Monday, 2 June 2014

Women Empowerment: Moving Beyond Lip Service

Almost all progressive new age organisations and their leaders would publicly support higher participation from women in their workplace, some even boasting how women have occupied senior management positions in their company. 

Generally this boils down to a 3 month paid leave on maternity, additional security during late night drops, and a few "women groups/forums". Although all this is welcome and much needed, there still is a need to up the ante when it comes to actual Women Empowerment.

In my view ThoughtWorks has tried to change the game through the following initiatives and as we try to continuously improve and innovate I am sure there will be more such attempts in the future.

Target 50% women hires during campus placements - ThoughtWorks has set itself a target of fulfilling 50% of their annual campus hires with women. This is done without compromising quality and without ignoring an equally capable male candidate. How? By targeting women only colleges and holding focused recruitment drives.
There is no doubt that this is challenging and a tough ask from all involved, especially if you consider the dwindling number of women in software. But the intent (to enable 50% of the population) is there and the team has worked really hard to attain this goal.

In-office day care - A very significant number of women are forced to give up their careers to support and raise their children. Mostly this is due to lack of a support system (nuclear families), lack of good quality and reliable day care options, or the overwhelming feeling of guilt about leaving your child in their most vulnerable and cute phase. In my opinion it is this guilt which either comes from the family or is self-inflicted, that leads to most women choosing to stay at home.
In an attempt to enable its employees (men or women) and quell the guilt, ThoughtWorks Bangalore office offers in office day care facilities to employees. I'll let the expert let you know more about this (click the link).
Although other offices don't have a dedicated day care facility (as yet) they have always allowed parents to bring in their young ones along with a nanny if they are very young. The offices also have a small children room to help parents. Personally I am rooting for a day care facility to be set-up in my home office of Gurgaon as well, so that I can spend more time with my daughter (guilt free!). 

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