Women in the Workplace and their Impact on Organizational Success

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The presence of women in the workplace is becoming felt more and more. They are making inroads into many professions that are the domains of male employees.

Many countries have enacted legislation that protects the position of female employees.

An example of this is the equal opportunity for women at the workplace Act (that have legal effects in many Commonwealth countries).

Strategic HR Planning must take into serious consideration the role of women in the workplace

Some countries are yet to recognize the important role of women.

In spite of this, it is clear that female employees have their special place in organizations.

Take this into consideration when preparing your strategic plan.

Reasons for the Growing Role of Women in the Workplace
These include:

  • More and more women are becoming highly educated and highly skilled.
  • Improved child-care facilities provide invaluable help to working mothers.
  • There are organizations that make available part-time jobs or flexi-working hours. This suits mothers who have small children.
  • Employment legislation provides job security whereby women can return to their jobs after having children.
  • Working women enjoy maternity leave before, during, and for a certain period after delivery.
  • Legislation allows women employees to apply for leave to take care of their small children. The importance of mothers spending time with their growing children is recognized as important.
  • There is the new phenomenon of "telecommuting" where women can work normally but from home. They may opt to go on their own.

Take into consideration the special role of female employees in your recruitment policy.

Women Employees are Re-defining Their Role
"Women women are redefining their role in the workplace". What are the reasons for this?
Has the position of women in the workplace changed? If not, then it is reasonable to assume that more women, as more of them become highly educated, will start examining their place in society, at the place where they work, and so on.

Research show that women are still segregated into certain positions such as clerical and service-oriented jobs.

The number of women in male dominated positions is limited and considered low, especially in managerial and skilled jobs.

But in many countries, the position of women is changing fast. More and more of them are showing that they are professionally capable. They are climbing up the corporate ladder.

This was what the International Labour Organization (ILO) said about Asian women employees.

It was reported in 2007:

    "Around the world, more women are entering the workplace, the report (by ILO) said, but it highlighted South Asia as one of the worst region for gender equality, with just 43.5 percent of women in work."

Statistics indicate that the number of women graduates had increased. There are many more of them studying in universities and colleges.

But in many countries this is not translated into equality between women and men in the labour market.

Allowing Employees to telecommute can help retain capable female employees

Organizations may have to accommodate this type of working arrangement as more and more women join their workforce.

This arrangement suits married career women who want to continue working for their respective organization.

Such female employees may have specialized skills that your organization requires.

The time may come for your organization to make this method of working available to both female employees (and male) workers.

Employability of Women and Family
Nowadays, you see an increasing number of women in the workplace.

There are laws that protect women as employees such as in the United States.

Recruitment policies need to take their unique role in the workplace.

This is something good. Women form an important source of capable human resource.

But work may intrude into the daily life of families. And this is not good.

When this happens there is work-family conflict. And this can lead to family stress. Either the family suffers or the work will. Or both.

It is said that the more responsible your position is, the greater the stress. (Married male employees also face similar problems.)

As an employer, try to balance work and family roles for the benefit of your employees.

In "Business must balance more than its books", S. Friedman, P. Christensen and J. de Groot state that the competing demands of family and work is a major challenge for employees, employers and HR Manager.

Some organizations prefer to employ single people. But sooner or later, they, too, will have their own families.

But legislation in some countries prohibits recruiters from asking this question. It is discriminatory in nature.

It has been said that this is one of the reason why some career women choose to remain single. This appears true for women with higher degree qualification and living in advanced countries.

Boost to the Role of Women in the Workplace
When compared to men, the percentage of women in full-time employment is still low.

Education and opportunities, among many things, are changing the employment landscape for women.

The government in many countries had enacted laws to protect the position of women as forming an important part of the workforce. There are programs and enabling infrastructures that boost the role of women in the workplace.

Check the position in the country where you are carrying out your activities.

Salary and Superannuation
Salaries, superannuation and benefits are also important to women in the workplace.

It is found that the women are paid less when compared to men.

Because of this, their superannuation is lower.

Superannuation is defined as "a pension or payment to a person retiring from full-time work..."

Due to time off taken to bear and raise children, some women may get a small sum or may not enjoy any superannuation at all.

A lot of women work part-time or are casual workers.

In some countries, workers whether male or female who work on temporary appointment are eligible for superannuation.

Thus, it may appear that the picture is not encouraging for women in the workplace. Time will tell. But it cannot be denied that the increasing number of women employees is evidence of their importance.

Either you get paid superannuation as a former public sector employee or as a former worker in a private entity. There are specific conditions governing payment of superannuation.

If you are in full-time employment, ensure that you will get paid superannuation when you leave service at the specified age.

Work-Family Conflict Affects Productivity
If you have female employees, make plan to manage the work-family relationship.

Surveys have shown that work-family conflicts can cause strain and affect productivity.

If not handled properly, productive-time lost may keep on increasing.

Many of your female workers may quit their job. Your organization can lose good employees in this way.

The hassle involved in managing women in the workplace need not pose excessive problem to your organization.

An all male workforce?
It is awkward. It can invite unwanted attention and scrutiny. Ensure that your policy does not discriminate against anyone.

And your organization may break the relevant legislation against discrimination against female employees.

(It is the same when there is an all-female workforce.)

Create a more supportive work environment and culture.

The San Francisco-based Levi Strauss and Co. provides a good example.

It had made arrangement to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities.

Its Employee Relations Director had said:

    "We believe that by helping our employees, we can improve productivity and the bottom line."

"The Impact of Workplace Support on Work-Family Role Strain", by Jennifer A. Warren and Phyllis J. Johnson, records the result of their studies on 116 samples of employed mothers whose preschool age children were in group daycare.

It stated that the strain between work and family roles can cause productivity and health problems to working mothers.

The writers asked the question relevant to women in the workplace:

    "What can the workplace do to facilitate the integration of employment and family life for employed parents?"

Quoting the relevant writers, they stated how working parents can cope with work-family conflict.

  • Organizations can provide support to married employees with small children
  • Allowing supervisors to exercise flexibility, and
  • Offering family-friendly benefits

Providing assistance to women in the workplace to cope well will ensure that they continue to fulfill both their work and family responsibilities.

Australia, for example, is planning to provide paid parental leave for employees commencing 2011. This will help to improve the working conditions for women in the workplace.

Women Assigned to Work Overseas
Are you a female employee and wish to work overseas?

Compared to men, the percentage of women who work as expatriates is low. But this trend may change.

Who are the women in the workplace who have a greater chance of being selected to work overseas?
The following are some of the factors you need to satisfy if this matter is relevant to your situation.

  • You are single;
  • You make known your interest to work overseas, and
  • You are willing to undergo the necessary adjustment.

Acceptance of the presence of women expatriates is another consideration. This varies from country to country.

It is unfortunate that some cultures do not readily accept women as being capable as compared to men.

If you are interested in overseas assignment, find out which type of culture accommodate female expatriates. Make inquiries from your Human Resource department.

If you are not sure, stay put in your current job in the present location.

Don't force yourself to change job unnecessarily. It is not conducive to productivity, to your career development and your state of mind.

The other alternative is to strike it out on your own. There are many successful women entrepreneurs.

Making the Crucial Decision
As a female employee, make plan to balance your work and family responsibilities.

Seek advice and assistance from experienced people, experts in the field, and internal expertise in your organization, if available.

In this way, you continue to maintain your productivity and, thus, enjoy job security as a result. It does not matter whether you are working in the public sector or in the private sector.

As an employer, implement enabling environment and organizational culture to support your female employees - and male employees, too - in their work-family responsibilities.

Your policy has to ensure continued employee and organizational productivity while at the same time addressing your manpower needs.


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