For those out there who feel that the Indian workplace is now really doing well in terms of gender equality, here are some figures that are nothing short of a revelation. A majority of working women, 80 per cent to be precise, feel their male colleagues are insensitive at the workplace and fail to really understand women-related health issues; that they even begrudge them their maternity leave. Only a mere 19 per cent say men do not lack sensitivity. This is definitely a cause of concern, more so because 65 per cent women professionals feel that they are judged by their male co-workers, who tend to have stereotypical ideas about gender and feminity.
A report by Emcure Pharmaceuticals, discloses that women form only 19.9 per cent of the workforce, and women do feel their male colleagues lack the required sensitivity when it comes to women’s health issues and also end up judging them.
A significant 63 per cent women feel that their male colleagues tend to hold maternity leaves against them; that men feel women get to enjoy paid maternity leave while they are left to cover up for them and do their work. Surprisingly, it is not just the younger lot – 65 per cent in the age bracket of 25 to 40 years — but also the older lot —61 per cent in the 41-55 age bracket— that share this view.
Fifty-nine per cent of the respondents (62 per cent of the younger lot and 55 per cent of the older lot) feel that male colleagues tend to think that women use health excuses to shirk work.
A good 52 per cent women professionals admit that men think women’s careers will come to an end when they get married. While 56 per cent of those under 41 believe so, only 47 per cent of those between 41 and 55 think so.
Even when it comes to handling pressure, men feel that the women in their office are incapable. About 49 per cent of the respondents (54 per cent of the younger lot and 42 per cent of the older lot) feel that men expect women to buckle under pressure.
About 47 per cent women say that men tend to associate their bad mood with their period. Male colleagues, according to 33 per cent women professionals, assume that once women get married, they tend to lose focus and underperform. Here, 43 per cent of the younger lot and 22 per cent of the older lot agree that this kind of stereotypical view does exist amongst men.
However, the good news is that 75 per cent women feel that their employers have taken steps to help them tackle their health issues. An encouraging 66 per cent women say their companies have allowed them flexi working hours, while 54 per cent admit to having been given special leaves. About 54 per cent women also admit that they have been offered educational sessions or workshops on health issues and 53 per cent say their companies have dedicated counsellors to help them out. About 32 per cent have attended one-day workshops on Women’s Day.
Clearly, there is still a long way to go before women can truly feel they are treated at par with the men at work.