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Gender diversity has been the talk of the town since quite some time. However, many companies find it challenging to get started with such initiatives. Organizations need to start with a well-defined verse of what kind of a mix they are aiming at within the company. In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Dr Sweta shared her thought on how gender diversity can be established at workplaces & how startups can leverage flourishing gig economy.
Affirmative actions need to be taken, and clear outcomes should be established while thinking about gender diversity. The most crucial thing is that the gender diversity agenda has to be initiated by the top authorities, which will then trickle down in the organization. The senior leaders need to first establish a strategy, communicate it to the team and make sure to explain why.
As Dr. Sweta says,
Every company has a different way of creating their business case. For a telecom industry, it could be, since they want more women to have access to mobile, they are reflecting it in their employee base. Since women will understand their customer segment the best to achieve the objective of selling more mobiles to women, it’s essential to have them on the team.
So, gender diversity needs to start with a business case and then decide where do you want to go and how. Once that is determined, it is easier to create a positive bias. Having a positive bias while hiring, retention and growth of women is a good strategy. On the top, it is largely agreed that more women participation is needed to encourage more diverse opinions. Once everyone in principle has agreed on why such a thing needs to be done, the only thing remaining is the execution. Moreover, the implementation can include going all out and doing a women-hiring only program, women-only trainings etc.
says Dr. Sweta. They shouldn’t feel left out. You need to tread carefully in these matters. However, that being said, everything else like competence, education etc. should remain the same while organizations tilt towards becoming inclusive of the women community.
The gender diversity argument also differs from location to location. For example, in Sweden, it’s the opposite; men are lesser in number. So for them, it will be the opposite. Ideally, organizations should aim for the 50-50 representation of both genders, which brings the right mix. It is essential to make sure that gender diversity is not just a poster PR for companies. After hiring women, it is crucial to give them an environment to flourish.
Many companies are running return to work program which invites women to join the workforce after marriage or maternity leaves. While bringing them back is easy, thriving is a challenge. Building an ecosystem to let them thrive and succeed is difficult as they have a lot more on their plate, and they shouldn’t be made to choose between priorities constantly. This is where affirmation action is needed. It may or may not have resistance from male colleagues, but it still needs to be done.
What gig economy can mean to Startups
The future of the workplace as predicted is going to be gig economy, and women have primarily powered this economy. Some entrepreneurs, especially startups, need to rise and use the plethora of talent right now, which is gig economy. The gig economy workforce works perfectly for startups. While they work according to your deliverables, you need to have patience and trust. This will surely help women get back in the workforce and also help them function effectively with their family responsibilities. This is undoubtedly a win-win, but startups need to see this through.
For example, there is a whole career for virtual assistants, and this is location agnostic and can be done by dedicated women. Many companies are doing well for women in remote locations. They charge much lesser, and they are not on the payroll, so it’s easier for entrepreneurs to manage them. Budding entrepreneurs need to take the initiative with this because they have scope for experimentation. Once these startups have succeeded in doing so, larger corporations will latch on to this kind of economy. Every decision-maker needs to be sensitive when it comes to these socio-cultural reasons; efforts need to be made to bring back this talented pool of women.