(GIST OF YOJANA) Gender Diversity in PSUs
Gender Diversity in PSUs
- The G-20 Anti-corruption Working Group has included for its 2019-2021 Action Plan, taking concrete actions to deepen its understanding of the linkages between gender and corruption.
- It is in this context the Central Vigilance Commission strongly feels that this gap needs to be narrowed by taking affirmative action.
Committee On Women Empowerment in PSUs:
- A committee was constituted in NTPC Ltd, (one of the Schedule ‘A’ Maharatna CPSEs:) wherein concrete recommendations were sought on increasing the intake of women in PSUs, Equal Employment Opportunity Policy for improving working conditions, and other parameters to bring about a conducive environment for effective functioning of women, work-life balance, sensitivity to their value as an employee, putting in place proper Grievance Redressal System, institutional support system and basic facilities, gender-sensitive administrative measures concerning transfer/posting/training/career management, etc.
Discussion on Committee's report
- In August 2017, Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE) (an apex body of 201 PSUs representing mainly Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) in India) in collaboration with the Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/RMP) of the International Labour Organization, conducted a study on Women in Leadership and Management in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in India.
- Its main findings were that the number of women applicants and/or recruits at the entry-level is skewed as compared to men. This gets reflected at a higher level i.e., if fewer women are applying and entering an organisation, the number of women to choose from at a higher level is likely to be lower.
- The committee constituted in NTPC to look into ‘Gender empowerment in PSUs’ met representatives from some other PSUs in an online Inter PSU melt to seek inputs from other similarly placed organisations. During this meeting, brainstorming on the subject was done and best practices were shared. The committee also collected statistical data on the number of women employees in these PSUs to ascertain the factual position, and analyse the existing demographic profile.
The committee gave its recommendations relating to Recruitment, Promotion, Training, Work and Performance, Gender sensitisation, and for specific Policy Interventions to bring about structural changes in the system:
a) The committee took cognizance of the low intake of women employees at various entry levels. The committee suggested the following ways to improve the numbers at the entry-level.
Short Term and Medium Term
- All selection may be purely based on test scores and interviews may be avoided.
- In case interviews are part of the selection procedure, a woman representative may invariably be a member of the selection committee.
- Pre-condition to obtain qualifying marks in the interview may be done away with.
- Adequate endeavours to hire more women in lateral induction, especially in service functions like HR, Finance, IT, Legal etc. might lead to improved women representation in PSUs.
- Efforts can be made to reach a critical level of 30% of Women the total employee strength by affirmative action.
- Upper age limit for women employees (to say 40 or 45 yrs) or have fixed-term induction to facilitate more women opting for a career may be considered, to enable women to join after completing their family and responsibility of taking care of small children.
B. Mentoring and Training
- Once recruited, the committee noted that specific framing interventions may be required for women employees, for capacity building in cases where women
employees go for long leave due to family compulsions:
Short Term, Medium Term
- In all training programs conducted by PSEs, a pro-rata per centage of women employees of that PSE may be nominated for equal opportunity.
- For women employees, specific training interventions may be taken up.
- Mentoring at induction level/mid-career level may be made compulsory in all organisations by seniors.
C. Gender sensitisation
- The committee took cognizance of the fact that adequate gender sensitisation exercises are lacking in many institutions. Statutory requirements of POSH Act are not followed in spirit. The committee has suggested the following ways to improve the situation —
- “Gender Sensitisation” may be included in induction and mid-career training as a compulsory module and steps may be taken to impart training on this subject to all employees.
- Even when there are no women employees in the organisation, steps may be taken to impart training on gender sensitisation to all employees including women external customers and outsourced workers.
- Internal Complaints Committee must be constituted in any place where there are more than 10 employees, irrespective of their gender. The jurisdiction of the Complaints Committee is not only for departmental women employees but also in any case reported on the premises of the office/ organisation. It is a statutory requirement as per POSH Act for employers to regularly conduct awareness programmes and gender sensitisation training of all employees.
- Ministries to appoint women in independent/regular board level positions as per the extant guidelines. It was decided that NTPC may induct 50 women trainees and also organise for facilitation of their work in night shift on a pilot basis to demonstrate as a Model Employer.
D. Specific Policy Interventions
- The committee noted that while on the job, women employees may require specific policy interventions to retain them for long periods, and re-assure them of the safety measures taken by the organisation for difficult shifts/ postings. The committee suggested that:
Short Term and Medium Term
- In view of the recent amendments in Occupational Health and Safety codes (OHSAS) allowing women employees to be deployed in night shift with their consent, adequate steps may be taken to meet the smooth transition by obtaining one-time consent of employees at the time of induction.
- Large-scale awareness generation programs may be undertaken to highlight the incentives and safety measures.
- Extension of basic hygiene facilities like toilets CCTVs, security guards, commutation of women employees, etc. as laid down in the OHSAS guidelines may be ensured.
- Efforts to be made to provide transfer postings of spouses within PSUs/ Govt at the same station to enable women employees to discharge their family obligations as well. If both spouses are working within the same PSU or any other CPSE, or with the Central or State government, efforts should be put in by the concerned department(s) to ensure that the spouses arc posted together.
- It promotion committees must have a woman member. If a suitable person is not available, she may be co-opted from another organisation/ Govt.
- The feasibility of relaxation in qualifying requirements for promotions of women employees to higher leadership roles may be explored.
The committee noted some general issues:
- Basic hygiene facilities like washrooms/restrooms at all work-places irrespective of the fact that women employees are posted at the location or not must be ensured. In fields areas, facilities for change rooms and toilets should be good.
- Steps may be taken to liaison with concerned Ministries to appoint women in independent/regular board level positions as per the extant guidelines.
- The findings of the committee reveal an immediate need to take affirmative action towards the goal of women empowerment. It has given clear recommendations many of which are already being implemented.
- It is also being ensured that a woman member is part of the promotion committee.
- It is expected that with these measures, definite progress towards creating more gender diversity is possible.