New Delhi: Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) National Committee on Women Empowerment has instituted ‘Adarsh Stree’ Award to honour women who have done exemplary work in the fields of Primary Education, Health and Micro Finance.
CII’s National Committee on Women Empowerment has been making efforts towards reducing gender disparity both at the community and corporate levels through many projects and programmes.
The study was undertaken to establish measures, related to the incidence and ratios of working women at the workplace, across zones, industries and posts within the organizations; and to understand HR practices and benefits given to women employees in an effort towards comprehending barriers felt by women themselves at various levels of the organization, which translate into bottlenecks to their career growth.
Even though the Constitution guarantees equal rights and privileges to both men and women the reality was quite different. Efforts should be made towards reducing gender disparity and women should be given equal opportunities for education and employment.
The report points out that although women constitute nearly half of the population of any country, but their participation in the economic development has come into focus only during recent years. They have traditionally played an important role in society, but their role in business has been limited.
The findings of the study reveal that incidence of working women across organizations stood at six percent. This ratio was as low as four percent in large scale companies, as against 18 percent in medium scale companies. At the managerial level, a healthier ratio of women was noticed in junior management, but this ratio declines in the senior management positions.
The Study also quantifies that the women managers who are currently in senior and junior management levels, haven’t exhibited a high propensity to switch companies. For those who have done, the study captures the reason as being the career enhancement and self-progress and in some cases it was highlighted as family driven reasons.
The study also highlights that the most of the women who are now in the senior and middle management levels are married with a child, but few took a break when they had a child, rejoining work after the maternity leave. Although the paid maternity leave given by the organizations was in accordance with the stipulated 84 days, as per the Maternity Benefits Act, there don’t seem to be formal policies in place in these organizations.
Further, the study reveals that a majority of the organizations do not have any provisions for day care facilities or the option of flexibility of timings for young/expectant mothers and most women feel that their companies do not give adequate benefits which motivate women to join back after childbirth.
In half the organizations, women are not considered right to perform certain functions, such as manufacturing, production etc. The main reasons behind this are security concerns and the perception that women are not competent enough for these positions.
In a majority of the companies there are no reservations for women and the women themselves do not feel the need for the same. Though it was not directly disclosed, it was felt that some faced some kind of gender bias in their organizations. These mainly related to those regarding promotions, allotment of assignments - where men are preferred.