Gender Issues – Proposing new Paradigms
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The advent of the 20th century heralds the entry of women into the professional world. Organizations have already initiated the transition to a multi-gender workplace environment through the formation of appropriate policies. However, the fact that gender issues do exist in organizations is a reality. Gary N. Powell and Laura M. Graves (2003), mention that people have always had strong beliefs of fundamental differences in the competencies and capabilities of men and women. They argue that such biases are a universal phenomenon, and are also manifest in research and get propagated through media. Hence it is but obvious that such biases have created a major impact on individuals within organizations. A healthy work environment is a pre-requisite for employee satisfaction and thereby for high productivity. Add to it the rapid growth of the economy and the increasing number of women employees across sectors. Creation of professional work environment, encompassing both gender equality and equity is today the mantra followed by organizations. Interestingly research proves (Carlson, Kacmar, Whitten 2006)) that many of the gender issues exist primarily in our perceptions. Possibly the society has perceptions of the roles and expected behaviour of men and women in organizations and society. While on one side we have perceptions, on the other there are also real gender issues like sexual harassment, which organizations have either already addressed or are in the process of addressing through their gender policies. We believe that any policy formation in the context of gender issues should necessarily encompass the salient points of perceptions and different perspectives. Our study is an attempt to identify the various gender issues faced by both women and men in organizations. We have tried and identified issues existing in reality, in perceptions of individuals and also those arising due to differences in perspectives. Through interaction with employees of various organizations, we try to capture employee perceptions In the process of collating perceptions, as specified by men and women, we identified various gender related problems faced by employees within organizations. In our paper we study existing policies to learn how gender related issues are handled in different organizations and if policies don’t exist then make recommendations to make the environment a gender friendly. The major drive of this study is to increase awareness of the gender issues amongst various organizations, to seek support from the employees to handle issues more effectively, and to suggest possible policy changes to enhance gender equity and equality in organizations. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first of its kind in India, which keeps the concept of perceptions and perspectives in context while identifying issues both for men and women in organizations.
- Working Papers