promise to take strict actions against those who initiate any sort of discrimination towards women or resort to sexual harassment at work.
Rajarshi Guha, Quality Head of a popular marketing company, says, “We have clear and well-defined rules and regulations in our company regarding fair treatment to all our female workers. We take strict action against those who even hint at any sort of unfair partiality towards the women here, though the cases are very rare.”
Family values play a pivotal role in shaping our attitudes and mindsets towards the opposite sex. Every Indian male must be taught to respect women and treat them as equals from an early age. Only then will the need for any rules or laws protecting women’s rights be deemed unnecessary.