Empowering Women in Business

Mar 12, 2018 | 8 months ago | Read Time: 3 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

The last few years in India have seen a heart-warming shift in the face of Indian corporate landscape. Strong, independent, and headstrong women have entered the world of business with gusto and a zeal to succeed. They walk shoulder-to-shoulder everyday with their colleagues, challenging new norms, only to shatter the glass ceiling.

While this change has been great, it has not come without challenges and struggles.

Even after all the initiatives and progress, the National Sample Survey Organisation noted that only 14% of businesses in India were led by women. The survey also pointed out that most of these companies are small-scale one, and around 79% of these women are self-financed.

This points us towards the fact that several challenges are still not being overcome. There is still a long way to go. So, empowering women in business is important, but what’s more important is to understand how it is done:

  1. Practices That Have Worked

Sexual harassment had become an extremely prevalent situation in the corporate world. Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) has been an initiative in many companies to help women speak up about their problems. This initiative has played a large role in decreasing sexual harassment at work places.

Seminars and public speaking events that spread knowledge about women empowerment are catching wind in today’s time. Women attend these meetings and talk about their issues. The best part is, the participants and audience, both include men too. Some speak about what initiatives they have taken, and some talk about their views and suggestions about women empowerment.

Having a woman on the board of directors have proved to be a very beneficial part of women empowerment. It gives opportunities to the women in the company. It also allows them to be open about the problems they are facing. Women tend to be more open about issues like sexual harassment with superior women than with men.

  1. Successful Women Empowerment Strategies By Companies

The corporate sector in the last couple of decades has seen a dramatic rise in women entrepreneurs. Women like Chanda Kochhar and Arundhati Bhattacharya have set strong examples that hard work pays off.

Arundhati Bhattacharya (Former Chair-MD of State bank of India) is known to have started an internal blog for female employees at SBI. They can share their problems and help others through this initiative. She has also introduced a two-year sabbatical for women in the bank who need long periods of leave for home duties.

Chanda Kochhar (CEO and MD of ICICI Bank) started the iWork@Home as an attempt to retain female employees. This allowed the women to work from home for a year.

Usha Ananthasubramanian (CEO and MD of Punjab National Bank) is credited for being the leader of the core management team made by the Finance Ministry of India for the establishment of the Bhartiya Mahila Bank.

Corporations like The Coca-Cola Company and Nestlé are looking within their global value chains to understand and address the unique challenges women face. In doing so, they improve the efficiency and productivity of global operations while also advancing women’s rights and health. Coca-Cola’s 5 by 20 program aims to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020.

Nestlé has seen similar success by working with women farmers in the company’s supply chain. In 2013, the company published an action plan for improving the livelihood of female farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, which was focused on promoting equal opportunities through trainings, closing the wage gap and giving women a voice. Two years after launching the program, Nestlé saw the number of women who lead and oversee its cocoa plantlet nurseries increase from 3 percent to 23 percent.

  1. Positive Results To Measure

There are several ways in which the results of these women-led initiatives can be tracked. In the work places, female feedback can be asked and considered. Overseeing the management’s actions for women can also show how employees are reacting to the company policies.

Equal rights and equal pay between men and women for the same work can be a motto for all companies. Decrease in discrimination against women during meetings, promotions or even interviews. Taking care of the personal needs of female employees can also go a long way in empowering them.

Conclusion

Women today are creating exceptional and ground breaking accomplishments in every sphere of life and are optimistic about what the future holds for them. With the increased supportive initiatives by the government, management boards, peer-to-peer platforms, families and support-systems, gender-based roadblocks are now being rapidly eliminated in the entrepreneurial journey of a woman.


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