Labelled Women and Bias at Workplace
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The gender prejudice begins as early when a girl is in a womb. The labels like ‘cute’, ‘innocent’, ‘lady-like’, ‘loud’, ‘womanly’, etc. are a few to name and they become inherent in your personality as you grow. The more you hear them, the more deeply they are ingrained. However, you might not be so comfortable when the same confront you in the workplace. How do you feel when someone says you are too ‘naïve’ or ‘incapable’ because you are a girl? Angry, discouraged, infuriated and even feel like replying back! But this isn’t possible.
Hard to believe but the studies show that gender bias and prejudice exist even today. Women are not free from being labeled or held back from promotions even if they are more qualified than a male counterpart. Is it even fair? The fact that big companies are devising anti-women gender bias policies in their manifesto signify that gender bias exists and is affecting the performance of women and their growth at the workplace.
The difference in the attitude towards pink and blue was justified in the bygone era where women were confined to the domestic walls. Talk about it in the era of Shobha De, Kiran Majumdar Shaw, Shehnaz Hussain, Winfrey Oprah, Chanda Kochhar, etc. and the stereotype sounds almost too futile to even exist. This gender bias mentality leads to a lower promotion rate and success rate for women even if they are highly qualified.
However, the fact is that women are far more competitive and disciplined. Take, for example, Vasudha Gupta, MD of Armofs Clothing, who has tasted the bitterness of gender bias when her subordinates even refused to acknowledge her leadership. It was only when she proved that she is a woman of substance that the things changed.
Women are usually more dedicated and the attrition rate is lower if you hire female counterpart relatively. Shivani Gupta, Director of Marketing at RINOX Engineering states, “Hiring qualified female staff is a guarantee of a stable team that will go on for years. A well-built team where women work in harmony is less likely to switch-over frequently.”
“Successful business is gender-blind”, says the world-famous woman Chanda Kochhar, former CEO and MD of ICICI Bank. Chanda, who has innumerable accolades in her kitty, strongly supports the women-led entrepreneurship and ventures. “With the acing demand in jewellery, clothing, education and fashion, women have a brighter chance to be entrepreneurs,” she says.
What can companies do to stop the sabotage of women at work and sabotage of the quality of work eventually? Following are a few agendas which can be incorporated in the culture of the workplace to make it gender neutral:
1. Transparency and Accountability
The company should adopt a transparent system for promotions and performance evaluations. A specific criterion should be set aside to enable anyone and everyone know the rules as to the eligibility of the next CEO.
Nothing should be left in the hands of a single person. Rather, promotions and transfer should be assigned to a committee who is responsible for doing so fairly.
2. Structured Recruitment Process
A clearly established charter should be developed to enable the hiring committee to carry out the recruitment process prejudice-free. If the company establishes a clearly chalked out process, the recruitment will be based on merit and qualifications entirely.
3. Reparation Committee
In case of any grievance, a female worker should have access to a reprisal committee who will acknowledge, examine and then help the aggrieved female worker. This will strengthen the morale and efficiency of the women at the workplace.
Parveen Daryani, founder of A & A Business Consulting always encourages hiring women at ground level as well as higher level because of their sincerity, honesty and hard-working nature.
The Last Words:
Gone are the days of gender bias. The women rock the cradle and very well know the art of ruling the world too. The workplace will be more progressive and efficient if it has stringent rules to break the glass ceiling. Women can be given a fair chance when the organization comes out of the shackles of gender bias and prejudices.