In a recently concluded survey that revealed the true picture of representation of women in public sector banks as well as the private ones, it has been observed that women make up only a meager 3 percent of the total workforce and most of them also belong to the clerical cadre. Though the picture is a bit more encouraging in case of private banks, the overall scenario is not too much encouraging barring the likes of Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chanda Kochar, Usha Anantsubramaniam, Shikha Sharma among others. But why are there so few women bankers in India? Let us find out the possible reasons.
Banking and Women: Why are there so few of them in banking?
Though in the recent days we have seen quite a few bankers at the helm of different public and private sector banks of the country as well as institutions such as International Monetary Fund, US Fed Reserve, the overall picture is not very bright in case of women bankers. There are several reasons for this trend and we shall try to list the few possible ones so that the policymakers can take note of that in order to reverse this trend in the near future:
- Dismal HR Policy of banks: This is especially true regarding the public sector banks in the country since the HR department is neither experienced nor very effective in implementing proper policies aimed at employee welfare. Rather, the only objective is to transfer people at their whims and fancy. This is very problematic for women officers and clerks specifically. They do not get postings with their husband in most of the cases though the rule is there on paper.
- No sensitivity towards women’s problems: Banks are not at all sensitive towards the issues faced by women especially. She needs to strike a balance between the family life and the professional life. Rather than helping her to achieve that, banks often stand in the way of this social commitment of women employees. This forces women employees to sacrifice their careers for their family.
- Unintelligible transfer policy: This is the worst part about bank jobs. You do not know where and when you get transferred. You get frequent transfers especially if you are working as an officer. This makes life difficult for women employees since they need to take care of many things apart from the job. This is another reason they have to forego promotions to maintain a good family life.
- No option for flexible working hours and work from home options: This is simply the need of the hour for banks in order to retain talent and prevent attrition. They need to be flexible in implementing policies which they hardly do. This is one aspect where they lack and this results in a number of employees leaving bank in search of greener pastures though most of the women employees find no other option but to quit her job.
Banks are gradually taking note of various issues facing women in public sector banks and are implementing policies in order to retain talent in the future. This has resulted in bank chiefs such Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chanda Kochar, Shikha Sharma, Usha Anantsubramaniam, Usha Thorat, Shymala Gopinath amongst others. It is expected that these chiefs will take care of their women employees better since they themselves have faced the problems. The result is already there with ICICI Bank under Mrs Kochar implementing work from home option and SBI under Mrs Bhattacharya implementing two year sabbatical policy for women employees to take care of children’s education or in laws. The picture is changing and the young generation needs to take heart from the fact that banking has not been the male domain only and in the near future, it will open its doors to women employees more and more. Now that we have got role models, the model HR policies will definitely find its way in bank statute books very soon.