The percentage of women in the workforce at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has increased by over 3% since 2016, revealed the company’s 2021 annual report. Employing over 170,000 women is moving in the right direction in terms of inclusion. But a closer look at its senior leadership reveals that the gender skew is still very wide in the top tiers.
As more organizations try to imbibe the values of ‘diversity and inclusion’, a new practice has come to head — tokenism. Tokenism is defined as the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to make a particular change. This also includes recruiting a small number of people from under-represented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.
A look at the tiers of top-level management presents a clear picture of the dynamics at play within the organization. TCS’s board of directors, which has 10 members, has two women directors. Only one out of its nine-member corporate management team is a woman. And how many women are business heads? Zero!
Although this level of inclusion itself is a big step in the right direction, it begs the question that for a company that is over 150 years old, what will it take to ensure a more balanced workforce at all levels of the organization?
Small wins for women
One of the data points TCS highlights in its annual report is that 36.5% of its total workforce is women. But, a deeper dive into the data reveals that only 12.6% of its senior roles are filled by women while 44% of its junior roles are held by women. The percentage increase for senior roles held by women has only been around 1% in the last four years, which is abysmal at best.
For a company that prides itself on being ‘one of the largest employers of women’, it is clear that although they may be outliers in the Indian industry, there is still a long way to go to ensure equality.
The annual report does point to other inclusive measures that TCS implements to better support its workforce. This includes parental leave and insurance cover for LGBTQIA+ partners and gender reassignment surgery. The report also mentions that “TCS’ Center of Excellence for Accessibility works on IT solutions for differently-abled individuals, aiding their integration into the workforce.” These are milestones that set the benchmark for other organizations in the country to aspire to.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)