Women’s equality, a driving force of social progress and human rights, represents the ongoing effort to ensure that women have the same rights, opportunities, and recognition as their male counterparts. The Indian workforce currently shows a stark gender imbalance, with only 10% of eligible working-age women compared to men. Bridging this gap could boost India’s GDP by nearly US$6 trillion, as per Bloomberg Economics. However, data from the World Bank indicates a drop in working women from 32% to 19% between 2005 and 2019. Economists are trying to figure out what could the reason be with the most probable reason being the pandemic.
Globally, women’s workforce participation accelerates economic growth. Encouragingly, Indian mid-market companies exceed the global average, with 36% of senior roles held by women, according to a report by HindustanTimes. But still, further efforts are needed to enhance equality for women at all levels of work.
Addressing the gender gap is crucial for promoting women’s work-life balance, improving women’s mental health, achieving gender equality in the IT/tech sectors, implementing policies and services to maintain equality, and fostering a more inclusive society. Let’s delve into these important aspects:
Work-Life Balance: A Balancing Act of Modernity
The conflict between professional aspirations and family commitments is a daily challenge for women across India. Cultural norms often place the responsibility of caregiving and household management squarely on women, impacting their career advancement.
78% of working women in India take career breaks to improve their well-being, plan career changes, and boost their confidence at work as per a news story by Financial Express. In this case, many mothers and women face difficulties returning to work. During this career break, the skills are outdated. In the modern digital era, multiple upskilling resources like OdinSchool help many women return to work. The learning flexibility of these platforms creates a balance between motherhood and career enhancement.
Naga Lakshmi Pothuguntla, an OdinSchool graduate, successfully returned to PepsiCo as an Associate Manager after an 11-year career gap. “Relaunching a career was challenging, especially for me as I am a married woman. Skills can become outdated, and you feel disconnected from your field. Their weekend classes made me flexible to learn the course.” she shared about OdinSchool’s Data Science Bootcamp.
Improving Women’s Mental Health
Mental health intricately intersects with the gender gap and equality, creating a complex web of challenges. The impact of societal norms, gender-based discrimination, and unequal power dynamics can significantly affect women’s mental well-being, leading to higher rates of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Conversely, addressing mental health issues is essential for achieving equality. By breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, providing accessible and comprehensive mental health services, mentoring and fostering supportive environments, societies can empower women to overcome these challenges, enabling them to fully participate in all aspects of life and contribute to eliminating gender-based inequalities.
Achieving Gender Equality in the Workplace
Embedded within society, gender-based discrimination acts as a disturbing obstacle to the advancement of women. Gender-based discrimination presents as a barrier to women’s career growth. But it mainly affects workplaces and homes. Presently, women constitute 34% of the IT workforce in India, primarily within the under-30 age group. Despite 74% of girls expressing interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, this enthusiasm is not mirrored in employment figures. As reported by STEM Graduates, a mere 13% of the entire STEM workforce comprises women, resulting in a scarcity of female role models in companies.
Nasscom states that the Indian IT-BPM industry has 34% women workforce, emphasizing the need for gender diversity. With the ongoing digital transformation, there’s a ripe opportunity for women to join various sectors. Accenture research suggests strong digital skills enhance workplace gender equality, benefiting society and the economy. Top Indian industry bodies like NASSCOM are offering career enhancement programs for women in technology, featuring personalized mentorship to refine leadership skills aligned with their goals. These initiatives help women address industry challenges and foster growth as leaders, promoting their career development and equal opportunities.
Arvind Thoopurani, who heads Corporate Relations and Placements at OdinSchool, said, “Today’s corporations are very supportive towards women getting back into the workforce. Many of our corporate hiring partners, like Uber, Dunhumby, Capgemini, Blend 360, GFK, FORD, S&P Global, and CitiBank, are happy to welcome women back to work because they value diversity, support gender equality and inclusion and recognize the benefits of having a diverse workforce. Our team has been upskilling and placing several women with long career gaps”.
By understanding the complexities involved in bringing about women’s equality, we can appreciate its impact on individuals, communities, and societies at large. Through mentorship, awareness, and guidance programs offered by companies and society, we can move closer to improving the women’s workforce and maintaining gender equality in India.
Shared By : Shruti Jayakumar,