Inclusion – What does the corporate majority think?

It is 2020! Even amidst the COVID pandemic induced VUCA, as futuristic organizations we have to strive towards a more gender inclusive future. Towards this, while it is important that Voices of Women are heard, it is equally important to understand what the current corporate majority (Men’s) perspective on gender diversity is, what their apprehensions are on managing and leveraging a gender diverse workforce and how they would want to contribute towards having more women at the workplace.

The goal that most organisations pursue is that of performing better. Research has time and again established that organizational culture is a clear driver of business performance. Hence to pursue the goal of better performance systematically and strategically, it is important that organizations focus on culture building, specifically from an inclusion stand-point.

This International Women’s Day, Avtar had conducted a nation-wide exclusive survey of male managers and their viewpoints on diversity. 1067 managers from across industries and vertical took part in the study. What this research has helped reveal are the perceptions (status quo) of the current corporate majority – men on increasing the number of women at their workplaces. Study results show that male managers in India Inc. are receptive of gender diversity as a concept but to get on to the field and implement organizational strategy, they need to empowered through sensitization and awareness. There are apprehensions that male managers have, specifically in the context of gender diversity and its impact on business performance. Presenting below a few highlights:

  • 34% of managers agree to the proposition that having more women can help companies combat VUCA and be successful.
  • 49% of managers opined that managing teams with women comes with its own set of challenges and does not always deliver results.
  • 78% of managers believe that gender inclusion can help solve other organizational challenges. This points to the fact that managers believe that challenges, which could be business in nature, can be managed better when companies include women and have more inclusive work environments.
  • the dominant manager belief is that inclusion precedes diversity and is critical to apportion women’s workforce participation to business success – 86% managers felt so.
  • 55% managers prioritise performance over pursuing gender diversity. This could also be
  • because of a unidimensional approach to diversity that many organisations follow, by only having diversity targets but not actually empowering managers to understand the business case.

To move the needle and help men become allies to gender inclusion, it is pertinent organizations run initiatives to encourage male allyship. Such programs will not only involve sharing of best practices from organizations who have cracked the code but also help men understand why becoming allies is critical to their path to leadership, critical for their organizational growths. And if organizations can shine the spot-light on male leaders who have relentlessly championed the cause of gender inclusion and how their journeys to success helped their companies become more inclusive, it will help deepen the intent. With more men across levels becoming gender diversity ambassadors and role-models, the stage would be set for an organization to move further up the curve of D&I maturity and achieve inclusive growth.

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