6. Critically analyse the key issues relating to gender and HRM in India. 3000 Words.


Gender and Human Resource Management

International Human Resource Management: (PG: 15PFMC078) (UG: 151030018)

Dr Helen Macnaughtan [email protected]

Gender and Human Resource Management

o Measuring Gender

Globally  implications for economy, business, HRM

o Gender and Work

in Japan (and Korea)

o Gender and Work in MENA (GCC)

Measuring Gender Globally o Gender has become an important measurement in the

assessment of social progress and economic development

o eg: World Economic Forum “Global Gender Gap Report”

has been measuring and ranking country progress in gender

equality since 2006 based on key indicators:

(a) educational attainment

(b) health and survival

(c) political empowerment

(d) economic participation and opportunity

o How to measure economic opportunities?

 female-male labour force participation rates

 female-male income values

 female-male ratios in senior positions

 female-male ratios in professional/technical sectors

Global Performance on Gender Gap WEF, 2017

o No country in the world has

fully closed the gender gap

completely, but the Nordic

countries show strongest

performance for some years

o UK = 15 / 144 countries

o What about East Asia?

o Japan = 114; Korea = 118

o China = 100

o What about MENA region?

Gender Gap: The top performing nations

Gender: the MENA region (WEF 2017)

o In the MENA region,

only Israel has closed

over 70% of the gender

gap, but region as a

whole has closed almost

60% of gap

o MENA region ranks last

globally on overall


o Only 40% of economic

index closed and only

9% of political index


Gender: the MENA region (WEF 2017)

Why Gender Diversity in an Economy Matters?

o Studies suggest greater gender equality in workforce contributes to

increased GDP (and increased profitability for business)

o As women become more economically independent, they become

significant consumers of goods and services

(e.g. women make purchasing decisions in households)

o Women are more likely than men to invest a larger proportion of

household income in education and health of children

o As economies age, labour force and talent shortages emerge;

integration of women is key to promoting sustainability and


o Studies show that in an economy and society where it is relatively

easy for women to combine work and parenting, there is higher

fertility and higher gender equality in employment

Gender Divide in Management Grant Thornton Women in Business

Report (2016) reveals

global average of 24% of senior

management positions held by


• Even in countries where FLPR is high, this does not mean high proportion of

females in senior business roles

• Indicates there are significant barriers to women progressing through the

business (and public sector) pipeline to senior roles


Japan and South Korea lag behind other nations with lowest

percentage of female representation on boards in the

Asia Pacific region…

Women in Management Positions in Asia-Pacific

The problem of pipeline progression

Despite good educational attainment and entry into employment and

professions, there is low levels of pipeline progression to middle and

senior management in firms (and in the public sector)

What factors are driving the Gender Gap?

• Women tend to predominate in

specific sectors of employment e.g.

teaching and nursing

• These tend to be lower paid

„feminised‟ sectors of an economy

Women also predominate in „part time‟ employment due to

requirements for caring responsibilities (part-time = less pay)

“Women work average 39 days a year more than men” (WEF Report 2016)

 Women work on average 50 minutes more a day than men

 Men do 34% more paid work than women, but women still spend more of their

time on unpaid work such as

housework, childcare and

care for older people

What factors are driving the Gender Gap?

 In only 6 countries do men work

more hours than women

 Notably 3 of these are Nordic

countries where parental leave can

be shared relatively evenly

between men and women

 Japan: culture of long working

hours for men

GAP in

„economic‟ work


„domestic‟ work

Challenges for Gender in the Workplace

Factors affecting parenting & work:

 societal gender norms relating to caring roles in family

 access to remote and flexible working (in firms / legislation)

 commitment to work as criteria for career advancement

 distance from workplace and commuting times

 urbanisation & intergenerational family support structures

 cost and availability of childcare

Challenges for Gender in the Workplace

Factors affecting career paths to managerial roles:

gender bottlenecks from mid-managerial level (parenthood links)

women more likely to work way up over time

men more likely to be hired in at mid-senior level positions

women don‟t put themselves forward for „stretch‟ assignments

„male‟ traits of „rationality‟ and „level headedness‟ = leader traits

women can‟t or don‟t want to „work like men‟

Challenges for Gender in the Workplace

Factors affecting gender bias:

lack of female role-models and workplace „champions‟

workplace culture viewed as male-dominated or male-oriented

direct discrimination (e.g. sexual harassment)

unconscious bias (e.g. men listened to more in meetings; men given stretch assignments due to availability to work longer hours)

Challenges for Gender in the Workplace

Gender difference in „networking‟:

some industries retain „old boy‟ networks

after-work commitments more tricky for women (parents)

men more likely to use non-work events for networking eg: sport

our regions: wasta and guanxi more likely to be prioritised for

sons before daughters

Challenges for Gender in the Workplace

Recommendations & Solutions


o Implement equality legislation; invest in childcare infrastructure

o Monitor gender equality; encourage diversity quotas or targets

o Facilitate shared parental leave; Break down gender norms

(e.g. men and childcare leave / men and work-life balance)


o Invest in diversity and inclusion; Consider positive action

o Reconsider „criteria‟ and KPIs for leadership and promotion

o implement mentoring and coaching; encourage flexible working

Women & Men:

o push ourselves out of comfort zone; put ourselves forward for

„stretch‟ positions; challenge workplace bias

Role of HRM functions in promoting gender diversity

ensure equal employment opportunities and legislation in place

accessibility of management tracks (equal opportunities)

encouragement of women back into workforce (retention)

provision of career breaks & refresher training (e.g. parental policies,

re-training programmes and work-life flexibility )

quotas and targets (pros and cons)

Focused mentoring of women and assessment of barriers

 including men in the gender challenge

 changing workplace practice for men too

How can companies encourage greater gender balance in management?

equality of







agenda mentoring

for male and female employees

Gender Dynamics at Work

in Japan (and Korea)

 Japan long considered an advanced economy, but attitudes to gender and equality have lagged behind other advanced nations (and in Asia Pacific East Asia region more broadly)

Japan’s Post-War Gendered Employment System

 Graduate recruitment

 Lifetime employment

 Seniority wages/promotion

 Internal market for senior jobs

 Welfare/bonus packages in pay

Male = ‘breadwinner’

 Graduate (tracked) recruitment

 „Temporary‟ employment

 „Retirement‟ at marriage/childbirth

 (Re)employment as part-time

 „Supplementary‟ income for household

Female = ‘dependent’

Male Employment System Female Employment System

 A fixed and immobile market,

but with strong guarantees

 A flexible and mobile market,

but with limited guarantees

Japan’s Male Labour Force Participation Rate : 1960-2015

The Upside Down


 Male participation rate is

high in Japan

(low unemployment)

 Little change over last 50


 Men have little choice but

to work throughout their lives

High continuous

employment is KPI in Japan

Japan’s Female Labour Force Participation Rate : 1960-2015

 M-curve pattern (which has shifted

up and to the right)

 Increase in numbers of „older‟

women working (second peak in M)

 Fewer women dropping out in

their 30s (flattening of dip in M)

(but fewer children born)

 But, some 20-30% of women not

working in their key productive

years (compared to only 5% of

Japanese men)

The M-Curve in Japan and Korea












15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64








 M-curve is

phenomenon in

Japan & Korea

 Trend towards

upside down U



 Signifies


are a barrier to


employment for

women in key

years 25-40 in J/K

Source: FLPR by Age, Selected countries, OECD, 2014 data

Japan S. Korea

Japan and Korea – similar gender context

• Both have demographic trend of low birth rate (Korea lowest in OECD) and rapidly aging population

• Women are well educated but only half of Korean women with a university level education are in the


• Both have M-shaped pattern of FLFP

• In both countries, women continue to drop out of the labour force to marry and raise children in their prime

working age

• Both countries have very low proportion of women in senior management positions

Increased participation of women could boost Japan’s GDP by as

much as 13-15% overall and by 1% annually in South Korea

Female Labour in an International Context











Source OECD 2013, Female Labour Force Participation Rate (%), 15-64 years, 2013

Gender Difference in Status of Work in Japan

Source: JILPT, 2014

Gender difference

in regular labour




are non-






2.2 4

3.1 4

3.3 6.7 3.2

1.2 2.2 0.6 0.5 1







Males Females


Temporary workers

Transferred workers

Entrusted employees

Other non-reg





 Non-regular contracts come with less pay but also less hours

Gender Equality is on Japan’s Political Agenda

o PM Abe backing „Womenomics‟ since Autumn 2013

(third arrow Abenomics)

 30% targets for women in senior roles

 reduction of childcare waiting lists

Challenges for Japanese Women

Continuous employment for working mothers

Source: JILPT 2014

3.1 3.4 3.8 4.1 5.2

35.5 34.6 32.8 28.5 24.1

37.4 37.7 39.3 40.6 43.9

18.3 16.3 13 11.9 9.7

5.7 8.1 11.2 14.8 17.1












Continued employment

(with child care leave)

Continued employment

(without childcare


Resignation for


Unemployed before



 Proportion of women

taking childcare leave

increasing, but high

proportion of women

continue to quit jobs upon

marriage or childbirth (68%) (2.6% men take childcare leave)

Employers value

continuous employment and

commitment to determine


opportunities (Women = 11.6% recruits into

main career track 2012)

Culturally difficult for men to take parental leave http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2016/01/13/issues/mothers-


Challenges for Japanese Women Spousal tax constrains efficient allocation of female labour

within family

 Married women who keep their income under ¥1.03m pay no income tax

and social security, and husband gets income tax deduction

 Provides employers a legitimate excuse to pay low salaries to women and

focus core compensation around male-breadwinner needs

 Contributes to disincentives for women to pursue full-time work / careers

There is a cluster of some

14 million married women at the

optimum ¥1.03m yen ceiling

Failure of „men who do childcare‟


Japan’s Corporate Challenge re Gender

Japanese „cultural‟ work practices are slow to embrace diversity

 Japanese corporations still value a core linear (seniority) career model

 Firms value long working hours; Clients value „after hours‟ dedication

(only 20% of firms allow reduced hours system for regular employees)

 Shorter hours model of work reserved for mothers (reinforces gendering)

 Lack of female role models in leadership positions

 Women don‟t put them selves forward for promotion

 Remote working not viewed as viable or secure solution

 Unrealistic goals set to be seen to comply with Abe‟s 20-30 targets

 Diversity in question: not viewed as a competitive strength ?

Key Issues…

•“Womenomics” is a „top-down‟ pressure from government aimed at executive 30% targets rather than a „bottom-up‟ social action for


•Japanese employee management has in the past focused on notions of homogeneity and the group – a „one size fits all‟ mentality

•There is a need to shift Japanese HRM to a system that values a diverse mix of experience, skills, individuality

•Diversity is not about „adding‟ women (and others) to the current system

 the agenda of gender in Japan should include men too

understand that flexible working and work-life balance is not just

for women, but can benefit men too

Evaluation of Gender and HRM in Japan

The Social Challenge

“Husbands should work full time while their wives stay at home”

Response Agreement (2014): average 40% agree

Married men: 42.5% Married women: 46.1%

Unmarried men: 34.2% Unmarried women: 37.9%

Respondents aged 20s to 40s, Survey : Meiji Yasuda Institute of Life & Wellbeing

Social attachment to gender norms and male-female roles

o Women still expect men to be the core bread-winner

o Japanese women can‟t / don‟t want to work like Japanese men

 Promote shorter, more efficient working days (core hours) as „policy‟

 Schedule decision-making meetings in core working hours (e.g. 10-4)

 Allow for flexibility around the core - technology and remote working

 Flexible working for men too (study, training, parenting, family-care)

 Ensure mothers returning to work after maternity can access career tracks

 Invest in childcare initiatives

 Allow for flexibility in linear career track – allow for career pauses

 Encourage participation and voice of all workers regardless of status

e.g. remove „status‟ barriers – regular vs. non-regular employees

 Focus groups for employee feedback

Potential Strategies for Japanese companies

The case for Gender Equality in Japan

Demographic Shrinking labour force;

Talent shortage;

Low fertility trap;

Dependency Ratios

 need for dual income households

Economic Increased gender equality promotes, in addition

to GDP,

corporate performance, diversity, creativity and


Wellbeing Opportunities for work-life balance for men and


• The LPR for Korean women aged 20-to-24 was almost 55% in 2014 compared with 44% for men

•  A good sign of progress for women ...?

• NB: the figures are skewed by compulsory military service, which removes young men from the workforce for almost two years

• After this, the trend reverses as women hit their 30s and leave the workforce to have children

FLPR for Young Women in Korea increasing

Korea is seeking to redress status of female workers

• The share of regular female workers (within total female labour force) in Korea

rose from 20% in 1990  40% in 2010

(in contrast to Japan where non-regular female

employment has increased)

• One cause of change in Korea  2007 employment legislation change limits the

employment period for fixed-term workers to a

maximum of two years in order to encourage a

conversion of non-regular workers to regular workers

(Japan just enacted similar law in 2015)

• OECD reports suggest 1% would be added to South Korea's GDP growth annually if the female participation rate equalled that of men

• The government has set targets for the ratio of female managers in central ministries and state-run enterprises, and plans to reflect

those results in the organizations' yearly evaluations

•  It aims to have female managers make up at least 15 % of central government and 18.6 % in state enterprises by 2017.

"The targets aren't unrealistic," a government spokesperson said.

"The government isn't saying promote women just to match the

target. We're trying to help women who are capable, but have been

excluded from promotion just because of their gender."

Gender Targets and Initiatives in Korea

• The government gives loans or subsidies to business to build childcare facilities, and more than half of all business are now

providing these

• It also pays subsidies to businesses that offer more than 30 days of childcare leave a year, allow women to work less than full time, and

re-employ women returning from maternity leave

Any problems with these initiatives ?

 Focused on women as solely responsible for childcare?

 What about men and work ?

 Doesn’t attempt to change the ‘long hours work culture’ ?

Gender Targets and Initiatives in Korea

Challenges for Working Women in Korea

• Women in Korea face great pressure to leave their jobs and raise their children once they have a family

 In response, the government gives loans or subsidies to business

to build childcare facilities, and more than half of all business are

now providing these (but expensive for business and doesn‟t always

reduce social pressures ?)

• 70% of women in a recent survey said that females in senior management positions find it hard to maintain a balance between

their family life and professional requirements, because long

hours is the norm in Korea's work environment

• Also, over half of the female executives in the survey say that they and their peers lack the necessary networking skills to

integrate into male executives' networks

M-Curve in

Japan and


Employment of Women in China

A tension remains…

o Communist regime has considered women to be equal

o Chinese women have high rates of labour participation

o Anti-discrimination law exists for women‟s employment


o Recognised that women have subordinate position in employment, arising from deeply entrenched Confucian- based hierarchy values in Chinese society

o Women face barriers (e.g. discriminatory recruitment adverts and unofficial quotas)

o Existing legislation is weakly enforced; move away from state employment has weakened protection of women

Overview Of Employment Discrimination In China

o 85.5% of women have experienced discrimination or observed it

o Employment discrimination in China - overt and blatant.

o China has problems tackling employment discrimination through its existing legal system.

o These problems include:

o 1. The limitation of Chinese laws

o 2. Difficulty in filing lawsuits in courts

Diversity Management in China

o China has 16.8% of women in managerial positions,

which ranked 58 in the world (2015)

o Sexual harassment is a growing problem (40% of women experienced

sexual harassment in the workplace)

o Employment Discrimination against Migrant Peasant Workers

Gender and HRM


The Employment of Women in MENA

Some broad underlying factors...

In many MENA countries there is a strong relation

between public sector priorities combined with family-level

constraints resulting in low female participation

Equality legislation is not strong agenda in MENA

Women are less able to migrate for work or utilise

wasta connections to find employment

Increased opportunities for female employment but…

Channeled into clerical, teaching and nursing (female sector) jobs

Priority given to male employment first (e.g. at recruitment)

When recruitment tightens, females tend to stay in queue

(e.g. for government sector jobs) much longer than men

„Career women‟ tend to work for state sector or NGOs

rather than private sector or MNCs

Case Study: Women in the GCC

o The GCC has higher female labour force participation than other

countries in the MENA region

o However, Saudi Arabia is the exception in the GCC, with one of

the lowest rates of female participation in MENA

Female Labour Participation Rates in the GCC

NB: higher

rates in

UAE, Qatar

and Kuwait

are partly

driven by

inclusion of



e.g. other MENA: Jordan: 23% Egypt: 22% Lebanon: 22%


from education to employment

o Women in the GCC are as well educated as men

o 28% of women and 22% of men enrol in tertiary education

o However, well educated women remain a significant,

under-utilised talent pool

o There is a mismatch between education and employment

 progress in employment not as rapid as progress in education

o In the KSA, 78% of unemployed women have a tertiary

degree (compared to 17% of unemployed men)

 Education for girls is not always directed at

or linked to future employment ?

• Employment equality legislation is not a priority for government

• This could be due to the high presence of expatriate labour and the

protection of employment for nationals ?

• The issue of female guardianship can impact on employment of

women particularly in KSA but also in other nations e.g. Jordan

• In the KSA: all public organisations employing women must

provide separate work spaces and facilities for women and men

• Women need support of male relatives to sign employment

contracts or set up a business

 Acts as a disincentive

to employ women ?

Challenges: socio-legislative barriers

Lowest rates of women in top management positions

Challenges: from employment to leadership

• All GCC countries have shown signs of progress, but employment

ratios – particularly in positions of leadership – remain low

• Women tend to make it to positions of leadership when there is top

down support from male leaders (and from the state)


 Strong family and social expectations of women results in the

double-burden syndrome for women in the GCC

 These social expectations are enhanced by the

„anytime, anywhere‟ corporate performance model

 There are limited networking opportunities for women and

few female leader role models for women

But, Signs of progress for women in GCC



o Opportunity to utilise a well-educated but under-utilised female

pool of labour ?

o Could improve creativity and innovation of business?

o Alleviate the over-reliance on imported expatriate labour?

o Further promote and protect „nationalisation‟ employment


o Create sustainable sectors of employment?

Impetus for gender progress in GCC ?

A Framework for approaching HRM in Japan




Group vs


in the workplace

„Regular‟ vs




Population Gender



Hierarchy Economic






Employee Legislation

Employee Legislation

A Framework for approaching HRM in China

Presence of

FIEs & JVs Political System Role of SOEs

Large & Diverse

Labour Pool

urban vs rural

Guanxi &







trends & Gender





Employee Legislation

Employee Legislation

Framework for approaching HRM in MENA?




Public Sector


Private Sector

Range of

Countries in


Wasta & other

cultural values

Influence of


Local Workers


„Expat‟ Workers


Trends &





Level of inward


Employee Legislation

Employee Legislation

Tutorial Presentations for Week 8 - Gender and HRM

Key Readings:

McKinsey Report (October 2017) "Women Matter: Ten years of insights on gender

diversity". Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/gender-


Male Champions of Change (Nov 2018) “A Gender Equal Future of Work”

(particularly pages 1-10) Available at: http://malechampionsofchange.com/wp-


Discussion Questions:

(1) How can companies enable women‟s participation and equality in the

organisation? What are key barriers for women in the workplace?

(2) What about men? How can companies engage and involve men in the

gender equality agenda? What activities can organisations implement to

ensure gender equality and how can men be agents of change („champions‟)

for gender equality?