Article: Balancing the scales: Gender equality in NBFCs


Balancing the scales: Gender equality in NBFCs

Integrating people-centric aspects, such as gender ratio and diversity profiles, into business reviews prioritises the needs of underrepresented groups within organisational culture.
Balancing the scales: Gender equality in NBFCs

IMF research indicates that closing gender gaps at workplaces can stimulate growth, strengthen macroeconomics, usher in financial stability, and reduce income inequality for all. While Indian NBFCs have long voiced themselves as being forerunners in championing gender parity, there is much needed to be bridged and facilitated for the needs of women employees.

NBFCs and Fintechs have carved out a niche space for themselves as alternative financial lenders to banks and have succeeded in offering a competitive and alternative business operative for their customers. However, they are far from making progressive strides for compelling ‘Employee Value Proposition’ for the women workforce. Much is left desired to bring in diversity, inclusivity, and real-life impact in the day-to-day lives of working women. Some significant gaps are work-life balance, flexibility, and poor representation of female leaders in mid-to-top management.

An action-oriented road map would help narrow the gaping void in empowering the women workforce and moving them closer on the gender equality scale.

Making diversity a part of company's vision/mission

This entails embedding the values of inclusivity and representation within the core objectives of an organization. Unless it sits on the ExCom tables as an agenda, it will stay in investor presentations and remain lip service. This must be led by the CXOs with granular goals crafted, monitored, and rewarded throughout the year. 

Governance that goes beyond only business numbers

While business reviews traditionally focus on driving numerical outcomes, it's crucial to recognise that they must also rigorously assess critical people-centric aspects such as gender ratio and diversity profiles throughout all organisational levels. Integrating people reviews as a fundamental component ensures that the needs of women and other underrepresented groups are not just acknowledged but prioritised within the organisational culture. Business reviews should quintessentially integrate reviews of gender-relative ratios e.g. attrition, employee engagement score, promotion %, etc.

Improved representation of female leaders

Nothing succeeds in attracting and retaining female employees than having a representation of female leaders nurtured and grown across the pyramid. So, any organisation that is serious about making a change needs to watch certain numbers very closely, for example, the percentage of females at the entry-level, women promotions Y-o-Y, women % consistency across all levels of the organisational pyramid, mid-career drop-out ratios, etc. In other words, the best way to breed a culture of inclusivity is to ensure that the top layers of the organisation have significant women representation so that there are enough role models available to women at mid and lower levels. 

Enabling women at critical transition points for higher retention

Women navigating career and personal life transitions like marriage, childbirth, and menopause need robust support. Initiatives like mentorship, bias training, mid-career guidance, and support groups can equip them effectively.

Institutionalising men as ‘allies’ 

True inclusivity involves engaging men in efforts to achieve gender equality. Education, mentorship programs, and open communication can help enlist them as allies and combat unconscious biases. Organisations can drive change by actively involving men in initiatives promoting gender equality.

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Topics: Diversity, Leadership, #Work Culture, #IndustryInsights

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