From ensuring proper infrastructure to preventing sexual harassment, here’s how firms can make workplace more women-friendly

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Published: March 10, 2019 1:13:37 AM

From ensuring proper infrastructure to preventing sexual harassment, there is a lot that organisations can do to make workplaces more women-friendly.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the need to address harassment at workplaces has never been more crucial.

In a survey conducted recently to assess how women-friendly Indian organisations are, nearly 50% of the respondents reported a lack of flexibility in terms of working hours, work-from-home options and provision of transport in case of late hours. These factors are serious impediments in the way of women being able to fully utilise their professional capabilities, noted the survey, which was carried out by Delta Learning, a company providing learning and organisational development solutions. A little less than 200 men and women from 90 organisations in the private, government, startup and non-for-profit spaces participated in the survey.

The fact that most women in our country choose to drop out of the workforce due to lack of flexibility at the workplace is not unknown. This is primarily because, globally, the burden of care has been borne by women. Besides lack of flexibility, around 9% of the women respondents reported to have faced sexual harassment at work too. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the need to address harassment at workplaces has never been more crucial.

Read | Women’s Day 2019: 6 steps women must take to play an active role in their financial lives

Most respondents also rued the lack of proper infrastructure at work such as lack of appropriate spaces for pregnant women to rest, absence of crèches to take care of the offspring while their mothers are at work and an inadequate number of clean toilets. Only 16 of the total respondents reported to have crèches at work, while the case of unclean toilets was reported more in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) space.

The findings hint at a bunch of improvements that can be made in the organisational structure for better participation of women and enhanced performance. “There is scope for improvement in the infrastructure… sexual harassment is an issue that needs serious attention and there appears to be a gender bias in terms of compensation, opportunities for promotion, and allocation of challenging assignments to women, which should be addressed,” Delta Learning noted.

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