Dear Seniors, Please suggest to me the solution to hiring a female designer in the factory.

We are a shoe manufacturing organization. Last year, as a part of CSR with educational institute, our management sponsored two students for foreign visit with Rs.800,000/-. Institute also signed an agreement with us that sponsored students after completion of studies, will join our organization for one year at RS.30,000/- per month salary. The students are female and have done an internship with us for two months a couple of months back.

In our factory, there are no female working presently. In this situation, adjusting two female designers and making proper administrative arrangements for them is a difficult thing. Now, our management wants to decide, whether:

a)- should we recruit those students in employment or not. (This is our discretion).

b)- should we place them in the factory environment or ask them to do R&D while working at their home.

Kindly guide me in this matter.

From Pakistan
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Vivian Chandrashekar
Aast. Gen. Manager-hr
Sr. Hr Executive @ Polymerupdate
Shilpi Chakraborty
Manager - Ta
+1 Other

Dinesh Divekar

Dear Tariq,

Your company has done heavy investment in grooming the students. Therefore, it makes sense to utilise their skills and knowledge for your company's advantage.

Your main problem is the gender of the students. Now a days workforce diversity is heavily promoted everywhere. In fact MNCs keep count of men:women ratio as well. All-male employees is half-century old hat. Why you want to wear that now in 21st century? Entry of two women staffs, take it as a beginning. Start recruitment of further women staff as well. Please remember famous statement, "diversity breeds dynamism". As long as any employees is able to meet the deliverables, then you should not look at the gender. Secondly, who knows these very women may come up with some better idea in future.

Since these are women (please do not use the word 'female'. Male/female is biological description and business etiquettes demand not to refer biologically to anybody), all that is required for you to make separate arrangement for their wash room. If your company can spend Rs 8,00,000 and send them abroad for studies, then is raising separate restroom facility is that difficult?

However, I have a note of caution too. Your employees are habituated of working in all-men atmosphere. Therefore, loose tongues could be wagging or crass jokes could be made openly. This could embarrass new women employees. Issue the instructions on how to behave at workplace or even conduct training on "workplace etiquettes". Secondly, safety of women employees is also important. Therefore, keep ready policy on sexual harassment also at hand.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Shilpi Chakraborty

Dear Dinesh,
Its a pleasure getting all your valuable suggestions.... I must say u turn all complexity into simplicity...
I do read all your comments....
Thanks for sharing your valuable ideas and keep us healthy professional...
Regards, Shilpi

From India, Bangalore
Dinesh Divekar

Dear Shilpi,

Thanks for your compliments. My focus is on other needy members of this forum. Rather than copying and pasting some articles from other websites, I prefer solving problems of the needy members by giving my divergent views. Rather than harping on "knowledge sharing", alike me, members like (Cite Contribution), Tajsateesh, Saiconsult also provide their meaty comments on what comes to the table.

Good to note that you found "value" in my reply. Hope the originator of the post also finds the value.

In fact I have missed two important points. One is that when women find entry in "all-men" company, there is every chance of them being treated with kids gloves. However, that mistake Tariq's company should not do. It may set a bad trend. Women should be treated at par with men and there should not be any let up in their deliverables or working hours etc.

Secondly, Tariq's company should give chance for women to work. Sparing a chunk of money for CSR activities is not the only way of serving the society. A society is served in real purpose when women have equal power as that of men. Therefore, "women employment" is a step towards "women empowerment". Hope management of Tariq's company takes into account this important factor.

Lastly, please provide me your contact details. I would like to interact with you. My contact details are given in previous comments.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore

Hello Tariq,

Your citing reminded me of a letter from Sudha Murthy to the Late Shri JRD.

She was an engineer and was an exceptional student who performed well academically than most male students. But she was disturbed when one of the placement ads by Tatas mentioned "Females need not apply" when she posted a letter to him asking for the justification on gender bias. She was called for interview and was answered on her question on lines as below.

"The workplace has mostly male workers. We have never had a female working. We thought it would be odd to appoint one in such working environment. However if you can boldly take it up, we do not have any issue."

You can read this on Letter to JRD Tata -by Sudha Murthy | Sulekha Creative

The reason I mentioned this was your case is quite similar.

You have a workplace employed mostly by males and now you have the 2 female sponsored students.

My suggestions and view point -

1. While you gave sponsorship to the college, you had asked the institute that the sponsored students would be working with you for stipulated time frame at so and so salary.

Perhaps the same was communicated to the sponsored students and they might be tension free to know they have secured a job once they finish schooling.

Just for your goodwill sake, withdrawing the offers (that too only on the grounds that they are females) is not right.

Apart, gender discrimination would be initiated if you do so. Hence one needs to be very careful tackling such situation.

2. I understand that working in a workplace which is full of males, would be a little awkward situation for a female. Perhaps you are into dilemma as you're concerned for them, but the matter of the fact lies, we cannot stop them.

I suugest-

You mentioned they have completed their internship with your firm. So they must have good some idea about your work culture, workforce, manpower, the colleagues they'd have, office time and policies, etc.

Why not call them and ask them if they would be comfortable working in this situation.

Try to have a friendly chat and discuss their internship experience. Ask them if they have had any issues.

Ask them what can be done in order that you can make your firm a better place even for female candidates, if they join in future.

After all general talks, ask if she would be comfortable on board after her schooling and ask her to be honest and answer it frankly. Tell her that her answer won't give a negative impact on her.

Hope it helped. :-)

From India, Mumbai

Dear Tariq,

I am neither an HR expert nor one that knows the culture of Pakistan an Islamic country. I am sure even within Pakistan it depends upon where the organisation is situated, reading the news in Dawn e-newspaper. As Ankita Shaw has pointed out, I also would like to know what happend in the two months that the students worked as internees. Did you make any special provision for their needs? Did the male workers behave well?

It all depends upon the culture of the organisation and the management. I recall an incident years ago. An Asian worker had applied for a Productivity Analyst role in a company. The job was in Glasgow, Scotland. In the interview, he was asked how will he manage as the workers were ex-dock workers who were prejudiced against foreighners. As he had not experienced prjudice before he answered that he has not faced any in different environment. In the end they did not appoint him, for the fear that the workers may not accept him. Those were the days when there was no Equal Opportunity legislation.

I do not know the law of Pakistan, but if what happened to Malala is any indication, I would suggest that you have to tread carefully. Many organisations allow people to work from home. If they can deliver what is expected of them by working from home; that can be an initial solution.

From United Kingdom
Vivian Chandrashekar

Dear Tariq,
Nice to know that you have taken initiate to do something to ensure women work in your factory.
1. The factory is generally located out side city. Women are not comfortable to travel long distance when they have other avenues in the city or near the place of their stay. Hence you may have to look women who are really in need of job or who stay nearby and train them.
2. A responsible Officer of your factory should be entrusted to ensure their requirement are taken care like wash room, food or snacks given on time.
3. Check if they have any traveling issue and sort them out.
4. Above all, they need some one who can share there problems and resolve them which may be missing in your factory or they are isolated from the rest thereby suffocating them.
5. In fact, many factories have one or two women employee's but management take proper care.
See what is missing and you can able to get required female employee.
All the best.

From India, Bangalore

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