What can gender mainstreaming business schools do in the economic landscape?

There are harmful gender norms that impede women’s right to participate in economic activities.

It is no secret that institutional and social factors contribute to gender inequality in the economic landscape. A survey by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on labor force participation rate in 2019 estimates that only 20.8 per cent of the female population aged 15 and over is in India’s labor force and employment.

It is counterproductive to think of economic development without strengthening this central pillar comprising more than half of the country’s population of women. For the overall development of the country, women need to be financially included and economically independent.

Gender mainstream

Current gender differences indicate what role men and women have in society and what resources and opportunities they can access. Many success stories tell that women in our country are successful in business. Women in India are able to sustain entrepreneurship and business or take on any job role. However, economic participation is still low. The underlying reasons behind this slant are the stereotypical gender role and the rules that perpetuate gender inequality. Women’s financial involvement can purposefully contribute to the development of an ecosystem where the opinions of all participants are independently voiced and defended. This is important because both men and women have an equal right to be heard in development decision making and equal participation in development outcomes.

Gender mainstreaming and economic development

There are harmful gender norms that impede women’s right to participate in economic activities. Glass ceilings at the top of corporates suggest that business is an area where the gender perspective is not taken into account.

The business school can meet two notable goals: internally with insight and adapting the organization to build a diverse and fulfilling workforce that improves its career, family and personal life; The other is to look deeply outwards to create high-quality research that supports gender equality and equity for sustainable development.

Gender mainstreaming must be seen as a process to increase gender equality, facilitating other developmental goals, including economic ones.

Gender Mainstream and Gender Justice

On average, women are paid less than men for comparative work in all regions and sectors. At home, they face violence and abuse and unequal treatment at work. Women face discrimination and inequality in all areas of life. The situation is serious even in the wider community. Women are deprived of equal opportunities to learn, earn and lead. Education can greatly help women in their struggle to get equal opportunities for jobs and fair wages as men and equal opportunities to get out of inequality and poverty.

Equal employment opportunities, equal healthcare and education, equal decision-making power and freedom can go a long way in building a gender-equitable society. When organizations speak to their needs and interests, women can make their own choices and use their combined voices.

Business schools as stakeholders for the gender mainstream

National Institutional Ranking Framework – According to data submitted by IIM Ahmedabad (NIRF Rank One among the management school category institutions) to the Ministry of Education, Government of India, female students constitute about 27% of the total student strength. The situation is similar in many other business schools. The hand problem is simple: there are not enough women in B schools in India

Women outnumber men in business schools. The business school also has fewer female students, deans, associate deans, full-time faculty, term faculty and chairs of academic departments. Examples such as textbooks, case studies and speakers have the same predominance.

Business schools can and should help reduce the under-representation of women in management and leadership positions in the corporate world. This can be achieved by improving the curriculum and including gender sensitivity workshops. It will help build a peer support group with strong gender equality skills, ready to advise corporates and other organizations on gender awareness, responsiveness and keeping gender equality at the center of their work.

Supernumerary seats – that is, seats in addition to existing lots – can help increase the percentage of women in higher education reserved for women. This can create a positive cycle where the existing social barriers in the way of women can be broken as compared to men.

Business schools should place innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship for economic and social gain. Female students should be encouraged and motivated to follow their entrepreneurial passion. Business schools should be provided with an ecosystem of resources that supports the unique needs of innovators inside and outside the classroom. The MBA can also be a springboard for social impact careers in nonprofit organizations and corporations that practice social responsibility. Schools can contribute to creating a new path for women’s leadership. The contribution of business schools can be immense because innovation and creativity are fundamental drivers of sustainable development in developing economies as it contributes to productivity and social development.

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