Covid-19 pandemic is unbiased in its approach towards people; still, it is the marginalized groups of our society who are suffering more. It has remodelled the working space for women.
Many women have been pushed out of their jobs during the lockdown. A new study reported by the Times of India suggests that approximately 17 million women lost their jobs (April 2020) and, half of them were unable to return to work post lockdown.
Further, the work from home blurred the lines between working hours and personal time and has magnified the expectations of the clients/company. Though we know comparatively, women are more compelled to do domestic work than men.
In addition, almost 4% more women were not paid their salaries compared to men.
The gender bias is quite visible in the economic spin-off manifested due to the pandemic.
It is imperative to address this issue and listen to women's expectations to reach the root cause and burn it out.
On a general level, from a women's POV, these are the few things that can help re-establish themselves in the labour force post-pandemic-
Even so, many women concerned issues are common to workspaces generally; to be able to make your place hassle-free, you need to evaluate issues specifically met by your employees.
Friendly discussions and problem-solving panels can surface the trouble that needs attention and alteration.
Scale-up diversity and inclusion department.
Clearly, women suffered a lot in their professional life during the pandemic. The efficient working of D&I ensures that women are given equal opportunity of chances at jobs and that they are equally considered for higher-up positions as men.
Keeping intersectionality in perspective, hiring women of colour will open the door for a more multicultural environment.
A more culturally vibrant team will make the place more approachable for newcomers.
Equal and on-time pay.
The pandemic has left people in an economically difficult position more than ever. Proactive management of pay equity alongside regulated assessment of the gender pay gap is important.
Not only do women deserve equal opportunity but also equal rewards and appreciation.
Approving flexibility and required leaves
One needs to acknowledge all the different identities of a woman with their accompanying responsibilities.
Maternity leave should be a part of their working policy. Furthermore, if required, women must be rendered flexible working hours or time off owing to their motherhood/parenthood duties or menstruation cycle period. They expect to be understood in terms of their other responsibilities as well.
Over assertion limiting their ability to manage their personal life will bring good to none, women and to the company themselves.
Making office space nourishing and ergonomically operational
Even before the pandemic, there were tons of complaints about an unhygienic and unhealthy work environment.Researches have shown that women are more susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders. Unfavourable surroundings reflect poorly in work.So, it is a must to have facilities like rightly sized tables/chairs including rightly placed computer/laptops. There should be natural sunlight present. For menstruating women, comfort chairs must be available.One of the major concerns is unhygienic washrooms which need regular sanitization. Childcare amenities like private breastfeeding rooms can help to make an inclusive environment for pregnant women.
Strict Policies and action against workplace harassment
Sexual and other forms of harassment have taken a toll on women's mental health. What's worse is that it continues to take place regardless of all the policies.
And the pandemic has added cyberbullying/harassment owning to transfer of all the physical workforce into the digital platform.
Not only should there be a zero-tolerance policy against workplace harassment but, also there should be frequent monitoring of its implementation.
Maintaining an inclusive environment should be a motto and, any anti-behaviour must be punished.Women expect their colleagues to be well-informed about the unconscious gender biases that occur while working. Educational seminars and staff-only discussions on the same can solve the purpose.Since we are on our way to rebuilding office spaces, women at the least expect gender discrimination to be left out and to have an equal opportunity at the job with the appreciation/recognition they deserve. Cheers to an environment that we all manifest and move towards together.
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