Gender Diversity in Organizations

North Indians’ on 26th October will be celebrating Karva Chauth. On this day, a wife keeps a fast for long life and good health of her husband. She wakes up before sunrise and has some food. She has to pass the whole day without food or water. The fast is broken by her husband giving her water and food after she sees the full moon. The festival is a way of demonstrating love and commitment in the marriage. Even working women follow this custom religiously, and though they come to office, they work while fasting.

Indian women are managing huge disparities in their roles as wife, mother and career women. The balancing act which they have to play leads to tremendous pressures. In this post, I am covering the scenario of women in India and world.

1.      Gender Gap Report 2010 by World Economic Forum

The Gender Gap Report released recently showed that women across countries are way behind in economic participation and political empowerment. In 2010, India is ranked 112. In the India Gender Gap Review Report of 2009, India’s ranking was 114 out of 134 countries measured. In the Indian sub-continent Sri Lanka, in both the years was amongst the top 20 countries in the report. Nepal, Maldives and Bangladesh rankings are better than India.

This is despite the fact that India holds 4th position in the world for the number of years a female leader has held political power as head of government. Even presently, Indian President and National Head of ruling party Congress are women.

The reports indicate that there is a strong correlation between gender equality and level of competitiveness on the country. In the corporate world, enough emphasis is not being placed on brining in gender equality. If 50% of Indian population is unable to contribute effectively, India can give up its dream of becoming a powerful nation.

Click here to read the Gender Gap Report 2010 and India Gender Gap Review Report 2009.

2.      A global snapshot on The World’s Women – landmark UN report shows some improvement in the status of women, but still a long way to go Via The SheEO Blog)

Those of you interested in statistics and data will love this new UN report released this week in New York on the state of play for women around the globe.  It’s not a quick read – at 284 pages!!!! – but includes a comprehensive review of that women and employment, health, education and all things in between, along with a fantastic array of graphs and tables that illustrate perfectly why we must remain focused on gender equality, all over the word.  A snapshot of some of the report highlights include data showing:

  • In today’s world there are 57 million more women than men – largely due to longer life expectancies of women: in all regions women live longer than men
  • Women still comprise 52% of the labour market and over the past two decades women have entered various traditionally male-dominated occupations, however they are still rarely employed in jobs with status, power and authority. On average only 17% of parliamentary seats around the world are held by women, and remain significantly underrepresented on corporate boards and executive roles: of the 500 largest corporations in the world only 13 have a female CEO.
  • There is a persistent pay gap everywhere and while the gender pay gap is closing slowing in some countries, it has remained unchanged in others.
  • There is progress “albeit slow and uneven” in the literary status of women and men however women still make up two-thirds of the world’s 774 million adult illiterates – a proportion which is unchanged over the past 2 decades.  The good news is that there have been positive global trends in primary enrollment particularly in developing nations.  Secondary enrollments while on the increase, continue to lag behind primary education.

Click here to read the full article

3.      Wake Up: We Need to Fix the Business Case for Women in Leadership (Via The Glass Hammer)

Fifteen percent. That’s how many women make up executive committees of American’s top companies. In Europe it’s only 7%. And in Asia – only 3%. That’s what 20-First revealed in this year’s WOMENOMICS 101 Survey.

And while these are all more than… say… zero percent, it’s nowhere near the 30% critical mass so many female leaders have called for, nor the company-specific gender balance approach advocated for by 20-First’s Founder and CEO Avivah Wittenberg-Cox.

Click here to read more.

Conclusion

Gentlemen, women across the world need your help and support. To make India a powerful nation, Indian men will need to do their extra bit to ensure Indian women walk shoulder to shoulder with them, and not behind them. I request Indian men on this Karva Chuath to support their wife in her wish to gain economic independence, political empowerment and a healthy life.

Common Wealth Games Fraud

The Delhi Common Wealth Games (CWG) investigations by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) are revealing irregularities and fraudulent practices adopted by the organization committee members. The estimated figure for misappropriation of funds is Rs 8000 crore (Rs 80,000 million). The investigations have recently commenced and the problems reported in the media are:

  • Purchase contracts signed with varying rates for the same product;
  • Prices over-inflated in some contracts;
  • Contracts given to relatives and friends;
  • Sub-standard products purchased;
  • Vendor payments made without confirming quality and delivery;
  • Payments made to non-existent vendors.

 Final investigation report is awaited; however preliminary findings indicate various wrongdoings. In my view, the organization committee members ignored the Prevention of Corruption Act and government procedures for contracts and tenders.  The results may show cases of fraudulent contracts and transactions, accepting bribes and contravention of procedures.

From the perspective of purchasing process, the following control issues are apparent:

  • Improper and inadequate vendor selection and evaluation procedures were followed.  
  • Conflict of interest was not disclosed while signing contracts with related parties.
  • Tenders were not given to bidders quoting lowest price of the product.
  • Vendors did not deliver the contracted quality and quantity as per the delivery schedule.
  • Vendors were not penalized for sub-standard quality or late delivery.
  • Vendor payments were not linked to delivery of products or completion of deliverables.
  • There was no segregation of duties. The same officials authorized the contract and approved payments.

 An independent evaluation of contracts by risk managers may have prevented misappropriation of funds. A periodic audit by government agencies could have highlighted these issues at an earlier stage.  As Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) group is required to conduct periodic audits of all government expenses, it is surprising that these issues were not discovered earlier.

This clearly indicates  mis-utilization of public funds. Indian public is expecting an explanation from the government. The government’s commitment to reducing corruption will be determined by the actions it takes on the findings mentioned in the final report.

Let us wait and watch.