The status of women in the Indian society has undergone a sea change in the past few decades from a mere homemaker to a dynamic multitasking individual. They have been able to carve out a niche for themselves and leave behind a mark in sphere of life including professions still considered male-dominated. This of course comprises the corporate business world.
The environment for multinational corporations has been quite capricious with abundant trials for the firms operating in this arena. Recruitment processes have changed and a large number of women have joined the corporate workforce. Throughout this period there have emerged a number of executive women leaders in India who have been recognized for their contributions to organizational excellence and leadership despite the environment fluctuation (Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochhar, Arundhati Bhattacharya); but invariably even few years back women power was not so welcome to hold and glorify the top positions of different corporate houses.
For years, women had to struggle a lot to not only make their mark in the corporate sector, but also to climb up the ladder
Unfortunately, she still struggles with the orthodox beliefs and rigid stereotype perceptions of the society. Right from the recruitment process to working and promotions—women face some or the other barrier. In corporate, she is a victim of harsh effects of “Glass Ceiling” that still happens to be a harsh reality in the Indian corporate world.
What does glass ceiling mean?
According to the US Department of Labour, glass ceiling, refers to an artificial barrier, based on attitudinal or organizational that prevents qualified and deserving women from progressing to senior managerial position. The situation is referred to as a ceiling as there is a constraint blocking upward advancement and glass, transparent because the limitation is not immediately apparent and is normally an unwritten and informal policy.
While in the present times we do see women holding very senior positions in the corporate world and there are no explicit obstacles keeping women away from securing advanced job positions – the ‘glass ceiling’ as a practice does lie beneath the surface.
How does glass ceiling permeate in the corporate world?
One of the major hurdles by the way of glass ceiling is that the pyramid tends to grow narrower as one rises up the corporate ladder. And needless to say there are fewer people at the senior most management level. And of those that happen to be women, find themselves outnumbered by men at the round table. It goes without saying that women do try and fit in, such as join for a drink, but it is far less prevalent. At senior levels, men instinctively tend to tale other men seriously and their female counterparts.
Needless to say that prevalence of such practices have an adverse effect on women employees and on the overall company. Promoting a workplace culture that is equitable and ensures a healthy work environment is the duty of every human resources department. Organizations must ensure that the glass ceiling is blurred and even women employees get equal opportunities in the domain of business.
Developing a recruitment process to curb glass ceiling
Disenchanted by the effects of glass ceiling many women have sought to the path of self-employment. However, the reality of women working in the corporate sector has to be accepted and organizations along with their respective human resources department has to take an initiative to keep a check on this.
Here’s what corporates can do in this regard.
#1. Recruit and promote based purely on talent and potential
Employers must take the initiative to recruit and promote based on genuine talent. Organizations must revamp their recruitment processes and opt for nurturing new women employees. Discrimination at any cost must be avoided. The recruitment process must be clear and transparent and must treat everyone equally.
#2. Do away with evaluation bias
Recruiters must be conscious about any kind of bias that is involved in the processes of the organization. Whether it is the recruitment process to appraisal and even social gatherings, employers must make sure that they are able to do away with any kind of biases. Ensure that you deliver honest feedback, if there’s an issue that’s hindering an employee’s path to advancement.
#3. Promote gender-neutral workplace and networking
The human resources departments must ensure that they work towards promoting a workplace culture that is absolutely gender neutral and promotes equality among all employees.
During these times, professional networking is something truly important. Employers need to take this into consideration and promote networking activities that are gender-friendly. Such moves will ensure
women employees are also able to gel well and build on their networking skills. Focusing on gender neutral activities are the best options in advocating equality.
While ample actions and steps are being taken by human resources personnel in order to curb the glass ceiling effect, a lot still remains to be done. It’s time that corporates take notice of the existence and effects of glass ceiling and take actions against it.