The new equal

Outlook Business-Great Place to Work® India bring you the second annual listing of the Best Workplaces for Women in the country

It seems like a fabulous time to be a working woman, going by Best Workplaces for Women, a listing by Outlook Business-Great Place to Work® India. The number of companies wooing women with tailor-made policies — from work-from-home, flexible hours and extended leave to uninterrupted career progression, special leadership training and mentoring — is growing at a heartening pace. Women can have it all and on a platter.

For the queens of multi-tasking, this means jackpot. And for companies, these policies will go a long way in correcting the worsening gender gap at the workplace, bringing in greater diversity and enhancing productivity. Even among the top 75 companies on our list, women are only 25% of the workforce. So, we still have a fairly long way to go.

India Inc seems to be headed in the right direction, but there is one aspect that should give us all pause. Policies that allow women greater family time fit snugly into the prevailing reality, in which women are assigned a larger share of social and domestic responsibilities. Working women usually run breathlessly between office and school projects; demanding managers and nagging guests. They end up with a disproportionate load, pushing every limit.

A happier outcome would be companies making policies that sensitise men and providing them the same flexibility they offer women, so that they can share family responsibilities equally. Women, on their part, really need to shed the cape of a superhero trying to do everything and more.

These are conversations that can raise the pulse of most readers, and we say, draw your rapier! But, we do have our regular features too and they, like the one on bank mergers, are equally exciting. Are PSB mergers reformist, an empty boast or an albatross? The general consensus is not cheery; in fact, analysts say that the consolidation might worsen the economic slowdown. Banks, already weighed down by bad loans, will need to tackle administrative bottlenecks as they effect the integration.

Change, at home or on the trading floor, can be welcome or hastily made. Thankfully, all make for entertaining stories.