Women have come a long way in India and, for the first time in history, women are less than a percentage point away from making up the majority of the national workforce. No economy can afford to squander any resource, particularly as valuable as the energy and talents of half its population. Nearly 1 billion women around the world could enter the global economy in the coming decade with immense potential for them to grow. The history and professional landscape of India has changed drastically with more women obtaining higher qualifications than ever before.
The advent of more and more women into the workforce has encouraged introduction of more diverse HR practices across organisations. Empowering women in the workplace is part of this process to achieve gender equality and ensure a strategic fit between people, tasks, technology, information processes and organisation structure.
India requires workplaces where women feel welcomed, have access to equal opportunities and rewards, and receive the support they need to effectively navigate the multiple tasks required of them. Top-most is the need for safety. Technological change has brought down the barriers of distance and physical presence, added speed to turnaround time and made organisations more dependent on a high degree of creativity.
At India Medtronic, we want our women employees to see us as an employer that understands their special needs and appreciates their problems and difficulties as they discharge responsibilities at work and home. Flexible work hours, for instance, are allowed to reduce stress. The policy is effective in motivating and rewarding family-oriented employees. All this is integrated with conditions of service that benefit both employers and employees. We offer a mix of mentoring sessions, networking events and workshops for upcoming women leaders to direct their focus on the development of their potential.
Women leaders in corporate India are increasingly getting their rightful due because of their emotional balance and performance. The trend began more than a decade ago but has caught up pace over the last few years and the results will be visible for the next few decades. The best thing is, corporate India has understood the importance and is putting plans in place to do better.
The author is director, HR, India Medtronic Pvt Ltd. Views are personal.