All for the fairer sex

All for the fairer sex

All for the fairer sex

It’s clear that women are a priority; corporate organisations across the City are introducing a variety of measures to ensure that their female employees are happy with their jobs and intend to stick with them. These initiatives range from safety-related precautions to steps taken to ensure that women workers enjoy their jobs, feel fulfilled and aren’t disadvantaged in any way because of their personal lives.

As Nandini Vijaisimha, a human resource professional, puts it, companies are making every effort to both regain and retain their women employees — no matter the cost.

In terms of safety, most companies ensure that female employees have a secure means of transport. This is especially the case for those who work night shifts. “We have both drop and pick-up facilities and guards are deployed in every cab, so that the last person to be dropped off feels secure. It’s important for companies to take these measures — there have been enough instances of employees facing problematic situations because they aren’t in place,” says Archana, a software engineer.

Another basic policy that companies have employed over the last decade is to abolish all compensatory discrimination between male and female employees. Sheela Naveen, a human resource professional, admits that the issue was unfortunately widespread some years ago.

“But the situation has really changed. Companies are supporting women employees a lot,” she says, adding that in many workplaces, the so-called glass ceiling has been done away with. “Earlier, women couldn’t grow to the level of a manger. Now, you have female employees at the director level,” she explains.

Companies also give female employees allowances in terms of flexibility — as Sheela puts it, more flexibility than is offered to the men. “If a woman can’t come to office for a personal reason, she is allowed to work from home,” she explains. This isn’t doable in all fields, though. Nandini adds, “The work-from home option doesn’t work for us because of privacy of data. But we ensure that women have flexibility in terms of hours. We also provide them with extended maternity leave and insurance during the time of delivery,” she says.

Another measure that most companies employ is setting up a sexual harassment cell. “It needs to comprise of 50 per cent men and 50 per cent women as well as one external member. The cell should be headed by a woman and details of its members put up, so people are aware of it,” Nandini says.

Archana goes on to add that to encourage a woman’s career development, companies form clubs and associations that act as a forum to interact.

“Communities like ‘Women in IT’ encourage female employees to bring other women into the company and help them at the higher levels of management. Women better understand the problems their own gender face; since most managers are male, having female mentors makes it easier for employees to interact with them,” she concludes.