Union Minister for Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley unveiled the ‘Gender Parity Index, A Tool Kit to Evaluate Gender Diversity & Empowerment of Women in the Formal Sector in India’ at the 33rd Annual Session of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) yesterday in the presence of a large gathering of FLO members in New Delhi.
Ms Vinita Bimbhet, President, FLO said, “Gender equality is intrinsically linked to sustainable development and is vital to the realisation of human rights for all. The overall objective of gender equality is a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life”.
“FLO Gender Parity Index is a ﬁrst of its kind in India. It measures the extent of gender parity in the formal sector, it is broad and holistic and addresses gender parity at a micro level, in the formal sector: the building blocks of an organised society. It is designed to encourage change in the way organisations to think and work and in the process provide women with unprecedented opportunities, promote economic empowerment and provide tools to tackle new challenges”, Ms Bimbhet added.
Indian Constitution grants all citizens “EQUALITY of status and of opportunity.” India has also acceded to or ratiﬁed several international conventions related to various aspects of gender equality. However, social and economic development indicators show that we are far from attaining gender parity.
Research and case studies have made a business case for gender parity at the workplace which improves chances of business success. However, over and above such beneﬁts, gender justice is a morally desirable social goal. In India though, there is still some distance to be covered considering the World Bank data which indicates declining female labour force participation rates over the past three decades, from 35% in 1990 to 27% in 2014.
FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) has developed this ﬁrst of its kind index to measure the extent of gender parity in the formal sector. It is a broad and holistic index which will assess where an organisation stands vis-à-vis other equivalent or comparable formal sector organisations. At the same time, it presents a step-by-step guide to achieving higher levels of gender parity in different dimensions. It is designed to encourage change in the way organisations to think and work and in the process provide women fresh opportunities, promote economic empowerment and provide them with tools to tackle new challenges.
To achieve parity, men and women must have access to the same resources and the same opportunities, so that they can earn the same rewards and attain the same heights while enjoying the same levels of physical and ﬁnancial security. This is not only just and equitable, it has its economic beneﬁts which have been described earlier.
By setting the right tone at the top, an organisation can open several doors for women, enabling them to work side-by-side with men. In the process, the organisation will not only break that ever elusive glass ceiling but will, in turn, have access to a wider talent pool.