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Period-holiday and ‘No Personal Questions’ Policy During Interviews for Women Workforce: KelpHR

KelpHR, a pioneering organisation formed in 2013 with a vision to build a safe, happy, and inclusive workplaces through best-in-class HR practices, hosted a virtual panel discussion on the topic ‘Are we building a bias-free Ecosystem for Women‘ on March 8, 2022. Among panelists that participated in the discussion were Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal – Producer, Director & Stage Actor, Pratibha Girish – Founder- Finwise Personal finance Solutions, Ashok GV – Lawyer, Partner – Factum Law and Smita Shetty Kapoor – CEO & CO-Founder, KelpHR. The conversation brought to light several hidden biases against women in our society and workplaces ranging from the financial, legal, media & entertainment to the human skills perspective.

“KelpHR works with more than 700 organizations across India and 99.9% of these corporates want to create a safe workplace for all – women, men, and the third gender in India. Personal questions have very little impact on the work efficiency of women and corporates should abstain from asking any personal questions when they interview a prospective woman employee. In KelpHR, we promote this culture inside and even outside when we advise external organizations on their HR practises. Corporates need to create a credible ecosystem in which individuals feel confident of the support of the organisation and feel free to grow in a bias-free environment. For example, period-holidays must become a norm at the workplace and women should take a day off each month when they get their period,” said Smita Shetty Kapoor, CEO & Co-founder of KelpHR.

The panelists also discussed stereotypes associated with women in the society such as women not being able financial decision-makers, lack of talented women writers and producers in entertainment, the treatment of women victims in sexual harassment cases, representation of transgenders, the corporate process of interviewing women employees adding personal questions related to marriage and kids, etc.

“In a country with a population like ours, women are not represented well at all. I strongly believe mindsets need to change, but they can’t change with the ideal image of Seeta that today’s television shows so ardently broadcast. To break away, we need not ‘do‘ the things we are doing today. In India, we sell everything through sex, objectifying women. And yet, it is surprising parents won’t sit down and talk about sex education with their children. We need to voice out biases because silence is equal to death,” said Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal – Producer, Director & Stage Actor.

The panelists concluded by saying that women must take charge of their life, work, financial independence, and more. They should love themselves and stand up for themselves and present a united front. They should talk and reach out – share, support, and survive. As a society, we also need to work on changing our mindset. Change needs to happen in a singular unit and then snowball into a society shift.

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