We might be far from ideal diversity and inclusion standards in our workplaces, they have definitely influenced and even redefined policies in both the startup world and the corporate world. Designations like ‘Chief Diversity Officer,’ ‘D & I Recruiter,’ ‘Diversity Consultant,’ have permanent roles in the management teams of many companies. Companies like Myntra have conducted social experiments in their offices like naming meeting rooms after recognized women; others like SAP Labs, TATA Groups, and The Godrej Group have allocated funds to streamline processes which promote diversity and inclusion.
There are companies which talk about implementing diversity and inclusion policies, and then there are who do it. Here are a few companies who put their money where their mouth is:
In 2019, Zomato announced 26 weeks (roughly six months) of paid parental leave for both men and women; and extended the same to non-birthing parents (who adopt children). This year, Zomato revived the controversial Period Leave for women and transgender employees who are unable to attend office owing to the discomfort of their menstrual cycle. The policy has been implemented in good faith, trusting employees to use it only if necessary and not for other purposes. Their Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Committee will directly look into the matter if anyone is shamed for availing these leaves.
In addition to keeping a regular check on the diversity ratios in the company from time to time, Paytm has a helpline exclusively for female employees. This tool was introduced to address the queries and concerns of the women in the company and also allows for seamless communication between them and the senior management, enabling them to understand each other better, eventually leading to better output.
This hyperlocal services app was launched in 2014. In 2016, in an attempt to make a change at the grass-root level, they introduced women auto-drivers in their workforce. The following year, it was reported that 40% of their workforce were women and the management worked relentlessly to retain them; however two years ago, the service was shut down. Jugnoo also has a feedback system for the women employees and major changes like a ‘Minions Play Area’ for childcare, which was introduced during school vacations based on the feedback provided through this system.
Known for creating content which promotes diversity and inclusion, Culture Machine also practises what they endorse. They were one of the early companies to have introduced the period leave in India allowing women and transgender employees to take leave on the first day of their period. It started the much-needed conversations which are considered very awkward among working professionals even today.
This Chhattisgarh café and bar was started to ensure that all individuals, devoid of their gender, physical abilities and colour get an opportunity to make a respectful living. Considering Chhattisgarh has a high number of transgender and differently-abled population, 80% of their workforce comprises of people from these groups. These individuals work across positions, from housekeeping to managers depending on their skill set. If customers are found disrespecting any of the employees, they are barred from the café altogether.
Yes, India is far from perfection, and there is a long way to go. These initiatives are not only promoting gender diversity in their companies but also keeping the conversation alive and contributing to shaping the diversity narrative in the country.
(Edited by Athira Nair)