Even an IIM degree doesn’t guarantee women equal opportunities at the workplace

Is it still a man’s world?
Is it still a man’s world?
Image: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
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It’s 2020 and women in India, even those with prestigious degrees, still rarely secure their dream jobs.

Around 49% of alumnae and female students of the elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) feel they do not have the same opportunities for career growth as men in their organisations, revealed a pan-IIM survey on “Women in the Workplace” released on March 4.

The survey was conducted by a global career advancement platform for women, The Star In Me, in collaboration with the IIM Kozhikode alumni association. It received 400 responses from 20 IIMs, with the majority of respondents working at mid- to senior-management levels across industries.

When asked about the challenges women face at work, respondents cited a lack of mentorship, lack of strong professional networks, gender discrimination, and unconscious bias as key challenges. 

“The survey results demonstrate that even though progress has been made in enhancing gender diversity, organisations need a renewed focus on eliminating unconscious bias, strengthening mentoring and sponsorship initiatives and creating a level playing field for women,” said Uma Kasoji, co-founder of The Star In Me. Kasoji also sits on the board of IIM Kozhikode and is an IIM alumna herself.

How to fix things?

Facing inequality, a majority of women emphasise on the importance of flexibility in the workplace, organisational budgets for upskilling, and second-career options among other things, the survey revealed. 

Additionally, when presented with a list of the top 50 firms that visit IIMs for campus recruitment, respondents chose Google, Amazon, and McKinsey & Co as their dream companies.