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Gender diversity in workplace for equality and prosperity

Luthmela | March 08, 2021 00:00:00

A broader spectrum of research available investigating the co-relations between gender diversity in an organisation and it's impact on the long-term growth or performance of the organisation is available. Against the backdrop of those research findings, it has been repeatedly re-affirmed that gender diversity and inclusion have positive influence on organisational growth. Hence the global business community is becoming more supportive of gender parity in work place not only as a moral obligation but as a business strategy to thrive and outlast their competitors. Fostering an inclusive climate has become a key ingredient of the organisations to bring a transformation and building a sustainable organisation.

Women control over US$40 trillion of total consumer spending globally and make or influence 80% buying decisions globally. Consequently, gender inclusive policies and practices have positive impact on boosting sales, penetrating into new markets and build greater brand royalty as women have demonstrated having better understanding of the consumers' need in various sectors. Men and women have different life experiences and perspectives. A pool of diverse workforce blends cross-functional knowledge, different approaches and ideas and sparks creativity. It has been extracted from different research that having more women in top management prioritize innovation focus strategy more than the male-dominated boards. Numerous studies also suggests that women are better in managing through crisis, trouble shooting, multitasking and focusing on developing and nurturing the team members then their male peer group members. A gender diversity creates a unique homogenous environment to foster, creativity and empathy. Women out-perform in certain areas like strong work ethics or integrity, mentoring, standing up for their beliefs, practicing fair pay and benefits etc.

-A study conducted from Boston Consultancy Group (2017) reveals that with the increase of 20% female managers innovation jumps from 15% to 25%.

-Cloverpop found gender diversity at workplace results in 73% better decision making which further leads to 60% better outcomes.

-Mckinsey &Co (2018) reflected that gender diversity generates 21% more returns on equity than the target.

-Harvard Business Review found that 67% jobseekers consider gender diverse workforce as an important factor while looking for job offers.

-According to Forbes organization with women in at least 30% of leadership roles are 1.4 times more likely to have persistent and lucrative business growth.

-A survey of Global Fortune 500 companies found that as the number of women directors on the corporate boards of the Fortune 500 companies increased, the probability of the companies to be ranked high on corporate responsibility and ethical orientation increased, which in turn improved corporate branding and financial performance.

In the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap report Bangladesh ranks 50th in the Gender Gap Index(overall score72.6% ) and securing top position in South Asia ahead of India (112th), Sri Lanka (102nd) and the rest. Bangladesh ranked 7th in political empowerment of women but it stood 141th in economic participation and opportunity among the 153 countries surveyed. Bangladesh is the only country where women led the government for a longer tenure than men in the 50 years' of existence of the country. This is the reason why it's political gender gap index is so impressive but it should not hide the fact that there are only 8% women in cabinet and 20% in parliament. Needless to say such a poor score in economic participation of women is a reflection of the socio-cultural dynamics at play in our country. Only 38% women are in labour force compared to 84% men in our country. To get more women into work and leadership, a major cultural shift and a transformation of mindset is needed. By fostering respectful working culture where women employees feel safe, and they are respected and valued. This can be done by discouraging discriminatory employment practices, removing all gender biasness and promoting policies that ensure work-life balance. We can create equal opportunities for women to grow their career across the sectors. Leaders should implement gender diversity assessment system to check if there are any unconscious biasness in the organization. Investigating the facts like, do the female employees feels left-out at work or experiencing harassment/sexism traits? Do they feel the belongingness in the organization? Is she comfortable to express views? These are some phenomena an employer should diagnose and ensure the workplace is women friendly. She can't perform her best if she can't bring her true self to work. Policy makers should identify the skill gaps prevails in women work force and focus on demand driven skill development programme to make them employable and competent in job market so that enter in diverse sectors and occupation instead of being stuck in low-productivity jobs.

It has been estimated that closing the gender gap would add $28 trillion to the value of the global economy by 2025 - a 26% increase. Put simply, companies and societies are more likely to grow and prosper when women gain greater financial independence. Healthy gender diversity is both moral and social issue. When women earn an income they reinvest 90% of this income into their families as compared to men who invest only 30-40% (Dalberg Oct,2014). Investing in women has got a tremendous positive macroeconomic and social implications. If our country's economy grows at a higher pace with only 38% of the women's participation in the work force. The growth will multiply manifold with gender parity in workforce. Closing the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity is advancing at very slow pace(from 2006-2020) and is estimated that it will take 257 years achieving gender parity in economic participation globally if it progress at this rate. For Bangladesh the estimated time will be even longer. It means none of us will witness gender parity in work place in our lifetime. But it's not impossible to accelerate the pace of financial independence of women and celebrate the equality. Let's act on the theme of International Women's Day 2021 # Choose to challenge to achieve equality. All we need to do is to utilize the untapped potentials of women, challenge our status quo, breaking the barriers in order to make a difference in our lives, community and economy.

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