India ranks worst for women in the workplace
Summary of story from livemint.com, September 7, 2011
A new report has named India as the worst among the top six Asian economies when it comes to the number of women in junior and mid level positions in the workplace.
The Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia 2011 report surveyed 21 companies in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, including financial services, technology and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies like Ernst and Young, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Coca-Cola.
The findings emphasised the inherent gender biases that still exist in India, where social attitudes still place women traditionally as homemakers, and men as dominant, educated breadwinners.
The report was released by Community Business, a non-profit organization focusing on diversity and inclusion in Asia.
Shalini Mahtani, founder of Community Business and one of the co-authors of the report said “Culturally, Indian women are under the greatest collective pressure to get married at a young age. While a similar pressure may exist in China and Hong Kong, it is not as strong.
“If employers in India want to make it easier for young Indian women in the workforce they need to create policies—be it maternity, flexi timing, mentoring specific to women of that age group.”
She continued: “The interviews with high-potential Indian women revealed that cultural and family expectations have a significant impact on their career decisions.
“We were told that certain career choices were made ‘to please parents’ whilst opportunities away from home were often declined because of not wanting to be too far from family and in particular ageing parents.
“At the same time, flexible work arrangements are not readily available and commuting hours are long, so juggling family life and a career can be especially tough.”
China has the highest percentage of women represented in the total workforce (49.79%), followed by Malaysia (47.35%), Hong Kong (45.34%) and Singapore (43.29%).
The lowest percentage of women is employed in India (24.43%), with Japan (33.62%) the second lowest, according to the study.