THE BLOG

Dear HR, You're A Big Reason Why Women Are Dropping Out Of The Indian Workforce

30/11/2016 12:18 PM IST | Updated 01/12/2016 3:49 PM IST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
sjenner13

Dear HR,

I take this opportunity to represent the woman workforce of my nation.

To say it statistically, I am taking this space to voice the concern of the 25% women who participate in the country's labour force. My problem is that the Indian economy, despite growing at a healthy average, seems unable to sustain the growth of women in the workforce—our participation has declined from over 35% to 25% between 2004 and 2011. Now the question to you is this: How do you, as the Human Resource Department, take this blow? I am sure you haven't spared it a single thought. Because you don't see yourself as playing a role in this scenario. But guess what? You do. You are also responsible for these declining numbers.

On one hand you give us maternity leaves as weapons and, on the other hand, you blithely snatch the war from us.

When the entire world today is hailing woman power and acknowledging the importance of our empowerment, you continue to let us remain at an unprivileged position. You say you have made sure all your employees equal, but then, to borrow an idea from George Orwell, some are more equal than others. The data says that for every 54.6 employed men, there are just 14.7 working women. Have you ever thought of pondering over it? No, right? Because your KRAs either do not encompass it or you spend your entire time working around policies which may win you awards as the "Most Women-Friendly Office of India."

First of all, you need to understand our worth and how to make our jobs worthwhile for us. I'm talking especially to you women who are working in HR—perhaps you know exactly what I'm talking about. It is your hypocritical policies that have made it tough for us to keep working, especially those of us who are about to be married, or married, or pregnant.

Let us go one by one.

To-be married

Assumptions: She is not going to continue with us for long. Will take lots of leaves from now on.

Result: Effect on appraisals and in turn increments and promotion.

Married

Assumptions: She's not going to last very long. She'll take lots of leaves and in some time will become pregnant and go on maternity leave.

Result: Effect on appraisals and in turn increments and promotion.

Pregnant

Assumptions: She'll go on maternity leave, take a sabbatical and never come back.

Result: Effect on appraisals and in turn increments and promotion.

Such a sad scenario, isn't it? I mean at the end of the day, we are humans. We all get married, either by choice or by fate. And because we are bestowed with the power of bearing life, we produce babies.

On one hand you give us maternity leaves as weapons and, on the other hand, you blithely snatch the war from us. We still fail to understand how taking leaves for marriage questions our loyalty with the company. If we have to move on, we anyway will. We don't need marriage for that. If you are so great for female employees, then why is there such a ruckus when we ask for transfers? If you truly believe in giving us a healthy work-life balance then please facilitate it without judging our capabilities, especially during appraisals, just because we asked for a transfer post marriage. And when we get pregnant, heaven falls. The most beautiful thing on earth is besmirched by your ineffectiveness. In public sectors and central government offices, two years of childcare leave is being given to women employees until her child turns 18. However, you don't count those two years when it comes to promotions? How come entitlements become barriers for the growth of women employees? Also, why can't a man take those two years of childcare leave?

Because of your hostility, we baulk at getting married or pregnant even if it's something we want. We feel that doing so will disempower us...

It's only because of your age-old nonsensical policies that we after a certain time period either leave our jobs or leave our family life. Even if we don't leave either of them, we have to expend so much energy in making calculations. To marry or to become pregnant, we look for dates or a time period that will allow us to somehow save our appraisals. Because of your hostility, we baulk at getting married or pregnant even if it's something we want. We feel that doing so will disempower us because we will ultimately have to leave our job and thus our earnings. Like men, we too want to grow in our career and life. We also want to reach that pinnacle without adjustments and compromises. By the way, why are "adjustments" and "compromises" only applied to women? Why do men not have to make them?

We seriously think it's time you re-examine how "women-friendly" your workplaces really are. It's time for you to address these concerns. Please do it. Please allow us to carry on working in offices that really do have a place for us.

Let's make "mutually beneficial" a truth and not a fallacy.

Yours truly

A sincere, hardworking woman employee

Best Moments For Women 2015

More On This Topic