The past decade saw a decline in the female labour force participation rate, as noted in Aan Assocham-Thought Arbitrage Research study. It further stated the importance of introducing and implementing appropriate policy measures and programmes to increase female participation in the workforce, which in turn would boost India’s GDP.
And this year, it seems like companies in India have paid heed to this piece of advice. In an appropriately timed revelation, a new study indicates that participation of women in corporate India has reached 30.55%, a 5% increase from 25.25% in 2016.
About the study
The study on Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) was conducted by AVTAR Group and US-based Working Mother Media. The AVTAR Group is a workplace diversity and inclusion expert firm while Working Mother Media is a division of Bonnier Corporation that champions the cause of working mothers in the US.
This second edition of the BCWI study surveyed 360 employers in the country, spanning every major industry and geographical location, and listed the top 10 and 100 best companies for women. Apart from the 5% increase, there has also been a significant surge in the hiring rates for women, at 36% – up by 15% from last year.
“Corporate India’s focus on recruiting and expanding their women employee base is laudable. Going by the data, the Best Companies for Women in India may get to their goal of gender balance in another five-six years! … (However,) this trend is yet to catch up in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and infrastructure. In the years to come, BCWI will further strengthen the ecosystem for women professionals in India Inc., raising the bar each year and catalyzing its journey to gender balance,” Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, Founder-President of AVTAR Group.
The companies and what makes them best
The 2017 top 10 best companies for women, listed in alphabetical order, are – Accenture Solutions, Deloitte in India, EY, IBM India, Northern Trust Bank, People Combine Educational Initiatives, Procter & Gamble, Schneider Electric, Shell India, and Tata Consultancy Services.
The 100 best companies for women were selected against 7 key policy clusters – flexible work, workforce profile, benefits, women’s recruitment and retention, safety and security, paid time, and company culture.
So, what measures have these companies deployed to be the best? “….. (These) companies have recognised the need for having women in the workforce and have diligently worked towards introducing best practices and women-friendly policies,” Subha Barry, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director, Working Mother Media.
According to the study, their women-oriented policies include, but are not limited to –
- Providing support to women with postpartum depression
- Providing support to employees with autistic children
- Formal phase-back programs to help young mothers rejoin the workforce post maternity leave
- Offering full-paid paternity leave to their employees, the maximum being 56 days
Is your company women-friendly?
A healthier environment and balanced workforce make sound business sense. When companies take an effort to develop a female-friendly workplace, they gain distinct competitive advantages. As an article rightly mentions, proactively working (…) to create a culture that approaches work achievement through the feminine strengths of holistic thinking, inclusion, and agile collaboration is a very smart thing to do (…) for your enterprise.
After all, having just 30.55% female participation in India Inc. is not enough. To quote a line from Forbes, “This is where we start. It can’t be where we finish.”