While working towards making life easier for women around us, it almost always seems like we are fighting forces that are out of workplace jurisdiction.
One of the main reasons cited for women being held back is that even those who work full-time are still expected to do a major bulk of the housework.
So it’s only our imperative to do everything possible in our power to make the workplace equitable by taking extra measures to cancel out imbalances or prejudices.
Ownership at Work
Providing complete ownership of work and freedom on where you choose to execute from—through work from home options, is the least a responsible company could do to ease out the pressure on our precious half of talent.
Although The Maternity Benefit Act, provides provisions for compulsory measures to be in place, companies have to provide extra flexibility in order to facilitate a healthy upbringing.
Both mothers adopting a child less than 3 months of age and mothers who bear a child through surrogacy are entitled to 12-week maternity leave from the time they bring home the baby.
Employees must be protected from separation anxiety. Creche facilities should be made available at/near office buildings, for children below 6 years of age. Being a mother also means being prepared for any uncertainties. In the case of childbirth, a mother can take up to 26 weeks of maternity leave.
Even after the leave expires, we understand that there might be times when the baby will need her close by. Depending on the nature of the work and terms discussed, the mother can avail work from home facility.
Shift in PerceptionPreviously, measures for women and inclusivity at work were seen as a bonus point; a quality — ‘good to have’ rather than a ‘must-have’. Making this perceptual shift towards change is where all our efforts should be directed. Click To Tweet
Fighting normalisation passed down through generational gaps in culture and inequality, requires that we rigorously work towards raising awareness about the unusual.
We are constantly told that women aren’t capable of certain roles. For example, leading and coaching a football team full of male members. “It’s a physical sport”, they say, “she will not survive”.
Raksha Panwar, Cult Trainer and Ex- Indian Football Team Captain, proved us all wrong and worked herself through challenges. She continues to excel beyond boundaries every day by achieving what was once prescribed as impossible.
This is not mere positioning, it’s an ideology that the company and it’s employees have to position as it’s — ‘constitution’.
Amplifying Inspirational Voices
Amplifying these inspirational stories at every possible forum or avenue is extremely crucial in fighting the unusual. We have to constantly repeat these stories until they become the — ‘new normal’.
Aiming for Resonance vs. Mere Messaging
True change is only achieved when this message resonates with our people and potentials.
We cannot stop at the surface level of portraying these inspirational stories. These stories should inspire people within and around us to follow the same path. It should widen our horizons at junctures where we previously had a limited point of view.
This requires that we follow through on our values and set targets to achieve them on a timely basis.
Converting Values into Virtues
While it seems like ideal messaging to portray ourselves as an organisation that places these values as a paramount principle, we fall short of higher moral ground — when it is not practised universally. Converting these values into virtues, that is imbibed in our employee DNA, requires that we not only scrutinize fallacies but also reward positive actions.
Setting goals and rewarding teams, for example,— in terms of specific hiring numbers for diversity and inclusivity would accelerate the process of the overall change. We have managed to achieve equal opportunity across positions.