Almost half of the world’s population consists of women. Yet, even after more than 100 years of observing International Women's Day – a day to celebrate social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women – we continue to discuss the several challenges women still face, including gender inequality. This inequality is one of the greatest obstacles to sustainable development, economic growth, and poverty reduction. In this regard, it is not only a moral or social problem, but also an economic one. After all, if 50% of the world population does not develop its full economic potential, it will obviously be a major setback for the global economy (in a study, the McKinsey Global Institute has estimated the possibility of generating $12 trillion more global GDP in 2025, thanks to gender equality).
Gender equality can be viewed from different perspectives such as from the vantage points of access to financial power and the economy, legal protection and political voice, physical security and autonomy, and equal opportunities in the work environment. For the latter, there are various entry points for companies to put inclusion on their agenda and to enable and improve gender equality at the workplace. Here are some examples:
Our everyday language plays a huge role in breaking down gender stereotypes. Words ending in '-man' are the most commonly used gendered nouns. It may not seem like a big deal but addressing only men at workplaces is inappropriate, as it excludes women (as well as intersex people, for that matter).
For most terms, there are good alternatives that ensure that you do not automatically assume the gender of the concerned person. It's no longer the norm that a software developer has to be a man - it can equally be a female software developer. Don't just talk about "he/him", talk about "she/her". These small changes in regular conversations can go a long way in changing gender-related cultural perceptions and stereotypes.
For more on gender-neutral addressing, do read Revolution through gender pronoun, a recent post by Nagarro’s CEO and co-founder Manas Fuloria.
Access to the management level
Even today, women are severely under-represented in management positions. As a global organization that believes in gender equality, Nagarro has taken several steps that have enabled the organization to achieve a female quota of at least one-third at the management level. One of the organization’s key initiatives, the Glass Window program, goes a long way towards building strong female leaders and recognizing their success.
The program begins with the senior management team and the yearly nominating of promising female leaders within the company, to participate for one year in all discussions, meetings, conclaves, and task forces, and have transparent access to all information shared within the management group. This concept has been extended to all our leadership forums and has made a huge impact in grooming strong leaders. At Nagarro, we believe that the concept of "reserving for access" rather than "reserving for position" helps ensure that their successes are not diminished. For us as an organization, it has been extremely beneficial as the women leaders have brought in a rich range of diverse ideas and perspectives, becoming an important source of inspiration for all other emerging leaders.
In this recent blog, Striving toward an inclusive workplace, Nagarro’s HR Director, Mukund Nair, has shared more details about the Glass Window program.
Hiring programs designed for women
It is both morally and strategically necessary to give women the same opportunities in an organization as men. No wonder then, companies need to get creative in retaining their female workforce by tailoring their approach to this target group and its requirements.
Nagarro’s various recruitment programs and nationwide advertising campaigns, which focus on work from anywhere, in all major dailies primarily targets women IT professionals in our Indian market. To strengthen hiring for women, the organization is also collaborating with "Women in Technology" (WIT), a non-profit organization in India not just for its own recruiting needs but also to help WIT make a bigger impact.
WIT has created a persona called Tara (a 35-year-old woman with 2 children), to be implemented as a conversational chatbot. Nagarro has been involved in developing Tara (the persona) as a bot to make it easier to have a conversation and find answers to queries of prospective job candidates. She can talk with women and can make it easier for them to search for jobs and get recommendations for courses or articles. We are truly excited about the societal impact we can create through these initiatives and are keen to welcome more and more women within Nagarro.
Opportunities for working mothers
Women often make significant career sacrifices to raise a family. But it is also important to encourage fathers to take parental leave and play an active role in childcare. One way to level the playing field is to have a consistent parental leave policy with paid leave for both parents. Return-to-work programs and training can also help women catch up with the latest trends, when they are ready to re-enter the workforce.
Virtual courses and webinars, like the ones provided by Nagarro University, provide ample opportunities for ongoing education. Additionally, Nagarro has implemented other simple ways to make work life easier for moms through facilities like resting and breastfeeding rooms, and the "work from anywhere" option. This allows mothers to manage their workday responsibly, with a flexible work schedule so that they can leverage maximum work-life balance. Quality (and affordable) childcare close to the workplace, like in Nagarro’s Gurgaon, India office, has also helped working mothers stay assured and relaxed as they go through the day’s work peacefully while their children are well looked after, just a few steps away within the day-care setup of their office building.
This Inside our Day Care video shows the childcare facilities provided by Nagarro and the level of support this provides to the working mothers.
There are points in one’s career or life that one needs a mentor to provide the right guidance and the confidence for you to maximize your potential. It often takes multiple inputs or even just some ideas from someone who may have a view of a bigger picture or has been through the same journey that you are aspiring for. Both internal mentoring in companies and external mentoring programs pursue the goal of providing upwardly mobile women with role models to accompany them on their journey.
While mentoring programs do exist in many organizations, at Nagarro we have built one which we feel is true to our core values. It is our very own Pathfinder Initiative (popularly known as PI), which is currently in its pilot phase and will be rolled-out in a few months across Nagarro. Mentors ("Navigators") support Nagarrians ("Explorers") exploring their journey through Nagarro, to grow within Nagarro, to craft one’s own career path and to understand the company and the culture better. We see this agile, global and non-hierarchical program as a game changer in further differentiating ourselves as an organization true to its core values of CARING.
Engaging with mentors from outside also strengthen the perception of women within the company. On International Women's Day, this year, we had the chance to get into a conversation with three renowned women leaders and learn from their experiences. Watch this truly inspiring talk with Mary Beth Westmoreland (VP, Brand Protection at Amazon), Catharina Tunberg (CTO at ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions), and Shalini Sarin (Co-founder and Director of Elektromobilitat):
Prevention of sexism and harassment
Be it "mansplaining" or inappropriate sexual jokes, women face all kinds of sexist and disrespectful behavior at many workplaces but also in private places. A very important corporate principle that should be a part of every organization, is to strive for a workplace that is free of any discrimination - be it based on ethnicity, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, world view, physical impairment or gender. Failure to comply, especially in the area of sexual harassment, should be met with zero tolerance across the company.
The Nagarro Constitution has been formulated on these lines and Nagarrians around the world regularly take part in mandatory training modules, including various case studies, to recognize and understand even the smallest incidents of discrimination. Everyone at Nagarro is encouraged to be an active observer and to report as well as show the courage to disrupt any inappropriate behavior to our internal Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) committee.
Sharing is CARING
According to Goalkeepers, globally, women take on three times more unpaid care and housework than men. That's three times of time and energy taken away from women that they could otherwise utilize to advance their careers, earn more money and enjoy leisurely activities. Why then, should we not have an organizational level culture that encourages men to take equal responsibility?
Nagarrians throughout the globe are encouraged to imbibe the culture of ‘Sharing is CARING’, that is reflected in our regular discussions and team gatherings. From dividing household work between both partners equally to encouraging children of all genders to participate in household chores (and to learn for a stereotype-free future), Nagarrian families throughout the globe have shown the way, especially during the recent pandemic.
Can you also relate to what it’s like to be working from home with kids? Check out some of our colleagues, who have shared their quarantine stories and how they have inculcated Nagarro’s core value, CARING, in their everyday lives.
Many companies have recognized that they benefit from gender-equality measures. Together, we need to be role models and prove that the traditionally perceived man-woman divide can be easily bridged at workplaces.
Nagarrians across the globe celebrated #IWD2021 and #ChooseToChallenge:
What do you think about your company's position and actions on diversity, equality, and inclusion? Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome any inspiration or ideas that can help us become even better!