Making Workplaces Inclusive For Women

Experts Column

Making Workplaces Inclusive For Women

On International Women's Day, Preetha Vasnaji, Manging Director - India, Doceree, touches upon ways that can make workplaces more women-friendly for women.

How are women faring in the corporate world? The discussion gets hot around every time this year and it has made quiet an impact, at least getting the fact recognized that there lies a gap. Over time, the number of women in corporate houses has increased undoubtedly. A largely male-dominated segment is now seeing more women in leadership positions. This paradigm shift has given women tremendous confidence and motivation to take on leadership roles. However, in comparison to the rest of Corporate India, the pharmaceutical sector has significantly lower percentage of women in sales and marketing functions, according to the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI).

There are times when women are often not provided with adequate resources and support to excel in their respective fields of work. India ranks third in the world when it comes to women being in the taskforce at senior management positions, according to Grant Thornton's report on the Women in Business 2021. While that is promising, there is still a lot of scope for reducing the gender gap within every organization. I suggest the following ways to fight gender bias:

Building A Culture Of Inclusivity

Despite many companies striving to achieve an inclusive and diverse workplace, there remains much to be done. A gender inclusive workplace starts with a hiring process. Making inclusive recruitment process a part of company's DNA can help create a culture of belonging. Creating an employee network where every employee can share freely what they feel about the company, the workplace, colleagues, their roles or what they can do to connect with each other comfortably can go a long way in creating a thriving workplace. Even a simple feedback form to rank the company's work culture pertaining to gender equality is a good start. Those suggestions accordingly could be worked upon for the betterment.

“With increasing inclusion of women in the leadership roles, providing a platform to voice their demands or suggestions is an important factor to promote women empowerment”

Elevate Visibility Of Women

With increasing inclusion of women in the leadership roles, providing a platform to voice their demands or suggestions is an important factor to promote women empowerment. Women make half of the world's talent pool. A platform like that for those in the leadership roles can be a tool to motivate those women who look up to them. The most powerful thing an organization can do is to create a culture of `Conscious Inclusion' to allow women from diverse roles & backgrounds to come together and share their stories of struggles, accomplishments, and achievements.

Modify & introduce women-oriented policies

Companies must introduce or modify women-centric policies, including Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH), maternity related, on-site childcare solutions and flexible work options for their long-term employment. Inclusion and execution of such policies help in creating a women-friendly organization. For instance, with companies either going global or they being a vendor to an international outsourcing company, the working hours have changed, making women work in night shifts too. The female workforce trusts the company with their safety and wellbeing. Thus, the company must make great efforts to ensure safety of women employees and policies accordingly be made that strengthens the confidence of women in an organization.

While organizations today are bringing-in policies that are women-friendly, it is also important for women to understand it, embrace it and leverage it so that they are able to fulfil their professional dreams, keeping their individuality intact. It is as much upon every woman to climb the ladder of success, as much as it is for organizations to make the journey conducive for her. And this is what I call true women empowerment.