by Nikhil Prasad Ojha
Originally published: June 27, 2016
Shrinking the gender gap in jobs should be a priority for India as it has the potential to expand the GDP by 27%
At first glance, the employment gender gap in India appears to have improved over the past 25 years. Enter any large office complex in Gurgaon, Mumbai or Bengaluru, and one sees an encouraging representation of women, which suggests that positive change is indeed taking place in the Indian workplace. One wonders what this scene was like 25 years ago.
Achla Sawhney, who spent 18 years in banking, straddling the pre- and post-liberalization years, provides that perspective. “I never felt any discrimination whatsoever, but yes, the workplace dynamics then—the wining and dining, the networking—were harder for women to balance along with household responsibilities,” she says. Sawhney, who worked as a senior executive in a nationalized bank as well as in a couple of large multi-national banks, adds: “Amongst forex traders in the industry, there were all of two women during most of my tenure. So, there were far fewer women, and rarely was the matter discussed as an organizational priority. Today, there is more ambition and confidence amongst women, perhaps also helped by greater participation of men in household responsibilities, as well as greater organizational focus.”