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International Journal of Human Resource Management and Research (IJHRMR) ISSN 2249-6874 Vol.

2 Issue 3 Sep 2012 13-20 TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.,


GAURAV BAGGA Bebo Technical Education Services Pvt. Ltd, Head, Department of External Affairs Sco 58-59, Basement, Sector 34, Chandigarh, India

Gender equality in workplace has been rhetoric rather than the reality. This article digs in deep to find out that realignment of HR verticals is essential to make initial perceptions of gender based equality a practice. Most of the latest literature demonstrates that the fairer gender are underprivileged because of lower levels of technology quotient and superior male dominance. This paper discusses through practical approach a summary of gender based issues recognized by research in Asian IT Companies with the help of case study examples. The issues analyzed include maternal barrier, technological quotient, the gender battle and gender based abusing. The remedies for empirically located and analyzed issues have also been suggested as Training and Development, Ethics based workshops by professionals, Gender based policies and auditing of these procedures from time to time. Further the article deals with the most sought out classification of redressing HRM into soft and hard HRM, where soft HRM typically pertains to activities focusing on management of gender based development in order to create dedicated workforce while hard HRM is only resource oriented. The contrast between these two paradigms is utilized to assist in management of gender specific issues too. The validation has been done with the help of a computer based survey where elite IT organizations in Asian region predominantly large (around ten thousand participants) and research oriented have been asked to voluntarily share anonymous responses for a quantified questionnaire. Most responses point are oriented towards a relatively neglected approach towards gender based human resources planning and policies (HRPP). This article hence identifies the most widely performance affecting gender specific issues and then suggests remedies to these in order to bring into practice activities that will remove all qualms based on the gender and make workplaces less vulnerable to gender bias.

KEYWORDS: Organizational Behavior, Gender Bias, HR, policies, suggestions. MANAGING GENDER BASED ISSUES
Most Influential companies have been failing to reap through the talents of women in the workforce, according to the World Economic Forums Corporate Gender Gap Report 2010. It has been established through the study done to benchmark top corporate houses against the gender equality policies that most companies should have in place but are in fact widely missing. A century ago, no one had imagined the civilized society that we live in today and more precisely no one could imagine that


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human beings will also be required to managed. A society that offers us corporate culture in which we cultivate our bread and butter; Things look good as long as this society runs in balance, but as soon as things get specific the same society becomes a potential challenge that needs to be addressed by specific industrial verticals as the balance that has been introduced here is essential for survival in this challenging world. The Human society has evolved from the times when there used to corporations being run by men to the current times when women contribute to more than 30% of the entire business workplaces. It has time and again been emphasized by Human Resource Management Departments (HRMD) through surveys, workshops, analysis etc. that businesses are being run by sheer talent and talent is blind to gender and that is the reason that today top bosses of corporate houses of repute are being handled by businesswomen. Companies were assessed on the basis of representation of women n their establishments and the usage of gender-equality practices namely target-setting, work-life balance policies and training and development. The companies surveyed were also asked to analyze and assist about their observations of barriers to leadership of women and their feedback on possible impact of these barriers on industrial growth. To grow exponentially, a balance in workplaces has to be achieved. The idea that a gender balanced corporate world has been achieved seems to be a radical thought and not the truth. Women account for an equal half of the potential throughout the globe and hence, their contribution towards the growth, economy and competitiveness of a nation is equally significant and this all depends upon how a nation utilized their talent. A number of studies have established that lack of economic participation and opportunity gap have been the top reasons where female power has been constantly ignored. Issues pertaining to gender are more or less based on the prime fact that the corporate environment is not balanced yet. As soon as organizations start emphasizing on the achievement of gender balance, it would become easier to address gender based issues. According to recent research, United States (51%) has the highest percentage of women employees at different levels where India is the country with the lowest percentage of women employees (22%). The services sector employs the greatest percentage of women employees. Within this sector, the financial services and insurance, professional services and media and entertainment industries employ the greatest percentage of females. Female employees tend to be concentrated in entry or middle level positions and remain scarce in senior management or board positions in most countries and industries. This has to change and participation from governments and other institutional bodies is required for the same. An example to the same is Norway where all organizations have to maintain a 40% ratio of

women in director level posts and this comes as a regulation from government. Other countries also need to follow this example and balance things out. Even though the fact is well established about the significant contribution of women in businesses, it cannot be denied that they still have to face challenges that are gender specific. This study has been driven on the same challenges and the suggestions at offing. The issues discussed here are not industry specific, but have been seen in most of the organizations. A manager level survey conducted in

Managing Gender Based Issues


IT companies concludes that out of another number of factors that lead to rejection of employees based on their gender, maternal barrier is one top reason. Besides, other major reasons have been identified as technological quotient of females, the ego based gender battle and up and above gender based abusing. Although direct and related incidents are scarce, indirect contribution of all these issues is still immense in industries employing women directly or indirectly. In order to understand the impact of these issues that are hampering the growth of a specific gender, this article digs deep and analysis these issues along with the suggested remedies. Also, these remedies have to be essentially amalgamated with HR functions so as to make them mostly effective.

The survey conducted contained questions regarding impact of maternal issues on the selection and survival of women in industry. The notion is that projects cannot be lingered on because of the maternal leaves and most women are either not hired if this is an involved factor or are asked to give their employment up in these cases. Its not a case in every organization, but it is a factor constantly affecting growth of women in industries. Although companies are striving to strike a balance in gender based balance in their environments, most of them have failed to curb issues like this. These issues have constantly made the other gender a dominating gender in the workplaces. There have to be measures to scale down the dominance of males in the industry and this is a direct responsibility for HR in upcoming industrial culture. HR needs to take into account that a gender balanced organization only can be successful and only successful organizations can survive the odds of the upcoming changes in industrial paradigms. Only providing access to affordable essentials is not sufficient for women, the environment has to change to be women-friendly and for this gender balance has to be reached in organizations. HR with time has tried to overcome similar barriers, a great example was set by IBM in the same regard by initiating the process of working from home, which came handy for most women undergoing maternal leave as working from home not only assists employees, but also is an economical way for companies as the companies do not have to bear expenses for daily arrangements for their employees that includes meals, power and machine arrangements, internet services expenses and travel expenses. Most companies have adapted to the same approach and have started trusting their employees with this pattern and this kind of an environment also makes the employees more and more responsible and dedicated as they feel connected with the organization. If an organization is offering those benefits to its employees, its certain that the employees will also feel more connected and bear their responsibilities in a more contained manner. Few measures that can further improve the position of females in the organizations include essential fixed ratio to be maintained and factors like maternal barriers should be eradicated and there have to be established laws that if an organization is discriminating women on the basis of these factors, there has to be essential punishment for the same.


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The advantage of education has to be balanced in hiring processes. Where surveys have established that 90% of gap in education has been covered, still males enjoy the superiority of their technological quotient as compared to females. As most jobs are being created in technical domains, more challenges are being faced by HR as they need more and more workforce and yet they have to ensure that gender balance is also maintained. In the same process, HR has somewhere ignored the impact of these issues on the growth of female gender. There has to be more guidelines defined and put in place for considering females to be equals. In one place, companies have defined essential minimum qualifications for different positions and on the other hand, candidates with same balanced qualifications are overlooked. The challenge here is not only with the companies or their selection procedures, but also with the education systems. Only claims of having covered the gaps in education by 90% is not going to help anyhow if this same gap is also not covered to same or to even a higher extent in industrial environment and that can only happen if the standards of education are risen and more and more females are aspired to take up initiated studies. This will not only enhance the gender based equality, but also make the females more independent. There has been initiatives taken in the same respect by companies like Infosys wherein they hire an almost equal number of females as is males and then even in case the results of tests indicate any difference in the technical skills, they provide essential training so that all come up to the same level of competitiveness and that is an approach that almost all companies must adopt in order to attain female members with equal technological skills as that of male members. This will balance out the issues at workplaces as there would not be a majority of male members and hence female members will also have equal rights and will enjoy the same kind of freedom as males because they also have equal power. Irrespective of quotients, education must be considered significant and must be given more weight age and in order to achieve that, education standards have to be risen. There is an advanced need of HR to otherwise hire balanced employees and if required, bring them to the same level before they are pushed into the actual corporate activities where their potentials are on display.


When companies, governments and nations are putting in their best efforts to bridge gaps in economical growth due to issues as widely observed about gender battle, the question still remains is it better to be born male or female? The gender battle is a term used most widely in the corporations that have been trying their level best to put all practices to rest that harness the progress of female growth. The challenge faced is when authority comes into picture and the same authority sometimes put HR to rest and make them helpless as after all HR is also only an employee base in the organization. There is an evident battle everywhere that shines so bright with its repercussions affecting the culture, business and environment of organizations that a desperate need for the removal of the same has been a top priority for HR verticals. Not only the curbing of the battle through measures would be sufficient, but also these measures have to be implemented as policies in the organizations so that no such issues are further risen at any point of time. There have to be policies defined at the level of government and followed strictly to

Managing Gender Based Issues


maintain gender based equality and auditing must be the mechanism for the enforcement of the same. Majority of any gender in a department or multiple departments of the organizations leads to problems, so the balance has to be maintained at all levels. The gender battle is an intense issue as it has been cultivated in genders through generations and its acceptable that we will need generations to overcome it too; but the point is that we have to start right now; make strict measures and not only make those measures but also ensure their reinforcement. A reaction is very much anticipated when these kinds of policies or measures are defined in order to eradicate the gender battle; but thats too petty a cost to be paid for achieving a better society to live and to work in. A society has to be achieved where every human being no matter what their gender are respected equally and have equal rights and freedom. Only such a society can offer a more civilized workplace culture where males, in general dominating groups of males who either consider females to be a threat to their power or consider them inferior, are educated about the advantages of putting females into power and utilize their potential. It is not always a case that a gender battle has to be won by any gender; a state has to be reached where its a collective win. The gender battle has to be transformed into a battle about winning processes, organizations and above all contribute to economical growth of the nation. A spokesperson from a leading IT company in India was found stating that South Asian countries, primarily Indian subcontinent has witnessed immense growth in terms of women empowerment in the last few decades. India in the last decade only added more than 2 million women employees in service and banking industry. Human psychology researchers have established through studies that women are better workers; the studies suggest that women have inherent power of managing both work and home as working women are more independent in their decisions and also suggests that females have this unique power of balancing their personal and professional lives better than men. One prime reason that has been identified through research over decades of this gender battle is insecurity in the males about females coming into power. Most males have been identified citing insecurity to be the top reason for their superiority complex. Males have dominated businesses over years and they find pride in it. Since women started rising into power, this battle has only become more and more intense. Over years, research has established that a streamlined education system is the only possible remedy to this gender battle; but put into practice by companies like Israel and Denmark, has yielded no significant results. A survey has been conducted with major IT companies in order to identify possible solution to this problem and the results suggest that a restrained environment has to be created and maintained; an environment where dominance of any gender will not be acceptable and both the genders are offered equal space, freedom and opportunities. This environment has to be put into place through guidelines at departmental levels, organizational levels and above all by government agencies and a check to be maintained by law enforcement agencies. Smooth functioning of the organizations must be achieved by constant scanning and checked measures.


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An in-depth analysis of psychology has to be done and the same has to be utilized in order to achieve harmony in the working society. To set an example for generations to come and to learn from the mistakes that have been traversed to us through generations.


One of the most challenging problems in today's work culture is to put a point to gender based abusing. A recent advisory was issued by government office in one IT hub named gurgaon in India where in women are asked not to work after 8pm. This has to be seriously dealt with; authorities rather than making the places safe for women are putting them into the restricted environments. The impact of such advisories is definitely adverse. So, the point is that instead of locating and curbing the potential issues of gender based abuse, we want to take precautions alone. On one hand, we are claiming that we are the top services providers to the entire world and irrespective of time gaps, we deliver and at the same time, we are not capable of keeping our citizens secured. It has been observed that women do not feel secured in BPO environments and as a matter of fact, a maximum 56% of women in South Asian countries are employed in the same vertical of business. There are incidents that cannot be even reported by women and the survey that gave birth to this article also contained a detailed analysis of what are the factors that women and HR of companies consider to be top most reasons of gender based abusing; the findings suggest that mostly women are not directly but indirectly made victims. To cite an example, groups of men seated together would pass comments regarding work or culture or dressing sense of females and the comments are not acceptable, but as they are indirectly routed, so they cannot be even reported or I must say there are no procedures or policies defined to handle these kind of issues of gender based abusing. The reasons are immense and solutions are never thought about and the impact is that mostly women unfriendly environments are created, attrition rates of companies shoot up and the direct impacts come down to HR vertical and businesses as a whole.

Centuries ago, when there were no barriers of technology and when there was no battle in genders, it must have been a wonderful world; But now when we have evolved from that stage to our current stage, we have evolved exponentially in our problems also. The problems have grown in the workplaces and a serious analysis of these problems has to be conducted and the solution lies only in the analysis of these problems. This study of gender based problems in most corporate houses has come up with identifiable problems limited to issues listed in this article. These issues can be taken up in a positive way and can be worked out if both management and HR verticals define strategies to handle the same. Issues are not of principles, but perceptions and can be easily handled if we put into practice intelligence and create societal balance in our corporate-workplaces. The best solution is to train people in society to be better representatives of genders, train them to set examples for others. Ethic based workshops must be conducted in organizations and must be appreciated. This must be made a regular and compulsory

Managing Gender Based Issues


practice so that a coherence can be attained in all workplaces. Human Resource Planning and Policies (HRPP) is the approach that has to be put into practice in order to manage the issues pertaining specifically to gender in organizations. Planning of gender-equality is to be charted out and policies in order to maintain this equality are required. Also, ethics based workshops are getting into trend and they have been till date topped the charts in their significant contribution in subsidizing the ill effects of gender based discrimination and other issues. These trainings can either be added to the training vertical in the organizations where separate training departments have been established or can be conducted by free lancers where no such separate vertical is in place. Also, these trainings must be made compulsory for all employees rather these trainings must be made a joining policy that any employee who joins an organization must have to go through these trainings and also in the training course, there must be specific measures defined that employees understand the significance of their behavior in the organizations.

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