How technology and diverse initiatives are facilitating women’s empowerment in the workplace

For decades, empirical evidence has shown that companies in which women are well represented in the workforce tend to do better than their counterparts with low gender diversity. One reason for the favorable outcome is that a strong diversity of viewpoints facilitates better decision-making.

Corporations around the world know the benefits of gender equality and diversity. A diverse workforce led by agile leaders who embrace an inclusive approach is better positioned to tap into employees’ full potential.

To achieve this, companies need to build teams that truly represent diverse cohorts and local communities across India.

Organizations promoting diversity are also able to attract young talent who want to work in a democratic environment with a transparent work environment.

ISSUES AND BENEFITS OF GENDER EQUALITY

Significantly, NASSCOM’s March 2020 report on trends in diversity and inclusion in India’s technology industry revealed that women constituted more than 35% of the workforce in the technology segment in FY 2020. The increasing number of women in workforce may not be a match, as many companies are making concerted efforts to improve gender diversity through a variety of means, including the use of technology to root out bias in the hiring process.

According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, promoting women’s equality could potentially increase annual global GDP to $12 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve this goal, the public, private and social segments must act to close the gender gap in the workplace and in society.

As well as being a key social issue, women’s empowerment and gender equality are basic human rights. Recognizing the criticality of gender equality, one of the goals of the UN Sustainable Development Goal is dedicated to gender equality.

INITIATIVE FOR PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY

Accordingly, the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are formulated as guidelines for businesses to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the marketplace, workplace and community.

Announced by UN Women and the UN Global Compact, WEPs are designed as human rights and international labor standards based on the recognition that business has both a stake and a responsibility in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

WEPs are the primary environment for corporations to achieve the gender equality aspects of the UN’s 2030 SDG agenda. By participating in WEPs, companies demonstrate their commitment to working collaboratively with multi-stakeholder networks to support enabling business practices empowering women.

In addition, companies promoting women’s empowerment have prepared programs focused on retaining female staff returning to work after extended leave, offering maternity support and promoting women’s career development.

Digital literacy and skills are being promoted by many organizations as technology is now seen as a game changer for women’s empowerment.

Among other technical gadgets, computers and smartphones have facilitated the participation of girls and women in various activities, personal and professional, while helping them overcome family and societal constraints.

BENEFITS OF ICT AND STEM

The central role of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) in gender empowerment is a universally accepted fact. ICT is seen as a tool that increases women’s economic empowerment in terms of earning capacity, position in society and greater participation in decision-making at home and at work.

Nevertheless, these steps do not mean that barriers to women’s empowerment in the workplace have been removed. Many reports note that although men and women can start their careers at the same age, career development among women tends to be slower. Typically, men in senior positions are younger than their female counterparts in similar roles.

Considering the various initiatives by multiple entities like the UN, NASSCOM, the corporate world and the central government, one hopes that greater representation of women in the workplace along with greater gender diversity will soon become a reality.

Article by: Midhula Devabhaktuni, Co-Founder and CMO, Mivi

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