On Monday, 22nd March, Blue Dart announced that it is all set to launch its first ‘Women Service Centre’ in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. From managers, customer service representatives, security personnel, to sales and counter staff, all the roles in this service centre will be carried out by women.
The all-women service centre’s team will initially comprise 16 women.
Blue Dart’s Managing Director, Balfour Manuel, said in his statement, “With our ‘People First Philosophy’ at the forefront of our business, all our people (gender, age, race, caste no bar) continue to be a priority within the organisation.”
Manuel notes that Blue Dart has now become the Gold Standard of Express Logistics in India. He says that this honour would not have been possible without the contributions of women on their team. The company has always supported and encouraged their women staff to run their functions independently, he asserts.
“We have nurtured strong women who have seized every opportunity that has come their way and fulfilled their roles and responsibilities to the fullest,” Manuel says.
Is Launching One Women-Run Centre Enough To Ensure A Diverse Work Culture?
According to a study conducted by Intel-Zinnov in 2020, significant gender disparity continues to exist in Indian workplaces. Women’s representation is 31% and 26% in non-technical and technical roles, respectively, according to their study. Women were still the first to be laid off during the job crisis caused by the pandemic.
The Egon Zehnder Global Diversity Report 2020, found that women hold 17% of board positions in corporate India. They also occupy only 11% leadership roles, while the global number stands at 27.3%.
The Companies Act, 2013 had made it mandatory for company boards to have at least one woman on them. However, this has translated more into token representation on paper, than holistic gender diversity and inclusivity in practice.
Having one all-women run centre that will undoubtedly make the news, then, cannot be the answer to truly diverse representation. What we need is for organisations to implement actual changes in their workplace. We need more women being hired with equal pay, equal access to hierarchical mobility, and equal value assigned to them.
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Blue Dart recognises the need for this holistic change, and in addition to the all-women run centre in Navi Mumbai, they say they have plans to initiate more women into the Blue Dart Family everywhere.
In India, Blue Dart’s next step is to launch another service centre in Andheri, that is set to operate at 70% women team capacity.
Balfour Manuel asserts that with Blue Dart’s wide-ranging customer base, that requires a diverse workforce that can relate to and understand each customer demographic, diversity is of paramount importance to them.
Here’s hoping that more organisations lay the groundwork for genuine gender representation, diversity and inclusion at the workplace, and an all-women run centre is as normal and commonplace in a few years, as an all-men run centre would be!
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