The Business Imperative of Gender Inclusivity: Barriers and Bridges

Sahana Madan

Abstract


The Indian IT industry, a knowledge-intensive sector and equal opportunity employer has been actively hiring women in its workforce over the past decade. The 800,000 women currently working in the sector account for over 30 per cent of the existing hires and this figure is all set to rise in the future with 20% in 2004 to 30% in 2012 (NASSCOM). The last few years has seen a spate of conferences, panel discussions & dialogues around diversity, primarily gender and the dilemmas in Indian IT organizations. With so much focus and understanding of this space it’s time to ask some key questions: Is there greater sensitization within our businesses on diversity & inclusivity related issues? Is there a real pipeline of women leaders in the making? or are we still grappling with the same dilemmas from where we started. The Indian IT-BPO industry has set high standards in inclusion and is among the first to recognize the business imperative for Diversity & Inclusion. Inclusivity actions have evolved from individual programs to culture changing organizational efforts. Recognizing the global leverage of our “demographic dividend”, industry is gearing up to develop a diverse and inclusive workforce for women though women continue to have disproportionate representations on corporate boards and executive committees, with Asian countries having significantly lower representation (Barsh, Devillard, & Wang,
2012).

This paper attempts to assess the women workforce composition in Indian IT organizations, evaluate the available benefits of Gender Inclusivity, Examine the gap between the prevailing and expected gender Inclusivity practices, to measure the levels of Gender Inclusivity, using appropriate statistical tools with a sample of 108 women executives at different levels of management complemented by personal Interviews in IT industries in Bangalore.

Keywords: Gender diversity, Gender inclusivity, HR practices, Corporate performance, IT and Women


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