CLIMBING THE CORPORATE LADDER
Staying ahead in the rat race is one tough nut to crack, especially so for women. However, some never-say-die spirits like me try to keep up a good run, falling at times on the track, sometimes moving out of the track limit and sometimes just jogging past others to keep pace. We are in the 21st Century, but still only 4 out of 10 women are working full time, running a business or trying hands at entrepreneurship. We are just a minority in that sense.
Having started my career a decade back from a BPO, I have been learning the theories of how the corporate world behaves with women. Gender bias was present in every facet of work, apart from being a newcomer who had just started working in a fiercely competitive world, where male colleagues are always trying to take advantage either work wise by trying to prove themselves superior or manipulating the novice in me. My reporting manager was a woman, who tried to make us feel as comfortable as possible, trying to encourage us to improving our customer satisfaction scores. However, it was not humanely possible for her to keep an eye on each and every staff on the floor. In spite of getting good customer feedback, passing audits on our voice throw and temperament tests on calls, when the time came for a pay hike, the male staffs used to get a better percentage than female staffs. It had a lot to do with the camaraderie the male staffs used to share with bosses, sometimes over coffee breaks and cigarette smoking sessions, which we were not a part of. And anyways the general notion says that women are not bread winners and that we work to feel independent and sponsor our clothes, lipsticks and shoes. Hence, at the time of appraisals not much thought went into it.
Even after spending a decade in the corporate world, the same notion persists, now in a different company, in a different profile, having become the HR of a company has not made anything better. Now, I am the culprit who sees the pay disparity take effect, as the management says so. You must have noticed, that most HRs are females. That’s because of our nature, submissive non-authoritative, incapable of being Finance heads or CEOs, is what the world thinks till date. So, women in strict decision making positions are a niche segment. Women are still considered as child-bearers and care-givers even after such movies like ‘Ki and Kaa’, which portrayed role reversals. There are women in my previous companies who complained about the same gender bias, all the good work having direct implication on profits used to be passed on to our male colleagues and support services were given to women. It was as if, women are incapable of handling roles related to profitability of the company. When in fact, HR as a management function also has a direct implication on employee morale, engagement, employees being the human asset of the company and one of the most unpredictable resources can make or break a company. Customer service being another function always goes to women because of their ability to mould customers into buying the companies services. Roles are delimited according to gender, in every organization, barring a few, who are trying to break the mould. Even, during interviews, I have seen that decisions on a role, are made based on the amount of budget a company has in mind and based on whether the candidate is a woman or man.
The debate is an on going one and not to be solved so early, unless and until there is a change in the thought process of our human race, to understand that both genders are equally capable of handling all roles, through brain and not based on anatomy. For, now I will have to trudge on like my other female counterparts up the ladder and eventually see which floor I land.
The author, Abhrajita Mondal is primarily into HR & Training and is also a beauty salon entrepreneur. She freelances as a Make Up Artist. An avid animal lover, nature lover and reader Abhrajita writes to express herself and the world in general!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wonder Women World.