On International Women’s Day 2018, it is inspiring to see that more and more women are taking control of their narrative and are able to set their own terms. This truly embodies the theme #PressforProgress, which calls for increased gender inclusivity and parity in our society. We have indeed come a long way. Every day we hear several stories wherein women have taken a strong stand and defied many odds to win historic battles in their lives and careers.
Today there is widespread awareness and action to enhance inclusivity, especially in the corporate world. However, this goal cannot be fully achieved unless both men and women have access to the same resources and opportunities at the workplace.
So what would make a true difference? The answer lies in aligning gender equity with business strategy. If we seek equality, then the only way is through equity which gives everybody a fair chance to succeed. This means that the existing mechanisms which only aim to accommodate women must evolve, to address their unique needs.
The focus must shift to gender equity which places everyone on the same level at the workplace, with due regard to their strengths and weaknesses. Organizations must now ensure that the benefits of their existing gender equality policies are tangible for women employees. This requires a workplace culture that confronts gender stereotype, inequality, and resolves all the work scenarios which are unfavorable to women.
For instance, I have noted that our women colleagues at Aricent have shown a strong preference for programs that enable them to build their strength and confidence to advance their careers. The ‘Women Leaders’ Sponsorship Program’ which was launched to nurture the talent of women leaders has received a highly positive response. I attribute this keen response to the fact that this program seeks to fulfill their individual career needs, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
Women are conquering newer frontiers through talent and determination. It is refreshing to see that at the workplace, there is a widespread consensus that a level playing field does more for inclusivity, than merely installing support systems. In the times to come, I am sure that equity will be embedded into the policy framework of all organizations that seek innovation, shared value, and therefore better business performance.
About the Author
Arpana Mehra is the Global HR Leader for Aricent. She has over 20 years of work experience, and comprehensive international experience in all areas of HR in the services industry. She enjoys indulging in community service, travelling, and spending time with her family.