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BW Businessworld

Women Need To Stand Up For Their Own Progress

Gender diversity in the workplace has been a much debatable issue for the welfare of the women and countries have started making progress in terms of gender diversity

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Gender diversity in the workplace has been a much debatable issue for the welfare of the women and countries have started making progress in terms of gender diversity understanding that talent is a critical factor for growth and a further progress is expected.

Given the current rate of change, the Global Gender Gap Report estimates it will take 217 years to close the economic gender gap.

Working women in India were welcomed with a maternity bill benefit of half a year, contrary to the long standing three months leave. The Lok Sabha had passed the historic mandate on 9th of March 2017, providing relief to approx. 2 million working women in the country.

However, the employers need to bear the complete cost of compliance and providing childcare support to its employees, which was not addressed in the Maternity Benefit Act before.

What this effectively does is that retaining women suddenly becomes a far more expensive proposition for employers. For women between 25-35 years in particular, this becomes even more daunting as even before they can make significant progress in their careers, they might be seen as a potential financial liability.

Ira Gupta, Head HR, Microsoft India told BW Businessworld, “Microsoft doubled the maternity leave for women employees to six months more than a year before the legislation came into place. We have recently launched a maternity care program to ensure both prenatal and post natal support.”

Ongmu Gombu, Executive VP HR, GSK Consumer Healthcare said, “GSK strongly supports the need for encouraging diversity at work. While women in workforce continues to be an important focus area for us - Inclusion & Diversity for us means more than just gender. With #bethevoice our intent is to broaden the conversation beyond gender and emphasize our commitment to build an inclusive culture that values diversity at all levels.”

Deepa Malik, India's Paralympian, said, “There are a lot of stereotypes to what a woman can do in her life. However, passion and determination to excel in what you do is the key to fight social stigmas attached with women’s professional goals. Women, today, need to celebrate their achievement and move ahead without looking back.”

Taking a positive approach to the situation, Kameshwari Rao, Group VP, People Strategy at Sapient India told BW, “We had introduced the benefits as called out in the maternity bill much before the bill was actually introduced. Having a 6 month break and any additional time off has been a key reason why we are able to retain more women in the workforce.”

All this apart, women will need to stand by #pressforprogress to close down on gender inequality at the earliest and not let obstacles dampen their career prospects.

Kitty Koo, Director of New York Film Academy, Mumbai Campus told BW Businessworld, “Gender inequality in pay is universal and is not exclusive to the film industry. The gap is significant in certain countries and in some it is much less. This is recognized across all industries and is changing. Though the effect would take some time for the people to really close this gender bias gap, it is up to the woman actors to stand up for what is due to them.”