Although we celebrate International’s Women Day on March 12 every year where we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, the pressing issue of Women rights gets as real every day as it can get.
Talking about Women Rights is one thing but penning & following-up on the initiatives is an altogether different thing. I think with some solid initiatives in place, inclusion for women cannot be understated. It is very important to mention here that without an understanding of why these initiatives are rolled out, the maximum gain cannot be utilized. It is important that understanding of these programs be developed first before the programs are rolled out, so all the employees' buy-in is there and in case of any concerns be addressed. Female inclusion is Company inclusion first.
As I write this, there is no denying the fact, a lot of initiatives have been taken globally by so many organizations/associations, individuals & movements to contribute towards women rights and I have a lot of respect for all the efforts made in this direction.
So, what more can be done for Women Inclusion in the Corporate Sector. Some of my thoughts are mentioned below:
1. Female Recruitment
A company’s Recruitment policy can be the first stepping stone towards equal representation of Female staff. A clearly laid out ‘Recruitment strategy’ with the clear tagline on ‘No Discrimination based on anything’ can garner very fruitful results for all the females looking at the company with hope for progression.
2. Women in Teams
It is natural to have under-representation in teams in terms of the female workforce because of either the very technical nature of the departments or other hardships associated with the Job. In such cases, clear targets should be given to the Head of Departments for increasing female workforce.
3. Mentorship program
The Company can roll-out a Mentorship program, where a female mentee is assigned a female mentor for her coaching & development. The two meet or have a telephonic conversation on a regular basis or as defined up until the end of the program. Such programs turn out to be very beneficial not only for the mentee but also the mentor as the learning is both ways. Such programs should be communicated internally so the stakeholders are aware of the stakes & goals.
4. Sponsorship program
Sponsorship is essentially different from mentorship which too often gets confused with the other. Sponsors are senior executives with the ability and the desire to advance their proteges. She is someone who’s pounding the table for you to get that raise, the promotion, or the chance to work on a high-profile project. Again, like a mentorship program, sponsorship program must be voiced internally so that everyone understands the stakes & goals.
5. Women on Board
Have a fixed quota every year for including the number of women in the Board. No board is complete without equal representation from both men & women. Start with including some %age and increase the %age every year as per merit & as per defined initiatives for women inclusion
6. Women for leadership
Like Women on Board, women for leadership programs are designed with a clear objective of preparing female leaders for the future, who are sent on Leadership programs for a fixed period and trained & developed professionally to prepare them for the future. The importance of such programs cannot be underestimated as once communicated properly, they can prove to be very beneficial for those with potential. As part of a multinational corporation, MNC, If such programs are rolled out globally, every region and the country must determine the number and the incumbent making the cut for their respective region/country. Compliance with such programs should be monitored globally/regionally/locally to ensure transparency & fairness.
7. Women for management
Before a woman becomes a leader, she must become a manager. Management development programs for aspiring Women can give them that direction, where their management skills can be harnessed for delivery on the future potential. Such programs can take them on a regional and/or a global journey as well where they learn from the best. Like ‘Women for Leadership’ programs, ‘Women for Management’ programs are sometimes rolled out regionally/globally and a fixed number must be given from the respective region/country for following-up on the program/initiative. Such programs, if rolled out globally must be leveraged regionally & on a local level for developing potential
8. Female Recognition programs
Female recognition programs are rolled out for recognizing females for their exemplary and/or outstanding achievements. Generally, there’s a nominator who nominates a colleague for her exceptional delivery and gets to push her for a bigger cause. Such programs generally come with an award and/or a certificate of appreciation for the female.
9. Other Training & Development Initiatives
While the above programs are specifically highlighted towards increasing female representation on a wider scale, other training & development initiatives should also see more female workforce getting developed professionally, where ever there is a need, even if it requires conscious choices.
10. Other Professional Forums inside & outside the company
Other than the above-mentioned programs, some of the ways the company can promote female diversity & female inclusion is through making sure any professional forum inside & outside of the Company is equally represented by either gender to be an advocate of female diversity, at the same time the male gets a voice.
While the Company can do all the above, there should be enough competent Female takers as well. This goes both ways with a Company doing its best for developing female professionals & the females taking the lead for delivering on the expectations. With all the above-mentioned initiatives in place with others there too, the female professionals also get a heads up that a lot is getting done in the domain and they are included. No doubt 'Women Inclusion' can bring many fruitful results for the organization and for the future of Work, if done properly.