“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” is an adage we have heard many times. A recent survey points out that women HR officers have replaced men in 60% of the companies in last few years. This data is kindling our curiosity. May be the differences between men and women in terms of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills could be the reason for this terrific increase in the headcount of women HRs in India. The survey also brings out the fact that will not bring cheer to many; Only 15% of women have been promoted as CHRO (Chief Human Resource Officer) from the same organization and in case of the rest 85%, they were hired from outside the organizations. Though women tend to outdo men in HR segment, hardly 7% of women hold senior management position in India.
Women tend to use the right side of the brain that is associated with being intuitive, integrating, receptive and being good at organizing, sympathizing among others which are the qualities generally ascribed to HR professionals. Even though many companies in India have taken their best foot forward so as to increase the representation of women workforce, there is still a long way to go. Recently, the metals and mining conglomerate Vedanta revealed its aim of tripling its women workforce from 11% as of now to 30% in the next two years. Tata Sons Chief Chandrasekaran too echoed almost the same views, “With nearly 1, 86,000 women employees, the Tata Group is also one of the largest employers of women. The role of women in the work force and participation in decision-making structures is mission-critical for our collective future”.
Why are women not able to bag the C-Suite titles? The major reasons for Indian women not reaching the highest echelons could be the gender bias and also the environment is not conducive for women to nurture their skills and move up the ladder. The pipeline of the women talent pool has to be strengthened by means of providing equal opportunities in all segments. Its time people and organizations start shedding their stereotypic mentality and promote the integration of more percentage of women into the workforce. According to a statistics by Catalyst Knowledge Centre, the percentage of women in the pipeline from entry to manager/director category is 24%, Managers/Directors -21%, Senior Managers-19% and Executive officers- 14%. It is quite interesting to know that in 2015, IKEA, Switzerland has become the first company in the world to attain the highest level of equality certification and it has about 48% female managers.
Women can reach the top brass only if the company on the whole has a vision and mission to do it. As a means of nurturing women talent and to propel them to great heights, many companies have started bringing in a lot of flexibility in the working hours with respect to women. Big corporates have started understanding the need of having women in top positions as gender diversity at these levels could bring a major transformation in the work ethos and the decisions being made. Conscious efforts have to be made by any organization to identify the potential women leaders who would carve out a new chapter in history.
Women majorly tend to lose out the better opportunities in their work place as they are not ably supported by husband or other family members. They are always reminded that they are women and are supposed to give preference to family and children first and then to job. The mindset we as Indians have got has to change as well. An interesting research by HBS in 2015 states that “women whose mothers worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full-time. Also, men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for family members, a necessary and admittedly hard change in otherwise well accepted societal roles and norms”.
If women are provided with much flexibility that would help them to maintain work-life balance, there will be definitely an increase in the percentage of women entering the C-Suite. Nature has endowed women with the best qualities such as patience which gives them the strength and courage to undergo a C-Section and also to decorate the C-Suite with their intellectual and emotional capabilities.