Even though fewer women than men participate in the paid workforce, a huge number of women in India work. In the software sector, a whopping 30% of the workforce is made up of women. The numbers are not very dissimilar in other sectors too. Since women are more prone to harassment and gender bias, the government has some workplace policies that help them in distressful situations.
For example, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act provides a complaint procedure for women who have suffered sexual harassment at the workplace. According to the Maternity Benefits Act, any female employee is required to get 12 weeks paid leave from her place of work and employer. This leave can be availed prior to the delivery as well. (However, a woman cannot take more than six weeks off prior to her due date.)
To further motivate more women employees to stay, private companies are now adopting new policies to retain their women employees. Most of us know that most women usually flock at the entry level in companies and as one goes up the ladder, this number comes down. This usually happens after women start their families.
[Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia]
The ICICI Bank, known to promote and support its women employees without any discrimination, conducts self-defence training for women employees at regular intervals. These programmes inform women employees of their legal rights and impart skills on handling adverse situations.
India’s second-largest IT Company, Infosys, employs about 33,700 women. To aid their female employees who are new mothers, they have opened lactation centres at its campuses. Wipro, on the other hand, has increased the maternity leave from six months to one year. They also have crèches at our large campuses. In case a woman employee’s husband is transferred to another city and she needs to relocate; the company tries to transfer her to the city of their choice.
These efforts are showing results as well. ICICI Bank Chairperson Chanda Kocchar has often described her workplace to be highly encouraging. If more companies come up with policies such as these, surely India will see a more gender balanced workforce.