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New study reveals ‘huge’ gender disparity in Indian businesses

By Catherine Knowles
Thu 2 Jan 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Having uniform women-friendly programmes within organisations and including men as allies are crucial to improve gender diversity in the workplace, according to a new study titled, ‘Zinnov-Intel India Gender Diversity Benchmark.

Zinnov, the global management consulting firm, and Intel India have released the findings of their study as part of an industry initiative called Be-WISE (Women Innovators, Social Leaders and Entrepreneurs), that aims to accelerate inclusive participation of women in the workplace.

The study evaluated 60 companies from the Indian ecosystem, comprising global capability centres (GCCs), technology service providers, startups, and Indian companies to gain an understanding of the current diversity landscape, with the intent of baselining key practices to improve diversity.

It also analysed the statistics around gender diversity and various organisational policies and practices that give a comprehensive perspective of women in corporate India.

Key findings of the study include:

  • There is 30% representation of women in corporate India, with 31% and 26% representation within non-technical and technical roles, respectively.
  • There are only 11% senior women leaders in the ecosystem; however, the junior and middle levels fare slightly better at 38% and 20%, respectively.
  • Further, the number of women on company boards has increased from 5% in 2012 to 13% in 2018, thanks only to the mandate of having at least one woman on every company's board of directors.
  • The study found that location matters when it comes to gender diversity. Bengaluru has the highest gender diversity at the workplace with 34% women employees, followed by Mumbai with 33% diversity and Pune with 32%. The average gender diversity for tier-1 cities stands at 31% and for tier-2 and -3 cities at 25%.
  • Large companies have the highest gender representation at 33%, while medium-sized ones have 27% and small companies, only 21%.
  • Global MNCs are comprised of 25% women employees, while domestic MNCs employ 30% women and non-MNCs, 31%.

The study finds that even though women make up 48.2% of India's population, a huge gender disparity continues to exist in Indian workplaces. Most companies surveyed have been running diversity programmes for many years, which has led to them making modest progress, the study shows.

However, the numbers have still failed to move the needle; the big leap is missing. In order to make significant progress in the inclusion of women in the workplace, companies across the board need to align on a few common priorities and themes, and more importantly, collaborate, the companies state.

Speaking about the study's findings, Zinnov CEO Pari Natarajan says, “Concerted efforts over the years have moved the needle from 21% to 30% for the diversity numbers. However, the commitment to change needs to move beyond an organisational setting and include an ecosystem-wide lens.

“Enabling science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career options for young women, supporting women-led startups, and encouraging other women entrepreneurs are some of the more impactful initiatives that organisations need to actively look at.”

Intel Corp vice president of data center group and Intel India country head, Nivruti Rai, says, “Intel India is deeply committed to advancing women's participation in India's economy and steering its progress through collaboration with the industry, government and academia.

“I believe the Zinnov-Intel India Gender Diversity study offers valuable data, insights and industry best practices that would be instrumental in furthering the goal of 'Be-WISE' to accelerate inclusive participation of women in the workplace. It is my hope that we can learn from one another and collaborate to create a truly gender diverse and inclusive industry."

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