By- Smriti Joinwal
It might sound a bit cliché but the truth remains the same. Even in the 21st century, women remain behind men by approximately Rs. 3.8 lakhs, over 12 years, in terms of salary (according to Catalyst Report). We always want to believe that women and men are at the same level in all respects. According to the report, high-potential women still begin their careers on an equal footing with men, with aspirations similar to the highest levels, including that of CEO. So what exactly went wrong? Despite the strong start, gender discrimination over the years resulted in women earning less and acquiring fewer opportunities than men which lead to fewer women in senior-level positions.
The report “High Potentials under high pressure in India’s technology sector” examined 713 high- potential women and men working full time in high-technology organisation.
Let’s consider its findings:
• Of these, 31% were women and 69% were men. The average age was 33. Globally, women MBA’s start at lower positions and pay ($4600 less than average) than their male counterparts.
• Women falter after a strong start as 79% of young women and men at the start of their careers aspire to senior level executive positions.
• 56% men and 36% women left their jobs for better pay packages and benefits.
• 54% women and 21% men reported taking leave.
All these facts force us to ponder over the problems faced by women in a male dominated society, which compel them to leave out on their dreams and hopes. We need to ask ourselves that why high-potential women become a victim of gender gap. Why do they calmly accept lower pay packages? What drives them to do so? Shachi Irde, ED Catalyst India WRC said that “Ensuring equity, equal access to developmental opportunities and flexible and inclusive environment for women is critical for retaining talent in India’s technology sector”. Lower packages for women just cut a sorry picture for the society as a whole. If we can’t respect talent and nurture it just because it is present in a woman, then India may never rise above the rest either in terms of GDP or moral values.
It is ironical that these reports represent an India which boasts of development and equality. This double standard is startling. It is a deluge that the people of India are totally unprepared for and in no time will wash away the false claims of the govt and private organisations that they have achieved equality. After reading this report, what I had not bargained for was the amount of disrespect and inequality that still prevails in our society. I feel that without the collective efforts of the society as a whole, there will never be a paradigm shift. I hope that my voice through this article reaches everyone concerned and doesn’t die an early death.