Women in workplaces should be treated with equality, solemn respect and dignity. The Rig Veda 6.61.2 suggests, “May we bow to women through our polite words and noble actions.”
As per Vedic Dharma, women are to be accorded with the highest respect and honor not only because they are child bearers and cohabitators but because they are also regarded as foremost in intellect and virtue. The Vedas placed great importance in the development of skills, knowledge, and advancement of women.
The Atharva Veda, particularly advocated female empowerment, claiming that women are an integral aspect of society. During those times, women enjoyed great freedom and self-reliance. They played an integral role in maintaining the economic status of the family, made major contributions to society and enjoyed equal privileges and statuses as men.
The Post Vedic times however, posed a new challenge for women, their degradation to a merely regenerative instrument; “a stay-at-home-and-work”, a housewife. Laws for women became stricter, society started to narrow down on them, and it eventually became a patriarchal culture where women were not allowed to leave the four walls of their house or do anything without the permission of the male figures in their house who were in authority.
And so, the decline of women’s right to equality went on for years until industrialization began – businesses started to boom, costs of living started to sky rocket and the need for more bread-earners in the family became imperative for survival. Not only that, with the growth in industries, more people were required to run operations. A new revolution for women began in the second half of the twentieth century where women ventured out of their homes, and worked to raise the financial status of the family.
While work enabled women to raise their economic and social status, it also posed a new set of problems – exploitation, discrimination and dismal working conditions. In the wake of these problems, new laws were put in place for the security and protection of women under the Constitution of India, Article 14, 15, 16, 23, 39, 43 and 46. The Government also undertook various legislative measures for protection of women workers namely the – The Factories Act, 1948, The Mines Act, 1952, The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, The Payment of Wages Act, 1936, The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 and so on.
Even though these laws have been in place, gender disparity continues to be a major problem and threat to women in workplaces in the form of gender bias and sexual harassment. For this purpose, Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act) also known as POSH law has been put in place in order to protect women at work from sexual harassment.
It is important that women are respected and protected at organizations. When women start working in corporates it not only adds to the financial being of the family, but also brings in more creative ideas, the opportunity to explore more talents, and diversification which is critical for driving sustainable growth in business and industries and the economy as a whole.
As per a research conducted by IGC Researchers, it is concluded that women trainees perform better than their male counterparts, female managers reduce work absenteeism and overall the efficiency of the team goes up. They also have a positive impact on their male counterparts. Statistics also show that when women are empowered in organizations, businesses overall benefit in the form of improved corporate performance, increased productivity and better profitability in the company. Not only that, a gender-inclusive stable organization is able to attract and retain more talent, increase innovation and meet consumer demands and finally attract more investments.
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