In India, around four in five working women (or 85%) claim to have missed out on a raise, promotion, or work offer because of their gender, reveals a new report by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. The Opportunity Index 2021 report, which seeks to understand how people perceive opportunities and the barriers that stand in the way of achieving them, states that more women in India have experienced the impact of gender on career development when compared to the APAC region.

Furthermore, the report also brought to light that nine in 10 (or 89%) women who were surveyed said that they were negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Gender inequality at work and added domestic responsibilities amid the pandemic have collectively made women’s jobs more vulnerable at this time,” says Ruchee Anand, Director, Talent and Learning Solutions, India at LinkedIn. “As Covid-19 continues to widen these gaps, this year’s LinkedIn Opportunity Index report suggests that it is the need of the hour for organisations to reimagine their diversity practices and offer greater flexibility to caregivers, in order to increase female participation in the workforce.”

LinkedIn commissioned an independent market research firm, GfK, to conduct this research between January 26 to 31, 2021. The survey was conducted among 18 to 65 year olds via an online survey. It had more than 10,000 respondents across the Asia Pacific region, from Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore.

According to the report, about 66% of respondents in India felt that gender equality had improved compared to their parents’ generation. But when asked about their reasons for being unhappy with opportunities to advance in their careers, one in five (or 22%) working women in India said their companies exhibited a ‘favourable bias’ towards men at work, when compared to the regional average of 16%.

In India, the top three work goals sought by both men and women are job security, a job that they love, and good work-life balance. But despite having similar goals, more women (63%) think a person’s gender is important to get ahead in life, when compared to men (54%).

The LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2021 also highlighted the difference in perception of available opportunities in the market for men and women in India. While 37% of India’s working women say they get fewer opportunities than men, only 25% of men agree with this. This disparity in perception is also seen in conversations about equal pay, as more women (37%) say they get less pay than men, while only 21% men share this sentiment.

“Reduced and flexible schedules, more sabbaticals, and new opportunities to upskill and learn are critical offerings that can help organisations attract, hire, and retain more female talent,” adds Anand.

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