Are Business Schools Helping To Reduce Gender Inequality In The Workplace?

Once the ratio between male and female students is balanced then B Schools can certainly help more women access the leadership roles that an MBA opens up.

Some common inequalities that are present in some workplace are the gender-based imbalances and gender-based treatment given to individuals. This makes men move up to higher-paid positions quickly when compared to women. Workplace gender equality is possible when people (men and women) are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender. Organisations must provide equal pay for work of equal or comparable value and this must not be based on caste, creed, religion, race or gender. Removal of barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce can ensure reduce gender inequality in the workplace. Can B Schools (Business Schools) help in this endeavour? Are Indian B Schools helping to reduce gender inequality in the workplace? Are some questions which are worth pondering.  

It's no secret that MBA programs in India are yet to achieve total gender equality. Data shows that in India, women are still in the minority at business school. They account for only 30% to 35% of the total strength. But, there is no doubt for the fact that this percentage has been moving up and things are gradually improving. Once the ratio between male and female students is balanced then B Schools can certainly help more women access the leadership roles that an MBA opens up.

The focus of organisations 

Organisations want to hire graduates who know how to work in a diverse and inclusive environment. Having a balanced classroom does more than help women advance their careers, and it also promotes a productive learning environment for everyone and could help MBAs land jobs when they graduate. This is making B schools to focus and create a balanced classroom which can help in giving women equal opportunity 

Scholarship for female students 

Some Indian B Schools have taken a special interest in promoting gender equality. B Schools are creating scholarships specifically to female students both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. For example, Jayatee Deshmukh Scholarship is one such scholarship initiated by Symbiosis International (Deemed University) which is given to meritorious female students. Such merit-based scholarships support students pursuing the full-time MBA program and support gender parity. 

Portraying by example 

There are some Indian Universities and B Schools which are showcasing gender equality by practice. For example, 75% of the leadership at Symbiosis team is women and of the 13 B Schools which are under the faculty of management, 50% of the leadership is female. This is not easy, especially when meritocracy is the fundamental philosophy for recruitment. 

Pay Parity clause of B Schools 

Several Indian B Schools ensure that organisations who visit the campus for recruitment have a pay parity clause and do not differentiate the pay based on gender. Such norms laid by B Schools helps to reduce gender inequality in the workplace.  

Admissions process –  a prime factor 

The stark division in common perception between the masculine and the feminine presupposes men display ‘manly’ behaviour, women display ‘womanly’ behaviour and to do anything else is not only a violation of social norms but also somehow unnatural. But such narrow definitions are mere stereotypes. Several B Schools have taken special care to ensure that candidates are selected based on merit and the ‘gender bias’ does not have any influence in selection. There are a few B Schools which also have seats reserved for female students so that they can help in reducing gender inequality in the classroom.  

Gender disparity in the workplace is not only a moral and social issue; it's also a critical economic challenge of the future. While the reasoning behind the disparity is tied up in several complicated political, cultural, and economic factors, it's vital every woman has the opportunity to make it to the very top of whatever profession she chooses. B Schools are taking steps to help reduce gender inequality in the workplace, but it is still a long way to go! 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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