PeopleStrong recently conducted a survey with working women in association with Business Today. The survey results were included in the Oct 17th 2010 issue of Business Today, as part of the cover story titled “Gender Gag”.
SURVEY SCOPE & SPAN
The participants included women from eight industries covering IT & ITES, BFSI, Pharma, Retail, Telecom, Consulting, FMCG and Manufacturing. The survey gave a broad insight into issues faced by women at work across industries. Women in the age group of 20 to 50 years, and geographically spanning the north, west and south of India, participated in the survey. 10% of the survey respondents were from small companies with an employee population of less than 100 each. 75% of the respondents were from medium sized enterprises with less than 1000 employees, whereas 15% were from large organizations with employee strength of over 1000.
The survey results have been able to showcase some noteworthy facts, which are highlighted as follows:
- Corporate India has taken some serious steps in taking care of their women employees. This reflects in the fact that majority of the women report being paid at par with their male counterparts.
- They state that their company is woman friendly, with basics like women friendly policies, separate toilets etc, well in place.
- A large percentage of women employees in the Telecom and Pharmaceutical sectors still feel that their companies are not woman friendly.
- It is interesting to note that most women do not believe that being a woman in today’s corporate world is a disadvantage. The majority report being promoted on time, high comfort levels with reporting managers and satisfaction with the organizational grievance redressal systems.
- There is a strong correlation between whether the organization in question had a written policy document on the subject of how it deals with incidents of sexual harassment and actual incidents themselves. Only about half the respondents from small organizations report having a written policy around this and report the highest incidence of such behavior. Large organizations, which include almost 90% having a clearly defined policy document on these matters, report the lowest numbers of such incidents. Also, as expected, having a written document in place on this topic acts as a deterrent for such incidents to actually occur and also leads to it being used for reference by employees more often, thus making the organization more aware and conscious on ways to make their work place more woman friendly.
- The social gender role conditioning also reflects strongly in the results. 20% of the respondents surveyed expressed that being a working woman called for a fine balance between family responsibilities and work. Most said that they felt the need to put family first, even when the opportunity for any career progression came along. Respondents expressed that they were not keen to move to a new location easily if their spouses were unwilling to relocate or if the children were in mid-term school.
- Job allocation in a few organizations was reported to be gender specific. Though no specific written policies stopped women from taking on certain roles, however, some women employees did perceive that they were actively discouraged from going after these opportunities. Many women reported not being given the same role opportunities as men, especially in profiles like sales, accounting and late night shifts that were traditional bastions of men.
The survey results clearly indicated that although women are enabled to leverage a lot of opportunities today, they still do face socially conditioned gender divides. Corporate India is still some time away from achieving a true “equal opportunity” employer status.