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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Working women: An untapped potential

Working women: An untapped potential

Last updated on: March 04, 2011 16:22 IST
As International Women's Day draws closer, we take a look at the role and challenges that women face at the workplace.

Mini Manakame, general manager (product services) with Aditi Technologies, writes about how organisations need to promote gender inclusivity, review some of their policies, and provide the much-needed support, growth and mentorship for women to shine out in the face of barriers, and benefit company growth itself.

It's quite well-known that women have certain natural traits that are beneficial to companies they work for. Some of these include: being good time managers, multi-taskers, being empathetic, thoughtful, supportive, loyal, consensus building, and compassionate.

These are the top qualities that any leader should possess.

In today's world, women face many barriers at every step of their career. Apart from the consistent pressures at home, there are social as well as work place challenges to be dealt with.

On a personal front, there is pressure which comes from guilt: they are afraid to take time off from family for work, there is peer pressure from other housewives to be a mother and stay at home, and sometimes there is the pressure to quit a job from family members itself.

There are also other organisational barriers, which include unfriendly policies and practices, unrealistic expectations from the management and colleagues, and competition at the workplace, which forces them to make a choice between family and career.

More often than not, these barriers tend to affect women's confidence as employees, and they remain in a continuous struggle to balance their personal and professional life. Many women tend to give up their careers when it comes to having to make a hard choice between these two aspects of their life.

Organisations need to understand the value that women bring to the table, and implement possible measures to support them and help them grow. Gender inclusivity should be promoted through different ways.

One of the first steps that organisations should take is to educate other managers about the importance of the same.

Organisations must review their policies to see where they can be altered in order to support more female employees, and help reduce attrition. Facilities must be reviewed in order to ensure that they women with special needs can be catered to -- pregnant women, and nursing mothers, for instance.

Another important opportunity could be to promote forums where women can sound their ideas and concerns as employees to the management, get tips from other senior female leaders in the organisation, and even provide mentorship on some of the challenges that they face.