Article (June-2021)


Diversity & Inclusion - A mere rhetoric?

Editorial Team

Designation : -   Editorial

Organization : -  Business Manager HR Magazine


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When Mitul reached office and logged in on her system, there was a flash message from the company internal portal that company has bagged the "Best employer award in D&I" segment. It was received by HR head of the organisation and all were greeting him. There was an environment of joy and accomplishment in the organisation. It was also informed that there will be a small celebration during lunch hours and the award will be dedicated to the all employees, who helped building and nurturing the diversity and inclusion culture of the organisation.

Mitul could not stop her laugh on all this. How things are manipulated to such an extent, she was wondering? Mitul joined this payment gateway solutions company Payfast three years ago. It was her third change. In total she has now been in job for about 7 years. She slipped into her past and it was just like watching the film. Mitul joined first company after getting selected from campus. Though her taste was towards academics but looking at the brand of the company, she could not resist. She joined as management trainee along with four other male colleagues. All were of same batch. Though the company was boasting too much about diversity and inclusion policies and many times she was made a poster girl of such policy she was the first female to be inducted in manufacturing department as trainee. Mitul was enthusiastic enough so took all challenges, whether it was about tough working being a single woman in that department or working in odd hours many times in the name of extensive learning opportunities. She was hardly included in departmental meetings. Many times she had to take clues of meetings from other male colleagues. After completion of six months of training, she was put to appraisal process. She was confident that she will be promoted and put on a regular role. But to her surprise, she was not. Her training was extended for further six months though her responsibilities were increased. By that time she started understanding how organisation people dynamics play important role where she was lacking. She was totally focused on her work and all the time she was satisfied that whatever assignment was given to her, she completed in time with no bickering and to the satisfaction of her seniors.

Company had a non transparent compensation package policy. Nobody was aware about what other colleague salary was. It was a complete secret. It was that day when she went to meeting room for some work immediately after other meeting was finished, she noticed one diary lying on the table. She could sense that someone might have forgotten there who was in meeting. She checked the diary. It was of her colleague who was also recruited from campus with her as management trainee. She opened the diary. There were salary slips of all last six months. She could notice that when her training stipend was 15,000/ per month, his colleague stipend was 20,000/ per month. She had no reason to digest this inequality between the stipend of two trainees who were picked up from campus on same day and joined. She felt hurt by this discrimination. Even from the qualification background, she scored better marks that colleague in college degree. She made her 3rd place in top ten of the college pass outs whereas the colleague was not even in top twenty. She asked the housekeeping boy to inform his colleague that his diary was lying in the meeting room.

She kept the diary as it was and came out of the room. She felt like screaming, went to wash room, washed her face; saw self in mirror to check what the difference was between her and male colleague? How could that be the case when both were appointed as management trainees? What she ascertained was her only biological difference from her male colleague. This inequality in pay, she was greeted with by the company made her many nights sleepless. In next one year, she changed the job and joined hospitality sector with a good raise in salary. The chain was having may owned and managed properties in the country. There were many women employees working till 7 PM. She was bit comfortable with the working environment. She joined the back office in IT/Finance department. She found her work satisfying. Her Boss was very supportive. After about two years, he was transferred to a Resort property which was quite far from the present place which was in city and was very comfortable for her. She was only single child daughter of her parents. She was only a financial support to her parents. May be that was the reason she did not have any place for thought of self marriage at this stage. She talked to her boss to check the possibility of getting her transfer cancelled. After listening to her difficulties, he assured of her some best possible solution to her problems though cancellation of transfer was not possible. After talking at senior level management, her boss communicated that what he would do best to her is to allow her stay in the resort property with her parents so that she can take care of them but her salary package would be revised and her take home would be reduced as per company policy. This transfer was on promotion as Astt. Manager. Mitul discussed with their parents. They refused to relocate to a place far from city with no neighbourers and known people with whom they would possibly pass their life with pleasure. Moreover they were not prepared to leave their house locked and go with her daughter far from city in an unknown environment.

Mitul gave a thought to the problem. In any way her salary was to be reduced due to restructuring. Since she will be at less costly place with co. provided accommodation in resort property, she will not be eligible to certain allowances like HRA and special allowances. She collected information from her network about the resort and working environment, it was to her surprise that transfer to that resort was considered  either as punishment or low value addition and only those persons were pushed to that place who were not considered worth of occupying the position metro city property. Mitul had very limited choice. Either to accept the transfer on reduced emoluments or to quit. Mitul decided to continue and accept the transfer. She felt cornered. She was unable to identify what went wrong with her boss who apparently was appeared to be very supported, might have  given her consent to  her transfer to such a place which was not only far from her place but also to bring her reduced pay. During her short stint at resort property she was only one woman. All others were either bachelors or married colleagues. It was the period where she felt ignored by colleagues. Though male co employees were socializing every evening after duty hours, she was never invited to be a part of that. And then Mitul priority was to go back to city where her parents who were living alone. Somehow she got the job in this payment gateway Company. She was now Dy. Manager with a little raise in emoluments but her biggest relief was that she was with her parents. All of a sudden, her colleague sitting next  to her seat, pinched, brought her back to present  by saying, "Hey Mitul,  kahan sapno mein kho gayi bar awaz de rahi hun.. sun hi nahi rahi..?"

Mitul remarked, "Imagining the D&I ceremony where you and me will be crowned...ha...Ha..." Zara yahan Ki  D&I policy to dikha de ekbar.. dekh toh lein aakhir usme kya hai aisa jo humein nahi pata aur duniya ko pata hai... 8th march ko sall mein eak baar balloons laga dene se aur chai ke sath samosa khila dene se award mil jate hain kya? No safety, no security, no personal care policy, kam ke liye sab equal but when comes to pay and perks.. , there is a discrimination..AAj tak  sexual harassment policy ke bare mein nahi pata kisi ko, IC ke bare mein nahin maloom.. Aur Award ceremony Hoga.. My foot... Mitul bursted.

Before her voice would be high, her colleague held Mitul's hand and took her to cafe. She explained Mitul that how important is to understand this reality of work world with open eyes, and accept that where the men dominate, the women will not get equal.

When her colleague was consoling Mitul, she received a message in her college friends whatsapp group about one batch mate who was  not even considered very intelligent among group , posted about his promotion as General manager in a manufacturing unit of a big industrial House with a very high package. Mitul showed this message to her colleague... And commented... "Yes you are right... this is it..."