When you work on a floor that houses five women's magazines, you forget that women are still a significantly small percentage of the total workforce. But circa 2009, is that really on account of discrimination? More importantly, where does a special 'women's only job site' fit into our independent minded scheme of things?
Shalini Jagasia, Regional Manager for Naukriforwomen's North India operations, is very clear that discrimination against women in the workplace is still a strong reality. “There are instances of sexual harassment and discrimination. Women constitute less than 20% of the total workforce in India."Will a jobsite for women necessarily change attitudes? “We want to support women in their quest for professional satisfaction and financial independence. But there's more to the site than just listing jobs — our aim is to create a community for top employers in the country to meet this talented and bright pool of women on a one-to-one basis," says Shalini.
There's also recognition of areas where women conventionally do better — the development sector, for example. “We've tied up with a few NGOs and have a section devoted to jobs in the development sector," she adds. Another woman-friendly feature: A section on working from home.Is it working? “We get an average of 500 new profiles every day," says Shalini. “That clearly shows how eager Indian girls are to join this growing community of working women."
But what about the end users themselves? Lyzandra Lewis, 25, is one of the doubters. “I think it's a worthy idea. But if you're well qualified and have the requisite experience, an employer will be interested irrespective of gender. And discrimination usually comes into play much later, not necessarily at the application stage," she says.
Her colleague, Aashmita Nayar, 23, immediately offers the counterpoint. “There are a lot more jobs for men because a lot of women get lost in the process of life — giving up their career for marriage and then children. I think the site will be a boon if it allows women to find women-centric jobs," she says.She certainly has a point. Whether the idea takes off enough to become a real movement, only time will tell, but as an honourable intention, we can't fault it!