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Equality at work cannot be just a slogan. 5 working professionals reflect on what equality means to them, and how organizations can help achieve that dream.
“I am not the woman President of Harvard, I am the President of Harvard”, Drew Gilpin Faust had said emphatically after taking over the reins of one of the oldest Ivy League Universities in the world.
When even the most powerful women who are at the helm of affairs, have to assert that they are all for a world that is free from gender bias, we know it is something which needs to be pondered upon.
How are organizations working towards creating an environment free from gender bias for all employees?
To further delve into this relevant question, I spoke to a number of women who are working in different industries. I wanted to know what equality means to these women with flourishing careers, in a society, which is still a male bastion at many levels.
Ami Ramesh, who is a certified Technology Architect at Accenture, believes that equality is having the freedom to share responsibilities at work or home, without any gender bias.
For Gayathri G. who is a Support and Test Developer at Accenture, equality exists if an employer accords people the freedom to explore, express and learn, irrespective of his/her gender.
Pankaj Sharma, who has been working as an Assistant Professor at Birla Institute of technology, Jaipur for the last fourteen years shares her belief that equality exists when the work culture is open enough to enable you to talk about your work with your colleagues and superiors without having to worry about their gender.
For Chinmayi Shalya, who works as a researcher at the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi based think tank, equality at work implies equal opportunity, exposure, equal pay and a workplace where people do not cast you in gender stereotypes.
Though Ami is being realistic when she mentions that a work environment which has an equal ratio of men and women is still long in the offing, she is jubilant that at Accenture, an array of policies are in place which facilitate female employees to continue working and not be bogged down by the constraints they face.
Gayathri G. talk about how working in an organization that supports equality makes her feel empowered and maintains that when you are empowered, you in turn need to respect others in the workplace, thereby becoming a cohesive unit. Equality in her view therefore also supports business goals.
Pankaj Sharma works in the education sector and she mentions that the biggest advantage of working in an organization that is all for gender equality is that you never feel threatened by your male colleagues and vice versa. Such an atmosphere helps you excel in your academic pursuits and you are able to put your best foot forward.
When asked about their perception of an equal world, Ami goes on to state vehemently that in an equal world there would be no prejudice and no gender bias, and one where everyone would be judged on the basis of sheer merit. She feels that Accenture is working towards achieving a fair balance thereby setting a good example for other organizations.
Gayathri G. strongly believes in the dictum of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ which means that irrespective of religion, caste, or gender – we belong to one big family. She believes that if we follow this philosophy we would be able to broaden our constricted thoughts and can attain equality not just at the workplace, but also in all spheres of life.
Pankaj Sharma feels that when it comes to an equal world, we still have a long way to go. But, if she looks at her workplace, she is mighty pleased to observe that if not 50:50, there is definitely a 40:60 ratio, which is commendable. There are women who are heading a number of departments and breaking the stereotypical notion that women are bad at technology.
Chinmayi however opines that many workplaces still remain tilted against women when it comes to equal opportunity, and there is a long way to go.
Men inarguably have a pivotal role to play if organizations have to create a space free of gender bias. Wing Commander Gaurav Shukla, who served in the Indian Air Force, strongly believes that men in senior positions can bring about a conscious change by delegating work irrespective of gender. He goes on to say that the misconstrued notions about women should not limit one from delegating tasks and responsibilities.
Furthermore, men should refrain from passing sexist remarks, lewd comments and maintain a healthy working atmosphere where respect forms an indispensable part of work ethos. In his view, this is essential to create a fair workplace.
As per the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap report 2017, India reportedly slipped 21 places to be stuck at a dismal 108thplace. Thus, it is evident that there is much work to be done when it comes to the gender divide at workplaces.
Organizations like Accenture are taking the lead to address this issue in their own sphere, giving us hope that as more organizations realize the need for gender equality, the coming years would see more and more women not just joining but thriving in industry.
Here’s where you can take a look at Accenture team and the uniqueness they bring to the table. You can also follow them on Facebook or via Twitter for the latest updates.
Post supported by Accenture
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