Why is there a high attrition rate for Women in the Indian workplace?

Why is there a high attrition rate for Women in the Indian workplace?

A woman struggles to work among men in India due to both conscious and unconscious bias. Making sexist remarks or cracking women related jokes and doubting potential of women can also create gender bias.

There has been a big debate on giving women equal rights across the country in the workforce. To an extent, many companies, especially big MNCs giant companies, are making women-friendly reforms to promote hiring more women in the workplace and giving them equal opportunities as men. We have seen reforms like legal mandate of 6-month maternity leaves, provision of menstrual leaves, PoSH Act, 2013 which encourage women to participate in opportunities provided and stand next to men in society. But there are still various kind of bias that woman face in an industry where she doesn’t feel part of the organization and prevalence of casual sexist behaviour of male colleagues at the workplace.

Actions that may make women feel not part of the organization. (Unconscious Bias)

  1. Wife jokes.

There has been a common behaviour of males making fun of each other at the workplace to make the environment a little joyous and happy. With time, there has been a rise in unconscious and gender-biased jokes. Yes, ‘wife jokes’ are now a day prevalent but can offend female workers around you. In some incidents, women (unofficially) have been reporting gender-biased jokes by male employees at the workplace, which is considered discrimination against them.

  1. Stalking and comments on physical appearance

One of the main reasons women are psychologically struggling at the workplace is stalking fellow workers and their improper comments on their looks, body physique, and outfits. A woman, same as a man, is free to choose whatever she wants to wear that is not violating the organization’s Code of Conduct and can have any desirable haircut and any pair of shoes she wants to wear. No one is permitted to make fun of her choices or comment on them. This offending behaviour is one of the reasons women find it hard to survive well in the workplace.

  1. Other unconscious biases women face in the workplace.

Imagine your senior is coming into your room where you had been asked to assemble for a meeting. He is 10 minutes late, and you guys enjoy having jokes. His name is Ronnie, and he likes to be called the same way. You will greet him, and in case if he is one of the cool guys in your workplace, you will share the joke with him too. Whereas let’s flip the coin, when a female senior enters the room with 5 men joking, everyone would be suddenly silent and treat her like an outsider. The woman finds this behaviour offensive.

A healthy environment at the workplace is where you treat everyone equally, irrespective of gender and position (with respect). Similarly, calling all female employees ‘Madam’ or ‘Mam’ and male employees by their name is also an unconscious bias everyone should be aware of, even if you are a female.

  1. Motherhood Bias

Once a woman becomes a mother, lower salaries, and biased promotions are a few common challenges a woman faces. Again, this is an unconscious bias that makes a woman worry about balancing her personal and professional life.

  1. Performance review bias

Women in the workplace also have faced biased approaches in performance reviews where employers, managers, and colleagues review women differently from men when the grounds for performance evaluations are purely merit-based.

  1. Job descriptions containing gender bias

You might have seen men mostly in on-field marketing, sales work, and several other on-field jobs. This is one of the other forms of unconscious biased approach towards women where only men are considered for physical duties and not women. A perfect counterexample to this is a delivery girl catering to a client of an online food delivery giant at around midnight in the Surat district of Gujarat. Gender biased job description/prequalification does not allowed women to be recruited in the same numbers as men are recruited in organizations.

Interview questions can be gender biased

  • Asking personal questions like:
  • When are you getting married?
  • When are you planning to have the kids?
  • Does your husband have a transferable job? etc

These questions are gender biased and concerned with women to join an organization. A dedicated and hard-working woman is determined to do her job and keep her personal life separate from her professional life and asking personal questions could project an organization to be discriminatory towards women.

Women are more interrupted while presenting their ideas in the boardroom than men.

Another form of unconsciousness that is widely seen in corporates is that a female team member, for that matter even a female board member, is cornered while discussion and is interrupted more compared to male members. This is the highly unlikely noticeable point but concerns a woman as far as listening to every member of the team/board is concerned.

Concludingly, every woman in the workplace needs equal respect and engagement like all other members. To keep the environment healthy, avoid gender-biased actions and jokes, and for that matter, never comment on a women’s physical appearance. Listen to every member of the team, promote equity over equality when it comes to promotion for an inclusive agender-neutral work culture. Share your thoughts in the comments below. Feel free to share this article with your colleagues.