Gender diversity is a term referring to how different genders are represented in a relevant setting. Primarily, this term is often used to refer to females and males, though in some contexts and research the term may also refer to those who fall into non-binary categories of gender. The issue of gender representation on corporate boards of directors is one area where a need for greater gender diversity has been promoted. Employment in certain fields traditionally dominated by men, including computing, engineering, medicine, and women in science are other areas of study and interest.
CEOs and senior executives of our top companies walk, talk, run, and shout about gender diversity. Their passion goes well beyond logic and economics; it’s emotional. Their stories recall their family upbringing and personal belief systems, as well as occasions when they observed or personally felt discrimination. In short, they fervently believe in the business benefits of a caring environment where talent can rise. “I came here with two suitcases, $20 in my pocket, and enough money for two years of school,” one executive told us. “I know what kind of opportunities this country can provide. But I also know you have to work at it. I was an underdog who had to work hard. So, yes, I always look out for the underdogs.” Similarly, Magellan Health executive chairman René Lerer’s commitment stems from watching his parents struggle. “Everyone is a product of their own experiences and their own upbringing,” Lerer said. “The one thing [my parents] strived for was to be respected; it was not always something they could achieve.”
Diversity of any kind in an educational institution is very useful in the learning process. Gender diversity particularly brings different expertise and perspectives in the analysis of a problem and its manageable solution. Particularly in management education, where the case method is used to illustrate real life situations, usually there is no particular answer which can be called as 'right'. Here, diverse opinions can challenge the mainstream view, and throw up out of the box solution, which may prove out to be a better and efficient way to approach the problem.
Gender diversity also creates an environment of better understanding. It helps students in the institution to interact with the students of the opposite gender and have a better understanding of their general behavior in different circumstances. Such an exposure prepares the students for the real life situations on how to deal with people from different culture and opposite gender as they enter the corporate life. From the placements point of view, a more diversified campus is able to attract more recruiters helping the students at large.
Considering the merits of the same, gender diversity at IIM Raipur has increased threefold in the previous two years. The admission policy of the institution gives a weightage of six points to female candidates with the aim to bring more gender diversity to the campus. Compared to its fifth PGP batch, the current batch is more gender diversified with more than a third of the total as females. This positive change is expected to increase even more in the coming batch i.e. the seventh PGP batch of IIM Raipur.
Benefits of gender diversity in our college include the following:
It has been scientifically proved that the management process of men and women are different and each gender provides a unique way of managing situations/projects which offer each other a huge opportunity to learn which cannot be grasped otherwise. Men often use practicality while handling problems while women use different set of factors in handling the managerial scenarios. Men and women bring different point of views in a discussion making the same more effective. This could be attributed to the fact that each gender may have certain level of bias towards his or her gender.
Even after looking at all the advantages of gender diversity, some people are still apprehensive of it. Studies have shown that just putting a diversity quota or appointing a Chief Diversity officer doesn’t help much. Extensive research shows that diversity alone is damaging for organizations. Coming towards B-schools, if women participation increases due to reservation policies, then it doesn’t change the mindset of the other gender. They will still think of themselves as the dominant sex. Organizations fail to understand that inclusion and diversity are different; and one needs to address them both for successfully achieving the ultimate objectives of a gender diversity campaign. Inclusiveness happens when very different individuals feel free to embrace their uniqueness and that they belong. Like any other field, the corporate world also needs the best and the brightest women in the game. And having reservations for the sake of increasing number of women undermines the idea. So, yes there are studies and researches and views of prominent personalities who are apprehensive about it.
We see that IIM Raipur’s gender diversity will help in holistic development of the institute as well as its students. The advantages overshadow the disadvantages of having a gender equal learning environment. Hence, there should be no apprehensions about the management’s decision. Although, one of the key challenges would be to ensure that there is no discrimination based on gender. This would allow the institute to grow and would foster the values of equality, non-prejudice, acceptance amongst the budding managers. In conclusion, we can say that gender diversity would help in sustainability of a B-school like IIM Raipur which believes in preparing ethical leaders who are not only committed to business, commerce and industry but are also socially conscious towards their contribution in nation building and bring in name for the country globally.