Many women go to varsities, a few take up jobs

India has dismal ratio of women participation in workforce, says HSBC official

Chennai: Despite urbanisation and more women going to universities, India has one of the lowest ratios of women participation in workforce, Subir Mehra, head of operations, Global Service Centre, HSBC, said.

“What is quite strange is that cities are actually behind villages in gender parity at work. The rural participation rate for women in India is 30% as compared to 15% in the urban sector and even in services, the ratio is about 20%. This statistics get even more shocking when you consider India is on the path to urbanisation,” he said, delivering the key note address at ‘Best of the Best Conference in Chennai. The conference was organised by U.S.-based Working Mother and Chennai-based AVTAR Group, which also identified 100 best companies for women in India.

Mr. Mehra also noted that today, in universities, 42% of graduates coming out of science and technology are actually women, yet the gender participation rates in urban India are very low.

He noted that the equation has to change fast and diversity has proven to be good for business as it brings tangible benefits for an organisation as well as society. Mr. Mehra also said that estimates suggest that India’s GDP can be boosted by an additional 1% if more women are brought into the workforce. He pointed out that according to the World Economic Forum, it would take 217 years to bridge the gender gap.

Mr. Mehra added that some progressive companies are taking efforts to improve gender diversity by putting in place policies. For instance, in the IT/BPM industry, the participation of women has grown 1.8 times since 2009 to 34%, he added. At HSBC, he claimed, there are 30,000 employees at its global delivery centres in India and women’s participation is about 40% overall and 20% at the senior level.

Mr. Mehra also suggested that the mandatory 2% of profits of companies to be spend on corporate social responsibility should go towards gender uplift and women’s education.

Delivering the welcome address, Subha Barry, senior vice-president and managing director, Working Mother Media, said she is looking to developing a Diversity Best Practices (DBP) Inclusion Index, and customised studies to India in partnership with AVTAR. Accenture, Deloitte, EY, IBM, TCS and Schneider Electric India were among the top 10 companies for women in India in 2017.

Source: The Hindu

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