Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Women empowerment and gender equity can bring in inclusive growth

Gender inequity has always been a pressing global issue and the theme for International Women’s Day stresses on ‘#BeBoldForChangewhich is a call for masses and individuals to forge a better working world and a more gender-inclusive world. A "Resource Center on Women's Health, Empowerment and Rights" was established at IIHMR in 1997 with the support of the Ford Foundation in a project mode for five years. Working on the issues further strengthened the thoughts and ideas and, therefore, the Center was rejuvenated as "Gender Health Resource Center". The Center believes that gender is a part of quality concepts; ethics and rights, and one of the major social determinants of health. The IIHMR University Jaipur has also worked for the social upliftment of rural women; through projects that support sanitation and hygiene for the empowerment of women, shared their insights this International Women’s Day.

The theme ‘#BeBoldForChange’ this International Women’s Day highlights on commitments that should be made to help women and girls to achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership and also valuable contributions of women equal to that of men. According to a report that was released by Mckinsey and Company on The Power of Parity’ September 2015- it was highlighted that India is one amongst the 46 out of 95 countries that were analyzed in developed and developing nations who would experience an increase in its GDP outcome by more than 10% in 2025 if women participated in the economy identical to men. India is also home to one of the largest female population in the world today.     

Experts at IIHMR University Jaipur referring the India Skills Report 2017 said, “According to the India Hiring Intent Survey, the ratio of males to females is 71:29. However, states such as Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Haryana have shown a higher level of employable female candidates.” The IIHMR University Expert also specified that “Women today are ready to consider challenging work and explore more challenging terrains by not restricting themselves to comfortable and monotonous working patterns. However, the India Skills Report 2017 highlights a striking figure that, out of the entire workforce, 25-30% are females and only 20% work in urban areas.”

The expert at IIHMR University Jaipur further expressed that, “There is a dire necessity for employers to design training programs for freshly recruited female candidates to shape their future and empower them further in their roles. According to the India Skills Report the total hiring targets for Pharma and healthcare industry is 38.67%, while that in BPO, KPO and ITes is 36.78%. However, spite of widespread discussions and reforms in government policies the matter of gender diversity still remains unresolved today. According to Global Gender Gap Report 2016 and its Global Gender Gap Index 2016, India ranks 87th in the world with a score of 0.683 in gender equality. It is also important to also highlight that women in various roles evidently deserve health, education, earning power and political representation as much as men do in various walks of life.

According to the India Skills Report 2017, Rajasthan (31%) tops the list of states having the most employable women. The next in line in Andhra Pradesh at 23%, Karnataka which is at 21%, Telangana at 20%, Maharashtra at 18%, West Bengal at 17%, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana at 15%, Tamil Nadu at 11% and Gujarat at 9%.         

The growth of every organization depends on the mix of skill sets, experience, values, culture which can be achieved only through gender diversity; this is how organizations can work up to the level off of attaining success. Organization in the nation should also work to create business models that include utilizing the skills of interns to the best and retaining them when needed. They must conceptualize on hiring models that have gender diversity and reduced salary gaps amongst both male and female employees. Gender equality can definitely bring in inclusive growth and through gender equity and human development, it will also result in an all-around growth in GDP. Thus, organizations and nations must realize that a healthy development and an appropriate utilization of one of the largest talent pools will obviously have positive implications on the development, growth, competitiveness, and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide. 

There are also initiatives at the country levels in this direction. In India, a recent joint initiative by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Women and Child Development aims at engaging students to act as Gender Champions (GCs) in all schools, colleges, and universities across the country. They can be both boys and girls above 16 years of age enrolled in an educational institution. They are envisaged as responsible leaders who will facilitate an enabling environment within their respective institutions where everyone is treated with dignity and respect irrespective of their gender. As an institution committed to gender equality, IIHMR University has wholeheartedly welcomed this initiative and is working with GCs and students to promote gender equality.