An exclusive survey of 1,067 male managers of India Inc reveals regressive attitudes towards gender inclusion are deeply entrenched

Saumya Bhattacharya

Corporate India’s gender diversity agenda largely remains an empty promise and an unfinished task as its managers are neither sensitised nor equipped to drive it. Male managers do not look at gender diversity as a business case and organisations are not doing enough to push them, reveals a survey of 1,067 managers across different companies and sectors carried out by diversity and inclusion consulting firm Avtar.

Findings of the survey — Voices of Men: Gender Inclusion in Corporate India from the Majority’s Perspective — shared exclusively with ET Magazine show that eight out of 10 managers believe that providing women with additional support like flexible working can be done only if they are high performers while half of them say it is better that women take a career break when work-life integration becomes challenging.

In the decade between 2010 and 2020, India has witnessed the emergence of gender diversity & inclusion of women as a prominent leadership imperative, or so it seemed.

“As the implementation of this people strategy cascades down the hierarchy, it appears to lose intent, as mid-level managers do not share the same view as their bosses. While the social justice angle might inspire some to accept the relevance of diversity & inclusion, the majority view it as yet another burden to be shouldered,” says Avtar founder Saundarya Rajesh.

Organisations set ambitious gender ratio targets that focus on the “diversity” part of the equation, but there is little real progress, since the “inclusion” part is faltering.

“Managers who act as the bridge between the organisation and employees in translating the diversity and thought into reality are the most crucial elements of the mix. It is in their buy-in, their intentionality that the virtuous cycle of diversity-productivitydiscretionary effort-talent magnet gets kickstarted,” says Rajesh.

courtesy ET