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Gender Equity : Not an even match

Though gender inclusivity is high on the agenda for most companies, the ground reality is that there is a long way to go…

Gender diversity has been a topic of great interest within the IT industry in the past couple of years due to the steady rise in the number of women employees and the nature and criticality of roles offered to them. Today, India has more working women than any other country in the world. Of the entire workforce of 400 mn, 30-35% are female, and of these women, only 20% work in urban India. This figure can largely be attributed to the growth of the IT-BPO industry, which is one of the largest recruiters of a qualified workforce in recent times, according to the key findings of a Nasscom-Mercer study on gender inclusivity titled Gender Inclusivity in India: Building an empowered organization. According to Sangeeta Gupta, vice president, Nasscom, the Indian IT-BPO industry has set high standards in gender inclusivity. Women are a key and vital part of our workforce, and their participation in the workforce is seen as a critical enabling factor for continued growth of the industry. Recognizing the growing influence of this emerging workforce, the IT-BPO industry is gearing up to act as a catalyst in the development of gender inclusive workforce.

Padma R Ravichandar, country head, Mercer Consulting says, Gender inclusivity is not about a set of simple initiatives that corporations need to undertake to increase the female population within their organization, or policies to ensure women have a harassment-free and secure work environment. It is a far more complex multi-dimensional, transformation journey, with multiple stakeholders that must work together in order to help create a holistic and empowered society where men and women have different but equal roles to play.

The Feminine Issues
According to the Nasscom study, in mid 80s, only 5-8% of students in engineering colleges and approximately 5-30% of the population entering the IT industry were women. By 2005, 40.4% of the entrants into institutions of higher education were women; and women in IT workforce grew from 421,460 in 2006 to 670,984 in 2008. These figures clearly emphasize the growing number of women in the Indian IT workforce. It also is a reminder that while companies recruit women, they also have to look into the special needs of women employees, their emotional quotient, their socio-cultural responsibities that demand better work-life balance.


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