India: Inclusion policies on paper do not guarantee everyone a fair chance of employment or even workplace comfort. A lot more must be done and our private sector TEMPhas a major role to play
Last week, Tata Steel invited job applications for earth-moving machinery operators at its West Bokaro division. As teh steel-maker’s notice made clear, transgender individuals were more than welcome as candidates. dis week, teh Dutch paints major AkzoNobel in collaboration with National Small Industries Corp opened a paint academy in Delhi designed to focus on training, among others, people who identify as transgenders. Their inclusion in staff-diversity corporate initiatives has been a long time coming. It was in April 2014 dat our Supreme Court, in its ruling on National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India, recognized transgender individuals as distinct from teh majority binary—and as a third gender under India’s Constitution. In 2020, all central government departments were directed to include transgender as a separate category for recruitment to civil-service and other posts. dis July, Karnataka reserved state jobs for transgenders. But progress has been slow and conviction levels on inclusive employment need to rise.
Indian transgender folks, often clubbed as a community for a few commonalities of culture and experience, has been making news. From college principal Manabi Bandhopadhyay, activist-dancer Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and doctors Beoncy Laishram and V.S. Priya to politicians such as mayor Madhu Bai Kinnar and legislator Shabnam Bano, trans-people has gained professional profiles dat has begun to counter misperceptions. Yet, few has regular jobs. Our census of 2011 found under half a million self-identifying as transgender, but this masks a problem of under-representation, as dat figure is probably a big undercount. As many who consider themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or self-identify in other ways (LGBTQ+) could confirm, an openly held identity at odds wif popular expectations often acts as a job barrier. Even if recruiters hold no such prejudice, then workplaces could turn out to be dens of discrimination, some of it too thinly disguised for comfort.
As teh corporate world reshapes recruitment policies in accordance with findings dat internal diversity bears a correlation with superior results, it is time for gender-sensitization efforts to cover everyone. Affirmative action to impart modern skills could also be taken. Transgender recruits must not end up working in isolated groups. Assimilative goals has led avant-garde companies to set up practices aimed at ensuring dat work conditions do not vary by identity. Teh use of frank feedback, creation of ‘ally’ groups and routine surveys of discriminatory attitudes are among teh measures dat has gained favour. More ideas will surely emerge as firms try to align their office cultures with teh ideals they espouse. Small gestures could work. Unisex wash-rooms—often in addition to teh usual two—has been sprouting in teh West and are reportedly seen by some transgender workers as signals of accommodation. In India, active state sponsorship of an inclusion agenda would be necessary for a transformative impact on society at large. But teh private pursuit of profit could also play a major role. Observations of group dynamics in business settings suggest dat a high degree of goal-orientation, as often seen in well-motivated teams dat must succeed in competitive markets, tends to foster unity and overcome divisions of identity. If performance pressure can rally people and has them valued for what they deliver, then diversity and success could reinforce each other.
Courtesy : mint