Glass Ceiling – Gender Blunder

Ah!! Here comes another one of interesting topic to write about. You may be thinking what this Gender Blunder is all about, no it is not goof ups of genders; it is about the stereotypes that people in organizations have towards female employees.

Recently there have been many changes that organizations are trying to incorporate so that more and more women can go out to work; some of them are facilities of crèches, flexible timings, and work from home and so on

But the question is : Is providing all this that is enough?? What about the gender bias that takes place in companies…. losing promotion, less pays, management stereotypes etc. Why is it that there are very few female employees who make it to the top?? Your answer to this question would be because they get married, leave jobs to settle in their families, then take maternity breaks and so their career graph either remains stagnant or it may slowly move upwards in comparison to their male counterparts.

Why doesn’t Organizations encourage the mobility of talent so that women as well men can perform up to the best of their capabilities?? If organizations commit to success then women can go on maternity leaves or take a break and can still provide success and leadership. But it has to be the acumen of the organizations.

These are few examples that I have seen recently:

A receptionist was expecting her first child and from her 6th month onwards she had to take some hormones injections for which she wanted to leave the premises just half an hour before the shift ends. The employer refused stating that if we allow this for one woman we have to allow for others as well.

Another example is:

A hardworking, successful marketing professional was getting married and applied for leaves for 23 days (which I feel is a genuine thing as generally we don’t get married twice) but got sanction for just 2 weeks of leaves and was given a reason that she needs to complete the targets of that particular months otherwise she would not be give a promotion. She was one of the top performers, target oriented female employee but the company lost her.

This is the kind of stereotypic bias females have to go through in the workplace. Because of similar incidences many capable females are not seated on the leadership position in companies.
There seemed to be an invisible and impenetrable barrier between women and the Leadership roles, leaving them at the peak of their careers at a significantly lower level, condemned to watch their male counterparts advance swiftly beyond them.

The reasons:

Acuity: People generally perceive female employees either too soft to handle certain issues or too tough. You may agree that this is a very general perception about them; I have heard people talking about them as either too soft or too hard a person to handle.

High expectations and fewer rewards: “Men and women are seen differently, and the difference in my experience and observation is that women need to show it more times before they believe it. With a woman, they will want to see the behavior repeated more frequently before they will say that this is really part of the women and her capabilities”

Low Tolerance: Most female employees especially those who are in the leadership roles are not liked by their counterparts because of their assertive manner of handling problems. We have very little tolerance when it comes to the harsh behavior from women in comparison to the male bosses. If a woman in the leadership role would demand something aggressively she would be considered as very tough and harsh, whereas her male counterparts will be given a brush off in similar situations.

Trapped in Staff Jobs: Due to various reasons, many women employees are just trapped in staff jobs and never make it up to the decision making level where they are in leadership roles.

The solution:

Sensitivity trainings: The consequences of gender bias, diversity training, values and their importance and workplace equality.

Strict policy on Mobility: An organizations belief on mobility will yield higher results. If they want their successful people to go up the ladder the mobility is provided for both Female and Male employees.

Performance Management: During performance evaluation a little stress on reducing Gender bias can have higher returns. New creative practices to reduce gender bias, more team work creating groups in equality.

Cultivating the culture of equality: The organizations can make sure that they have the culture which talks and walks about the equality in workplace. One needs to be evaluated on their performance rather than on their gender. Gender specific remarks, jokes and rumors needs to be handled with proper care.

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