Factors like recruitment decisions being taken by men and companies fearing the prospect of maternity, mean women are recruited for jobs below their professional qualifications.
Only a third of Spanish and Latin American companies have more women than men on their payroll. Although more than half of all university graduates are women, less than 10 per cent of the seats on boards of directors are filled by women. This percentage drops to between one and two per cent when it comes to CEO positions at large companies. Consequently, decisions are made largely from a male point of view, squandering the valuable leadership input of women.
“Talento de Hombres y Mujeres,” a study by Mireia Las Heras, published by the International Center for Work and Family at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa at the University of Navarra in Spain in collaboration with RRHH 365, explores the causes of this gap and recommends how companies can improve their performance in this regard.
The study suggests that a man and a woman, even when equal professionally, are evaluated differently according to their gender, regardless of whether or not they have children. Often, when a woman is hired, her role is restricted to non-strategic areas or to support staff. Women routinely are relegated to positions below the level their professional qualifications would dictate.
Companies also fear the prospect of maternity, and women are excluded from informal contact networks, which are highly important for career development.
Recruitment processes are largely to blame for the glass ceiling, even in companies which, on paper, are committed to treating female applicants fairly. If even the human-resources department does not adhere to clearly established procedures, then what hope is there of objectivity in the recruitment process?
In recruiting processes for senior-management positions, in which decisions are predominantly made by men, the successful candidates are those with similar characteristics, normally men, even though they may not be the best fit for the position. This is because most people attribute higher competence levels to people with qualities akin to their own.
Another circumstance that stunts women’s chances of promotion in Spain and Latin America is that women in those regions generally bear the lion’s share of the responsibility when it comes to housework and caring for dependents.
Balancing the male-to-female ratio on boards of directors depends on the willingness of companies to do so. The authors propose the following measures:
First, develop systematic processes for hiring, evaluating and promoting employees, and clearly define job responsibilities and the competencies required for each position. This will remove the biases introduced by those in charge of the recruitment process.
Second, foster corporate family responsibility by advocating policies that are conducive to a better balance of work and family for all employees. Such policies include flexibility of hours and location, with the aim of furthering the integration of work/family conciliation for men and women, management systems that include family-related policies such as health benefits and information about dependent care, training on issues related to work/life balance and informal practices for meetings, teamwork and work systems that promote flexibility and discourage a culture of “presenteeism” and low performance.
Finally, guarantee diversity in decision-making teams. If there is genuine diversity in evaluation and promotion committees, this will be reflected in the judgments made, which should be more just and equitable for all.
© The New York Times 2014
© 2014 Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa, IESE Universidad de Navarra
Companies are realising that hiring women at the senior level is imperative and makes good business sense, and firms are resorting to innovative ways to recruit and retain women talent in order to ensure gender diversity, experts say.
The decision by stock market regulator Sebi to make it mandatory for every listed company to have at least one lady director on its board is likely to open thousands of boardroom position for the fairer sex.
Experts are of the opinion that it is a commendable step towards bringing in gender diversity and having companies re look at the available and future pool for scaling to senior levels.
“This means early identification, investment, training, mentoring by companies. It means a window of opportunity for future aspirants,” TeamLease Services Senior Vice-President & Co-Founder Sangeeta Lala said.
Echoing similar sentiments, Caterpillar India Country HR Director Anju Jain said “It is acknowledged that there is a gender gap at the board level. But in order to begin to close that gap, there must be a pipeline of women leaders in the middle/ senior brackets who would be good candidates to fill Board positions.”
In order to achieve, gender diversity, companies are creating forums, thinking of innovative ways of hiring/ retaining women (full-time and part-time) and removing gender bias to promote hiring women.
HR experts are of the opinion that there should be a proper mechanism in place for picking and placing these women directors. If the said positions become “ornamental,” it would beat the whole purpose of the decision, they said.
Companies need to go a level deeper in mapping out reasons, circumstances, drivers for those who are ‘stuck’ at a certain level and should allocate budgets to re-skill and retrain them for higher positions.
“Organisations are not interested in the overall gender ratio alone. They have started looking at gender ratio at all levels more closely. SEBI’s decision to make it mandatory for every listed company to have at least one lady director on its board will provide further impetus to this,” Towers Watson India Benefits Director Anuradha Sriram said.
Mentoring and Leadership Coaching is becoming a priority for most organisations, she added.
While organisations continue to develop and structure initiatives aimed at improving gender diversity, merit should also be an important guiding principle, experts said.
Here is a platform to promote internship opportunities and interaction with companies, created by students of Loyola College and IESEG School of Management.
Every student, no matter which field they pursue, embarks on an expedition to find an organisation they can intern with. A few students of Loyola College’s Centre for International Programmes — BBA France course with IESEG School of Management have taken the initiative to address this scenario.
InterNetwork is a platform that aims to promote internships, draw attention to their importance, act as a liaison between companies and students to provide opportunities and add clarity to the career path of students. This was started by eleven students as a part of their project ‘Entrepreneurial Thinking’.
The team organises seminars for students to meet and interact with people from the corporate ecosphere. The first was at National Public School and the second at Loyola College, Chennai. The seminar at Loyola College sponsored by Sutherland Global Services, was graced by three eminent panellists from different walks of life.
The first speaker was Chandrasekar Balagopal, senior advisor, Business and marketing development of Terumo Penpol, manufacturer of blood transfusion products. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs was to select the domain carefully and challenge assumptions.
The second speaker was Vijay Radhakrishnan, co-founder, Magzter Inc., a global mobile magazine store. He says the key to setting up a successful business is the idea and one should never give up on it, unless the business life cycle is on the decline.
The third speaker was Jigar Doshi, co-founder, CheeniLabs, now Komparify.com, a platform where one can compare mobile, data card and tablet plans. He said, “when you start a business, you need to constantly innovate to keep your customers and get new ones.”
IESEG’s InterNetwork can be reached at
Here is a novel device to teach Physics. Prof. Chandra Sekhar Prayaga, Chair of Physics Department at the University of West Florida, has devised a system whereby children can be taught the basic concepts of Physics by exploiting their natural fascination for robots.
“Robots move according to the data fed in the software, and sensors put in these robots generate the data that can be seen as graphical representation to see different physical forces at play,” he explained. Schools that cannot afford the new device can sign up for the online version of RILE.
The initiative has three components – the web, server and the robot – which help students to control and learn through hands-on experience, RILE chief technology officer Alex Whiteside said. “RILE has already been introduced in three schools in USA to teach physics concepts to eighth class students,” he said.
‘Robotic Interactive Learning Environment’ (RILE), comes with features that help students to learn physics in a better and effective manner
Google’s location history browser reportedly tells users their exact location from the past along with the specific time through an interesting map.
The browser isn’t something new and has been there for years and uses a person’s location data that the company prompts during the initial setup asking users if Google could transmit their location data back to the mothership. According to Tech Crunch, this data is then collected by the company, for more targeted ads or simply to let users go back in the past and revisit their last trip to another city. The service is opt-in and users can also delete the history on a day-by-day basis or clean the entire location slate in one attempt.
Google shows up the entire location history in a graph form and once a user scrubs the mouse pointer at the bottom, the map plays back the selected day, the report added.
- Google’s Location History Browser Is A Minute-By-Minute Map Of Your Life (theloveoftech.wordpress.com)
- Google’s Location History Browser Is A Minute-By-Minute Map Of Your Life (trjoneshome.wordpress.com)