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Driving Diversity all Across
The journey of gender inclusion started with Diversity 1.0, an IBM copyright that was initiated as early as the mid-twentieth century which was triggered by an equal opportunity legislature and compliance. The objective then was to encourage diversity and focus on removing the barriers for women to join the workforce. Diversity 2.0 has eight constituents, which are work groups or global task forces led by global leaders. The objective here was to encourage resource growth and make recommendations to the management on how it can create the environment to enable this. These global task forces introduced various key initiatives, which have become practices in the IBM construct, such as the "Diversity Resource Groups" and flexible work options. Diversity 3.0 aims to recognize and mirror the market place. The diversity aspect has extended beyond gender to include specially-enabled people, diverse generations, etc. The objective is to create an environment that will enable women to have a career and includes the required policies to enable women to grow in their career as they move through different life stages.
The "India Women Leadership Council" (tied to IBM's India Leadership Team’) was started by Kalpana M. back in 2005. It is an India based body that has representation from every business unit, includes women from middle to senior levels who are hand-picked business leaders and role models having gone through the journey. Today, the agenda is to build women in leadership positions and development of the executive pipeline across technical, business and sales leadership roles. The Council, compelling integration through HR efforts and the Diversity Program Manager, together creates the ecosystem for women at IBM.
At the entry level which has majority of the young women employees, policies aim to provide a safe workplace. The counseling program called "Sakhi/friend", is a "phone-a-friend" initiative for women to discuss any concern. At the next level, each business unit has a formally appointment "Gender Ambassador"; to drive the gender inclusion agenda. Further, the global policy of work-life balance propagates flexible work opportunity including in-house care facilities, to deliver the ecosystem for women to work, develop and grow.
Anupama S. Ambe is the Delivery Executive - Americas Group, Chairperson - India Women Leadership Council, Delivery Centre, India, GTS Services Delivery - IBM
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