HYDERABAD: It’s not generalisation but the fact that women at workplaces face discrimination in different ways both subtly and explicitly is troublesome, and it comes as a boon when a workplace offers gender inclusivity. That’s how IKEA India that won the Asia Pacific UN Women Award for the most gender-inclusive workplace has women who share their stories of meeting the clients and feeling at home.
Shares Indraja Gantrathwar, customer fulfilment coworker at IKEA Hyderabad store who joined in May 2018, “I am confident there is no job that women can’t do. I started my journey as a service coworker. I got to know about the vacancy from an acquaintance, in spite of being from a non-retail background I applied for the role and got selected, the organisation gave me adequate training to become fit for my role. As part of my tasks, I used to visit a customer’s house to assemble the products, it was a different and good experience for me. Soon after I was promoted as a customer fulfilment coworker.”
Her daily tasks entail processing online orders, packing and picking of products for delivery and sometimes operating forklift, too. She was the first child among the three siblings to get a job and that too in a global company. To this adds, Parineeta Cecil Lakra, Country People and Culture Manager, IKEA India, “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are at the heart of IKEA’s business. To reach true equality, we focus both on the diversity of our workforce and on fostering a culture of inclusion into our work environment. Our gender inclusion goals aim at providing an inclusive work environment for all coworkers. Today we are close to our 50 per cent gender diversity goal across our business operations. We have 60 per cent of women in our management team and 50 per cent of women managers. Along with daycare centres for all our coworkers, we also have a six months parental policy for both men and women.”
Mohini Chetanya, Business risk and compliance and safety security manager at IKEA Hyderabad store joined the organisation in 2018 after having served in the aviation industry for seven years. She says, “I was hired as a risk and compliance manager and soon after was promoted to manage the safety security vertical too. I manage a team of 150 security personnel, 20% of whom are women. In the purview of gender equality, where other corporates follow the government guideline of providing transport only to women clocking out at 9 pm or after; the organisation believes that safety is for both men and women and hence, provides transport to both the genders. Every staff member is trained in every task and is not bifurcated as ‘only for women’ or ‘only for men’. Women at IKEA operate forklifts, handle pallets and function on heavy machinery, there is no disparity in work between the genders.”
— Saima Afreen