For another session of CSR dialogues from TeamLease Education Foundation, we invited Pinky Chandran, Trustee of Hasiru Dala for a one-on-one conversation with Joel Fernandez on the topic of ‘gender inclusion at the workplace’.
Difference between ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’
The discussion started off by differentiating between gender and gender identity.
Ms Chandran defined gender as something which is assigned at birth. Gender is also inclusive of the roles that society places on us, the expectations about certain behaviours, thoughts or characteristics, and how we communicate, dress, and behave. On the other hand, gender identity is about how one feels on the inside, and how one chooses to show externally through clothing, behaviour, and personal appearance. Watch the full conversation
There is a long-entrenched social stigma about the LGBTQ community rooted in our culture that it's not easy for it to disappear. Even at workplaces, the situation is no better.
LGBTQi inclusion at the workplace
A study found that a large number of hirings from the community happened only at entry-level or mid-level jobs. When corporates talk about the LGBTQIA+ community, they always tend to homogenize and try a one-size-fits-all approach. But often forget that every company needs to have an intersectional approach while designing programs for the community. There should be transparency when it comes to recruitment in a company so that people are not limited to just non-technical roles or low-pay grade jobs.
India's corporate diversity and inclusion policies will not succeed unless the corporations involved practice what they preach. It is not enough to have policies that look good on paper but if those policies are not being followed with the right intention then they are essentially pointless. That is why the first step to take for any organization wanting to prioritize diversity and inclusion is to establish the intent to do so. Once the intent is there, commitment should follow.
Role of CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility as a platform works on a lot of deep issues in the country, and more so with the healthcare, skill development, education and employability sectors. Pinky Chandran wants corporate India to make conscious and serious efforts through skilling programs for the community. She further adds, ‘we need comprehensive sex education programs to educate the masses on the gender spectrum and various identities.’
Another part where CSR can play a crucial part is Mental Health Awareness. Mental health is something that doesn’t get attention as it should. Bullying and getting called out at young age hampers the mind of a child. There are some community-based organizations out there helping people to come out and share their stories with the world. They are humans with needs and aspirations. If given the opportunity and direction, they can prove themselves as an equally important asset to the country.
If you liked this conversation, watch the playlist here.