Even in the 21st century, the status of women remains one of the most pressing problems in the Indian community. With less than a 50% literacy rate, women are comparatively overworked and underpaid. Women are paid only 60% of what men are paid for equal amount of work. This inequality contributes to making India one of the lowest ranked nations in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index.
Realizing the importance of women empowerment and education, various steps have been taken by both the government and the private sector to reduce the gender disparity. The former is trying to introduce women into legislation by passing a mandate to have at least 33% women in the Panchayati Raj System, the first basic governing body of India. The latter aims to give increased incentives to the female workforce. By providing women with friendly policies, today more than 25% of the private sector employees are women, a rapid increase within the past five years. According to the Catalyst Report in the IT/ITES sector, nearly 70% of the women employees feel that they have flexible office hours and their companies have strict sexual harassment policies. These changes have given women a lot of confidence, a huge step towards increasing women employees. Another huge step that has helped in retaining women employees is the policy of a paid maternity leave for at least 12 weeks. Since education and empowerment of women is a powerful tool for combat, female children are given cash incentives to encourage them to go to school. India has seen more advancement in social issues, which directly correlates to greater women representation and thus, allocation of more resources to education, health, and nutrition.
In a study, it was seen that companies with more women on their boards have grown rapidly than the ones that do not. However, less than 10% of Indian companies listed in the Bombay Stock Exchange 100 have women directors among the listed companies. Companies should grab this unique opportunity to take steps to include more women into the boards to bring a different dimension to the eco–system of the company. More than a quarter of women employees cite the lack of role model as a barrier for advancement. Thus, society should create role models for the betterment of the society. This also translates into the rise in the employment opportunities and socio–economic development. Considering the multiplier effect, by educating and empowering women, the societal empowerment levels are quite high when compared to the opposite ones. This provides opportunities not only for women but also for the private sector, which contribute significantly towards the development of India.