Women empowerment isn’t just about offering equal rights to women. But it is also about ensuring that they are intrinsic and equitable partners in the workforce. As we celebrate the 109th International Women’s Day, let’s take a moment to appreciate the progress we’ve made so far and how we can further empower women in 2020.
Women Empowerment Over The Decades
Gender inequality has persisted in the world since time immemorial but, history shows that the times have indeed changed. India saw the first wave of women empowerment in 1950 when the government granted the universal suffrage (right to vote) to all Indian citizens. This was followed by access to quality education for women and together these two rights set the base for women empowerment in India.
We, of course, have to do a lot more since the literacy rate for women in India is still around the 60% mark, 22% behind the world average. The good news is that government-aided initiatives, women-centric non-profits and third-wave feminism have empowered women to some extent. Despite these advances, many people still believe in gender stereotypes that have marginalized women for years and view them as the less capable gender. Most Indian women have access to limited resources and as a result, aren’t always able to voice their opinions. Of course, campaigns like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and the Mahila-E-Haat initiative among others have done their bit to overcome these obstacles. Yet, we have miles to go before we have a far-reaching impact in a country as vast and diverse as ours.
The Dynamic Role of Women in the Corporate World
Whether it’s managing their homes or working at reputed firms, women today are multi-tasking and excelling in every field. We can’t rest on our laurels just yet though! The percentage of women pales compared to the percentage of men in the workforce. This is because a woman’s space in the economic system is still largely influenced by external factors like work environment, safety or support from their families and partners. Obstacles are always there in every professional’s journey. But women like Indra Nooyi (Former CEO, PepsiCo), Richa Kar (CEO, Zivame) and Vani Kola (Founder and CEO of Kalaari Capital) have persisted and shown that women can lead organizations towards success.
How Can We Continue to Empower Women Across Industries?
Brands and companies can drive women empowerment by offering more and better opportunities for women. At CashKaro, we make sure we extend the same opportunities to female job applicants as their male counterparts, while maintaining a healthy gender-ratio among employees. That said, there are a few things we must do to further the cause of women empowerment at a national level:
- Building a Women-Friendly Workspace is the Key to Make Them Feel Valued
Training women to lead and preparing them to excel in this competitive job market is one way to empower them. In fact, a KPMG report I was browsing through states and validates that 76% of women wish they had learned more about leadership while growing up. Being an entrepreneur, I myself train and mentor 2 – 5 women employees across different departments of our company like CRM, Social Media, and more. The goal here is to aid their growth by enabling them to think independently and take firm decisions whenever needed. Giving them access to everything that is offered to their male counterparts, not just in terms of equal responsibilities but also by inducting them into fields like technology, product development and data analysis is important.
- Reducing Gender Pay Gaps
Insights by Monster Salary Index suggest women get paid 19% less than men. In order to reduce gender-pay gaps, transparency in promotion and pay procedures must be maintained. Moreover, encouraging salary negotiation would enable them to speak about remuneration they expect. By offering a fair share of pay to all, irrespective of the gender, we must aim to eliminate the beliefs about gender pay gaps and ensure that women become self-reliant. A simple 360-Review Process like we follow at CashKaro can help bring transparency on this front and set a clear precedent for merit-based advancements.
- Building A Balanced System
We must empower women to do what they want and when they want to do it. Knocking off discrimination in hiring women who have prioritized motherhood or work as freelancers, we began working with numerous women outside our organization. We have even had employees work remotely post their maternity breaks as they are still getting accustomed to being new mothers. We also promote the growth of our in-house employees by conducting various learning sessions at CashKaro that help them increase productivity and manage their time better.
- Enforcing Workplace Harassment Policies
Security is a major concern for all, especially women and their families, which is why we need to ensure workplace harassment and security policies are up to the mark. We as a company ensure proper vigilance and prompt action when it comes to on-the-job harassment issues. Therefore, to keep all our employees apprised of what qualifies as harassment and where they should draw the line, we conduct POSH sessions at our office at regular intervals. More importantly, we ensure that all managers & HR personnel are approachable and accessible to all.
As we work towards a world where women are self-reliant, equal and empowered, we must understand that this can happen faster if we all do out bit. Every small step we take to make this world a more equal place is going to go a long way to empower women across the country.
Article By : Swati Bhargava