Shaping the mindset

Indian business schools can play a major role in reducing gender inequality in the workplace.   | Photo Credit: Freepik

Despite the Constitution guaranteeing equal rights to women, gender bias and disparity continues in India. A recent Oxfam report revealed that women still receive 34% less wages than their male counterparts. Things get worse as one goes down the social ladder.

A report by the World Economic Forum shows that the economic opportunities for women are extremely limited in India (35.4%) when compared to men. Discrimination also affects various aspects of a woman’s life from career development to opportunities available to her. With Indian business schools providing a significant proportion of the workforce, they can play a major role in reducing gender inequality in the workplace. Some steps that can be taken include:

Schemes to encourage girls to join: In many B-schools, the male:female ration is never 50:50. This can be remedied by creating special fee concessions for meritorious girl students leading to more numbers. This will not only create gender equity on the campus but also ensure that they will be hired during placements and thereby reduce gender disparity in the workplace. Another option is to create scholarships for girls who excel in the B school. This will encourage them to pursue both undergraduate and post-graduate programmes and will also help reduce gender inequality both in the institutions and at the workplace.

Special preference to organisations that hire women: By providing premium hiring days and slots for those organisations who hire talent without focusing on gender, B schools will create the right environment for placements.

Lead by example: Some Indian universities and B schools showcase gender equality by practice. B schools should ensure that 50% of their leadership and faculty are women. Of course, this is not easy but it has to be done.

Have a Pay-Parity clause: Institutions can ensure that organisations who visit the campus for recruitment have a pay-parity clause and do not differentiate remuneration based on gender.

According to recent reports, the income earned by women in India is just one-fifth of that earned by women. Only 14% of the leadership roles are filled by women and the figure for professional and technical workers is 30%. Therefore business schools in India must be the catalysts to achieve gender equality in the workplace.

The writer is Director, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune, and Dean, Faculty of Management, Symbiosis International ( Deemed University).

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 2:55:31 PM |

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