Article: Steps to becoming a multi-gender organization

Life @ Work

Steps to becoming a multi-gender organization

Get insights on how to make workplaces more gender inclusive.
Steps to becoming a multi-gender organization

The grumpiness of waking up on a Saturday morning and fighting through the traffic was soothed by the beautiful decor of the venue arranged by Nirvana Mindz. As the name suggests, Nirvana Mindz is a collaboration of expert minds that assist organizations, institutions, and individuals defining or reinventing their growth agenda.

The event started with a warm welcome by the founder of Nirvana Mindz, Divya Srivastava. A certified OD practitioner (TISS,CSOL), Mumbai and an MBA in HR from SIBM, Pune with a first class degree in Sociology from Delhi University. She set up 'Nirvana Mindz'  with the focus to tap the emerging Indian market that’s witnessing a huge trend of startups, innovative business ventures and large organizations’ at the crux of reinventing themselves to becoming global corporations. 

While Nirvana Mindz’ focuses on harnessing potential and aligning it with the latest HR, social and economic trends, Divya came up with the concept Cafe Nirvana Conversations. A place that gathers people from different walks of life to discuss various issues and come-up with quick wins that can be implemented right away along with high-impact strategies that require building upon. 9th March 2019 witnessed the first Cafe Nirvana conversation with 10 people of different age, background, and profession who came together to brainstorm on the concept of Multi Gender Inclusivity in workplaces. 

Most of the discussions about Gender Inclusivity revolve around women but Cafe Nirvana broke from that mold and looked at the third gender as well.  Workforce doesn’t just comprise of men and women as socially and biologically defined through the years but now (post Article 377) includes a third gender, Transgender.  The idea of gender inclusivity is to encourage a culture which is not discriminative towards any gender; it is one which provides for gender equality and significant opportunities for human resource progression at workplaces.  

The discussion was broken into two parts, hiring & L&D. Both of these areas are crucial to bringing about a holistic change. Correcting any diversity problem, including a gender imbalance begins with an active commitment from leadership to be more inclusive. So here are some of the key insights from insightful discussions:  

Dilemmas in Creating multi-gender Inclusive Work Place In Indian Industry: 

Women who do end up having jobs and careers –quite often leave their jobs to prioritize domestic responsibilities due to lack of any support system (family, child or elderly support) 

Women are often victims of the glass ceiling phenomena especially in sectors which have a skewed sex ratio favoring men. 

Transgender isn’t perceived as a talent pool due to prevalent social stigma, lack of education, nonexistent roles for them or simply no thought was given to them as a labour force –forcing them into begging. 

Breaks for most women coincides with their childbearing age and hence a steep decline in their employment is noted resulting in a dismal representation of women at the management or board level.

Transgender and categories under the third gender are still not covered under labour laws neither is there any provision specifically for their welfare, healthcare, and employability under the Indian law.

Hiring managers may be biased towards the candidates based on gender 

Steps to becoming a multi-gender organization:  

Having a business strategy that’s bent towards gender inclusivity and will pave the way for a performance measurement system and a culture that will ensure heterogeneity while focusing on diverse segments and markets.

Providing mentoring to women who have low confidence after returning back from sabbaticals, pregnancy leaves etc to take on senior jobs. 

Focus on aspects beyond gender and qualifications. Organizations can run programs for different skillsets to encourage diversity in the workforce. 

Mapping of roles within an organization is an important step because lately it has been observed that roles that require taking strong decisions or connecting with customers, women are preferred. 

Building an environment that makes genders independent like having a childcare center internally or washrooms that are gender sensitive. 

While hiring processes need an approach of differentiation to build sensitivity, L&D should have similar programs for all. 

After these discussions, the session came to an end with a fun game of picturing yourself as an organization and drawing a sketch of how work environments should be gender inclusive along with coming up with a company motto using random words. The first ever Cafe Nirvana consisted of concepts and to build self-awareness and confidence to drive a change.  


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Topics: Life @ Work, Diversity

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