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“If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.”― Plato, The Republic

From being an efficient homemaker to running a campaign, launching an initiative, reporting an achievement, and many more, women have proven their mettle in every sphere across the world. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, let’s discuss why there should be gender equality in MBA Colleges!

Some common inequalities that are present in some workplace or institutions are the gender-based imbalances and gender-based treatment given to individuals. This makes men move up to higher-paid positions quickly when compared to women. Workplace gender equality is possible when people (men and women) are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender. Organisations must provide equal pay for work of equal or comparable value and this must not be based on caste, creed, religion, race or gender. Removal of barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce can ensure reduce gender inequality in the workplace. Can B Schools (Business Schools) help in this endeavour? Are Indian B Schools helping to reduce gender inequality in the workplace?

To address the gender gap, many look to business schools and the MBA – a qualification designed to prepare emerging leaders to advance their careers. The CAT 2020, had witnessed around 1.95 lakh students appearing the exam in total. There were around 66,755 female candidates, 1 transgender and remaining were male candidates.  It stands to reason that achieving gender equality in the MBA cohorts of leading business schools can help set the tone for breaking down further barriers when students graduate and make their way in the business world. For this reason, a good amount of attention is paid to the proportion of female students business schools enroll each year.

Organisations want to hire graduates who know how to work in a diverse and inclusive environment. Women are early planners, likely to chalk out their graduate management education plan during their undergraduate years. They are also more pragmatic and focused on outcomes in their approach to pursuing graduate business education. Schools are important, especially those offering flexible programme formats or better job opportunities.

Having a balanced classroom does more than help women advance their careers, and it also promotes a productive learning environment for everyone and could help MBAs land jobs when they graduate. This is making B schools to focus and create a balanced classroom which can help in giving women equal opportunity.

Some Indian B Schools have taken a special interest in promoting gender equality. B Schools are creating scholarships specifically to female students both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. For example, Jayatee Deshmukh Scholarship is one such scholarship initiated by Symbiosis International (Deemed University) which is given to meritorious female students. Such merit-based scholarships support students pursuing the full-time MBA program and support gender parity. 

The stark division in common perception between the masculine and the feminine presupposes men display ‘manly’ behaviour, women display ‘womanly’ behaviour and to do anything else is not only a violation of social norms but also somehow unnatural. But such narrow definitions are mere stereotypes. Several B Schools have taken special care to ensure that candidates are selected based on merit and the ‘gender bias’ does not have any influence in selection. There are a few B Schools which also have seats reserved for female students so that they can help in reducing gender inequality in the classroom.  

Gender disparity in the workplace is not only a moral and social issue; it's also a critical economic challenge of the future. While the reasoning behind the disparity is tied up in several complicated political, cultural, and economic factors, it's vital every woman has the opportunity to make it to the very top of whatever profession she chooses. B Schools are taking steps to help reduce gender inequality in the workplace, but it is still a long way to go! 

Let us encourage more women to enroll in MBA programs. It’s a step in the right direction. Bias and discrimination notwithstanding, the more women we have trained the more likely they are to rise into positions of leadership. So, there is hope and plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge” (according to the official IWD website). This Women’s Day, Let us challenge women to give equal rights and respect today, tomorrow and forever! Let’s start from our Homes and Classrooms!

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