The issue of male and female inequality has been a long standing one. All the issues that concern this inequality come under the umbrella term of feminism and are dealt under the feminist movements. We often feel that the most important problems that need to be acted upon quickly are within the domestic domain. However, with progress and awareness spreading within the society as families have become more accepting towards women, for many of us the problems have shifted to professional arenas. It is common knowledge amongst everyone who has aligned themselves with the feminist movement that the corporate big shots are still biased when it comes to giving jobs to women. Oft times we hear of instances where women have been denied jobs or top positions purely because of their gender. This problem isn’t exclusively Indian but has become a major cause of concern globally. In scenarios such as that, Corporations that promote gender equality and focus on the abilities of employees rather than their differences have become beacons of hope. One such role model is one of India’s oldest and biggest corporations, the TATA Group.
Professional inequalities do not initiate when women begin looking for jobs, they find root within our educational institutes itself. Although we might feel like things have turned around now, and to some extent they have, yet, engineering is still believed to be a man’s territory and women are expected to dream of becoming doctors, which can be clearly seen in whichever school you enter. This perception that begins at our homes finds its way into the educational institutes. Mine was an Army Public School and yet the Non-medical section had only 4 girls amongst a strength of almost 50, and the medical section had an almost opposite ratio. I have often come across teachers, not only from my own school but others as well, who claim that boys could grasp subjects like physics and chemistry better than girls did. This perception continues to haunt women till college, where men are given more preference when in labs or even during classes for it is accepted without fail that women are bound to be weaker than men in subjects of importance. This was simply an example of one subject, however, this inequality finds its way in every stream you enter. When temples of knowledge, entrusted with imparting education and improving the generation of tomorrow discriminate on such a large scale, it is no wonder these inequalities find their way into corporations for they are products of such a system after all.
Even when the government steps in and creates provisions to end such discriminations, it is received by the chauvinists as a way to make women superior to men when they don’t deserve it. The theme of feminism is to ensure equality, which means getting what you deserve. While our biology might differ, men and women have been gifted with an equal amount of brain that ensures that the latter is as capable as the former in all aspects, which is something that many fail to acknowledge. A woman who is determined and has been provided equal opportunities can accomplish everything that men can, another thing that corporations fail to accept. For anyone who has followed the 2016 US Presidential elections, the most recurring argument against the current President Trump was the discrimination against appointing women both in his corporation and within his campaigning team. Many MNCs refuse to recruit women or promote them because of the privileges that they are entitled to or because of their bias towards the gender. However only corporations that know that progress can be made only by incorporating talent, no matter what package it comes in, can be sure to succeed and such is the policy that TATA Motors follows.
Shivani Poddar, the Program Manager for the Cargo and Tractor Vehicles Division of the Jamshedpur Plant of TATA Motors, gives testament of this policy of the corporation. Being someone who was subjected to the discrimination of the society, and repeatedly told in her younger years, that she couldn’t become what she aspired to be, she found worthy acknowledgment of her talent at TATA Motors, the corporation that helped make her dream come true. The journey at TATA wasn’t easy for her, because like all the other employees she had to prove herself for the excellent engineer that she was, however, her meritorious labor was rewarded with equally worthy rewards. She transcended the borders between jobs traditionally held by men, and those expected to be done by women at the workplace as no such distinction was present at TATA Motors. Shivani is one of the many women in the organization who has been recognized and rewarded for their exceptional work in their respective fields.
Very few corporations around the globe recognize that differences that arise between men and women due to the difference in their biology shouldn’t be an obstacle in the latter’s career. TATA Group’s policies ensure that women don’t drop out of their careers because of the demands of their personal life. Gender, Caste, Race, Religion, and other factors that are major factors in which employees have discriminated against play no role at TATA Group, for it is the progress that an employee contributes towards the organization that matters here above all else. Opportunities come your way not because of your gender, but on the grounds of your merit, dedication, skill, and capability.
Recognition at TATA Motors isn’t limited to rewards but extends to integrating one’s ideas in the working of the organization. As Shivani adds, “As I grew in the organization, I got several opportunities to share my views with the management and train people across levels. That is real recognition for me and such moments make me proud of being an engineer.” I once came across a dialogue from the hit TV Series ‘House MD’ where one of the side characters tells the protagonist that a woman can either choose to earn respect or love in her life. This thought has had a major impact on my life, however when you are a part of an organisation that gives you the respect that you deserve and understands the tasks that you have to juggle being a mother, a sister, a daughter, or anyone else, you get an opportunity to receive love as well.
With Inputs from TATA Motors