Fight for equal pay and opportunity continues among genders across the globe, however, India’s working women battle strongest gender bias across APAC, claims LinkedIn’s Opportunity Index 2021 report. More women in India have experienced the impact of gender on career development when compared to the APAC region. In India, more than 4 in 5 working women (85%) claim to have missed out on a raise, promotion, or work offer because of their gender, compared to the regional average of 60%, as per the report.
Consumer sentiment from the report shows that more than 7 in 10 working women (71%) and working mothers (77%) feel that managing familial responsibilities often comes in their way of career development. In fact, about two-thirds of working women (63%) and working mothers (69%) said they have faced discrimination at work because of familial and household responsibilities, as per the report.
In India, the top three job opportunities sought by both men and women are job security, a job that they love, and good work-life balance. Despite having similar goals, more women (63%) think a person’s gender is important to get ahead in life, when compared to men (54%).
The LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2021 highlights the difference in perception of available opportunities in the market for men and women in India. While 37% of India’s working women say they get fewer opportunities than men, only 25% of men agree with this. This disparity in perception is also seen in conversations about equal pay, as more women (37%) say they get less pay than men, while only 21% men share this sentiment.
Impact of pandemic on women in workforce
Women have further been disproportionately impacted amid Covid-19, and the expectations to juggle home and work life have wreaked havoc in their lives. As a result of the barriers faced by women at work, more than 1 in 2 women and working mothers in India expect organizations to offer reduced or part-time schedules (56%) and robust maternity leaves and policies (55%) to make the transition smoother, according to the report.
Telecommuting or Work-From-Home has also been appreciated by women across the workforce in India during the pandemic, and it is seen as the top-ranking demand for women in the workforce today, along with other flexibility programs.
“Gender inequality at work and added domestic responsibilities amid the pandemic have collectively made women’s jobs more vulnerable at this time. As COVID-19 continues to widen these gaps, this year’s LinkedIn Opportunity Index report suggests that it is the need of the hour for organisations to reimagine their diversity practices and offer greater flexibility to caregivers, in order to increase female participation in the workforce. Reduced and flexible schedules, more sabbaticals, and new opportunities to upskill and learn are critical offerings that can help organizations attract, hire, and retain more female talent,” says Ruchee Anand, Director, Talent and Learning Solutions, India at LinkedIn.
The report shows that even though 66% of people in India feel that gender equality has improved compared to their parents’ age, India’s working women still contend the strongest gender bias across Asia Pacific countries. When asked about their reasons for being unhappy with opportunities to advance in their careers, 1 in 5 (22%) working women in India said their companies exhibit a ‘favourable bias’ towards men at work, when compared to the regional average of 16%.