Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Helping women in getting the right foundation for their career growth

In this progressive world, it has become a  ritual to be a part of the race knowingly or unknowingly. Even if we intend to sit back for a while, we just end up finding ourselves few steps behind our counterparts. In this fast track life, women are constantly trying to juggle their personal and professional lives giving utmost priority to whatever is required at that point of time. We are doing well;  no doubt on that and these days the male partners have become quite aware of the said situation so mostly men are trying to help their partners in whatever way they can.

But there are situations which many women face that might force them to keep their careers at the back seat for a while and proceed in life even if they do not want that to happen. We can take examples like pregnancy or marriage in a different city, after delivery care for kids. There are many occasions in life where women have chosen family over their careers, sometimes wantedly but many times unwantedly. Even if few women have chosen their careers they have ensured they are doing justice to their families by being extra cautious and eventually have ignored their own well being and health. I agree, the decision to work or not to work is totally personal but if we decide to work isn't it fair to get the same kind of support a male counterpart would get?

My intention to write here is to bring to the notice of many what I have personally observed in the corporate world where men and women are working together. Yes we have come a long way from being a society which didn't allow women to work to a society which  allows and gives women equal rights to work. But is this enough or there are few more steps that we have never explored in giving women an equal and fair chance to compete with the world? Can we take out few moments to give a thoughtful view on are we giving women equal opportunities like men?

Yes statistically speaking,  when I google it says a shocking reality of the number of women leaders the world has today. So I don't see any point in giving numbers here as we can all Google and get the data handy. We all know, it is the truth that when it comes to positions at the top women are way beyond their male counterparts. Does it really mean women are not capable or does it mean that they have actually not got the podium to stand strong when they were in a position to chose between career and family. I may want to focus the discussion on why women ever have to stand in the path with bifurcations of career and family?

Just to take few examples, I have seen many times married women being denied a position and a male counterpart being selected only because the hiring manager thought it would be troublesome if the woman plans for a baby soon in future. I have heard HRs asking this question during interviews whether or not a woman is planning for a baby in the near future. I am sure men can raise their hands in agreement that they have never come across such questions during interviews. I have seen many girls denied leaves for marriage and eventually had to quit. I have seen many girls leaving their jobs only to go and get settled in a different place where her groom was and eventually struggling a lot to get a job in the new place due to many reasons.

I am not hear to discuss on whether or not these thoughts are right or wrong coz I have been a part of ample number of such discussions and have never seen any outcome. Rather have seen a lot of friends becoming foes because they didn't think it was wrong. So coming straight to the point, we know its business and so we would talk from the business point of view, also keeping in mind that corporate world has got some social responsibilities and how a corporate can actively contribute towards making the society more friendly for both the genders and of course the next generations.

1) Women are eligible for paid Maternity leave of 3/6 months which was defined for a good cause but may be 30% of the times a married woman is denied a position because she is eligible to avail it. Can the organizations come up with paternity leaves as well for more or less the same number of days? This will not only ensure to omit the fears of the recruiter but also help in father-child bonding. Speaking business, we can always have bench resources trained and qualified for the role of the person in leave and since it's a long process the backup can be planned well in advance.

2) After delivery many women are unable to join back because they do not have anyone to take care of the kids at home. Wouldn't it make sense if we can actively motivate such women and facilitate them to be a part of projects that can support working from home. This can be availed by women who really need it and this can also be planned well in advance. This ensures women can work without a break in the resume and can contribute to her family without hampering her career.

3) For few women the organization can arrange for some online trainings related to work or certification programs that would be helpful when women after maternity leave join back for contribution towards the business. Women can be at par with the newest technologies and terminologies and their new found knowledge can be used for the benefit of the organization.

4) There can be policies within organizations giving preferences to spouse hiring so that getting married in a different city ensures a smooth transitioning in jobs too.

5) The questions like family planning can then be directed towards both the genders in the interest of business, mandating selection based on interview results.

The above points or incidents may not be true all the time but we cannot deny the fact that these do not occur. By taking few steps towards helping women in strengthening their base we can bring about a small revolution. By just being there as help, I am sure a resource involved in training or some kind of work is always better than having a resource in sabbatical leave. This not only helps the company but also helps women and society in general.

This would ensure women who would have left their jobs at some point of time otherwise can continue their career without a break which will be helpful for them to grow to the next level. Leadership qualities and multi tasking can be nurtured in this manner which will surely be helpful as women grow up the ladder of success.

Surely this move doesn't ensure  increase in number of women leaders, that anyway depends on capability but it would definitely lay a foundation so that women do not lose the race due to constraints which are not in her hands. Utilizing the benefits for the betterment of self and the organization is solely the person's responsibility and yes those to take advantage of such policies and misuse the given opportunity should definitely be dealt with in a proper manner.

By building a system that doesn't differentiate between the genders, rather help in building a better society and better employees, the organizations would directly help in upliftment of women in general and make things equal in real sense.

2 comments:

  1. This is so true.. as cheesy as it may sound..in the Masochistic society that we live in, we literally have to fight for our independent survival.

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