The Power of SHE: An Ever-Changing Landscape
Gender inequality has been a long-standing issue. The roots of gender inequality may be attributed to patriarchal societies and ideologies that defined women’s role in society. As we pace through the fourth Industrial revolution, the issue of gender inequality is still prevalent across organizations and has detrimental effects.
Gender diversity can not only set an organization on a path of profit but also aid them in achieving their financial goals more effectively. In fact, companies that practice diversity and inclusion tends to win the top talent from the industry and ranks high in employee and customer satisfaction. As per a study by Mckinsey & Co. organizations that practice better gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above the industry average. Similarly, another study by Fortune suggests that organizations that are committed to diversity and inclusion have a strong Year-On-Year revenue growth.
It is imperative in today’s world that Gender Diversity in the workplace is something to be practiced and not preached. Though some companies have a healthy gender ratio at entry-level positions, the numbers start decreasing considerably as we go up the hierarchy ladder. This adversely affects the overall culture and morale of an organization as employees particularly women feel disconnected and demotivated. At Dun & Bradstreet India we have a healthy 70:30 ratio of males to females in our workforce. What makes us specifically proud is the fact that this ratio remains at 30% even at the leadership level. More women at senior decision-making positions are also directly linked to better corporate sustainability. Women with their built-in sensitivity are more likely to be aware of the sustainability and social issues. In fact, there are about twenty-three links that have been established between having women directors and corporate sustainability, along with economic growth (World Economic Forum, 2016).
Even though we still have a long way to go, campaigns like #MeToo and #HeforShe are changing the landscape of gender inequality across the world. A significant number of organizations have started introducing women-centric policies. Many well know firms led the way by offering paid parental leave. Several organizations even rolled out a policy which gives 26 weeks of paid time-off for new parents. (SHRM, 2016). According to Mercer’s ‘When Women Thrive’ report, we also see that 35% organizations deploy processes to ensure pay equity and capture employees’ experience and skills (SHRM,2016). Equal pay, safer work environment, flexi timings are some of the key perks that a modern employee looks at while choosing his/her employer. At D&B India we practice several employee-friendly policies including different work shift options keeping gender diversity as a key focus area.
Modern organizations are consciously working towards creating an enabling culture that encourages women to pursue their careers, with structured programs in place to attract and retain women in the workplace. Employees feel connected when the organisation stays with them in their personal lows and highs and have an understanding over all culture. Investments in programs to handle biases as early as at the interview stage are definitely a way forward. We at Dun & Bradstreet have several programs and trainings that help in the growth of women executives but also recognize deep-rooted bias that may come in during performance assessments and career progression. We have several initiatives in place to create awareness amongst our team members including focused programs led and executed by the leadership team to walk the talk.
Providing a safe environment to our women at work, and zero tolerance towards any behavior that violates the culture of women inclusion is an absolute priority for me and my team. To bring it live, I would like to end with a quote from one of our women leaders:
“D&B is an organization where team members are encouraged to take charge, perform, and grow, by not differentiating between talent on the basis of age, designation or gender. Working and growing with D&B for the past 14 years has been a fabulous experience. Working through pregnancy and post childbirth was no cakewalk. Coping with the increasing demand for my time at home while growing at work seemed a herculean task. However, this was made possible through strong support from my colleagues, seniors, and management at one end and the endless support from my spouse, parents, in-laws, and my daughter on the other at every step of the way”. – Linette Desa