Are we improving the Gender Diversity in our workforce?

The Women in the Workplace 2018 report by McKinsey* stated that, “..two things are clear: one, women remain underrepresented, …Two, companies need to change the way they hire and promote entry and manager-level employees to make real progress.”

Today we see many more women enter the workforce than ever before, but are we really seeing a more sizable representation of women in leadership positions or more women’s entrepreneurship development in India, than before.

We have conversations on how women should get the required support to work, negotiate better salaries and manage a better work life balance. However, one important conversation that we don’t have enough of is our need to deal with our own subconscious biases as a society and the need for our own sisterhood.

We are all influenced by our subconscious biases. While these biases are important for us to make the right judgement of people, it is also important for us to be aware of where they may influence our judgement subconsciously. For example, how often have we wondered if a working mother is able to give time to her child but not asked the same question for a working father? Or how often have we heard people easily dismiss if a father needs to travel for work but judge a mother if she has to do the same?

While each case is individual and it is not possible to generalise, it is important to recognise that we all have such biases, which we ourselves may not be aware of. And having a conversation in our workplaces to make people aware of such inherent biases is important.

Indira Nooyi recently said, “We need our own sisterhood”. I cannot agree with this more. Being a working woman entrepreneur myself who has held several leadership positions; I know how important it is to have other working women around you who can support you. They say it is lonely at the top, but for a woman leader it is even lonelier. How many colleagues would she expect to have around her who would be women compared to men?

So, today it is more important than ever to have these conversations as we want more diversity in our work force. We need more women leaders in corporates, more women to lead family businesses and more women’s entrepreneurship development in India.


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