Women empowerment is an issue that is very dear to the civil society of our country as we often talk about empowering women by making them financially independent. But when we look towards the working conditions of women in the financial institutions of the country, basically banks, we need to re-orient our focus on the steps taken towards women empowerment so far in the country. A Parliamentary Panel has recently submitted its report and it has been seen that only 24 percent of the total workforce in the public sector banks is women and on top of that, more than half of them are in clerical cadre. There are very few women in the top cadres of these banks as well as in middle management cadres. There are various reasons that have been pointed out towards this dismal representation of women in the economic growth story of the country.
Why women are like they are today in PSBs
Public Sector Banks have seen very few women in the top as well as middle managements cadres in the recent years though the participation of women workforce in other sectors is noteworthy. PSBs have a number of reasons to take care of:
- Insensitive Transfer Policy: The HR department of the public sector banks is the most unprofessional of all since they are responsible for both talent outflow as well as women employees resigning from the jobs. The HR needs to be more sensitive towards women employees keeping in mind the consequences of any posting they give. HR should act as a friend, not as a boss.
- Promotion means to transfer to rural places: This is a reason why women officers are not seen in higher positions these days because they are certainly not ready to go away from their family to a remote place which is nether safe nor feasible for her to stay.
- Absence of Flexible working hours: It has been recently launched by ICICI Bank for its women employees since it helps the lady officials work from the comfort of their homes and contributing towards the bank as well in their own timings. But there is no such provision in PSBs making it very difficult for the women employees to maintain personal and professional lives.
It has been observed that the PSBs are insensitive towards managing the women workforce to some extent. This has resulted in absence of women in the higher echelons of the banking sector. It is high time that the issues are sorted out for the mutual benefit of the banks as well as the women. The government needs to come out with a detailed policy in this regard so that women employees get respite from the insensitive attitude shown towards them in the banks. Banks need talented employees; talent does not need a bank to blossom. Banks will do well to keep this in mind.