28 Jul 2021 11:38 IST

42% of women in media say equal pay for equal work is not practised

‘I Lead’ survey by WICCI and IIMK finds roadblocks to women in the communications industry in India

Nearly 42 per cent of women in media and communications field believe that equal pay for equal work is not practised at workplaces, according to the ‘I Lead’ survey conducted by WICCI Public Relations and Digital Marketing Council and Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK). Two-third (68 per cent) of the respondents reported that their organisation does not have a formal mentoring programme for aspiring women leaders.

More than half (53 per cent) said that organisations don’t have a clear career growth path for women joining post-maternity leave or critical care breaks. Moreover, 79 per cent of women stated that their organisation considers home investments as gaps during promotions or assignment of critical assignments. More than half (53 per cent) of the respondents surveyed said that organisations do not recruit and engage in formal succession planning to ensure gender diversity.

The ‘I Lead’ survey conducted in early 2021 received an overwhelming response from 1,000+ women communication professionals across the fields of journalism, advertising, public relations, digital communications, content writing, corporate affairs, and corporate communications. The study exposed that organisations take to a tokenism approach with diversity and inclusion policies.

Inclusive workplaces

The aim of the collaborative study was to capture the experiences and challenges for women to reach leadership positions in the field of communications. The study also reported the progress made so far by organisations and offers a framework to create gender-inclusive workplaces.

Kavita Lakhani, Director Operations, Weber Shandwick, and National President, WICCI Public Relations and Digital Marketing Council, said, “To empower more women to reach the top, organisations must expedite action in three key areas — modelling women in leadership roles, progressive policies, and support systems that propel qualified women to lead. It is my fervent belief that this study will inform and encourage leaders to take clear and decisive steps.”      

Evaluating progress

Prof Deepa Sethi, Chairperson, PGP-LSM, IIMK, and the Project Coordinator said: “The ‘I Lead’ survey is an attempt to put together a framework towards a healthy workforce, and is based on perspectives from women in the PR and communications industry in India.”

The ‘I Lead’ survey also captured the progress made by companies in recent years towards ensuring gender diversity, indicating some big wins. Two-thirds of the respondents (68 per cent) women said that male and female employees are evaluated on equal parameters. 67 per cent of participants accepted that their organisations value and nurture ambitious women.

More than half (63 per cent) respondents affirmed that women are provided with upskilling opportunities. 7 in 10 (74 per cent) women agreed that their organisations encourage them to speak up against workplace discrimination/harassment showing a commitment towards building safe workplaces.