April 9, 2024

Challenges in Implementing Equality and Diversity Policies and Practices in India

Equality and Diversity Policies and Practices in India

Challenges in implementing equality and diversity policies and practices in India



Multinational corporations (MNCs) play an integral role in the increase of globalization. Since countries depend on each other for trade, capital flow, and product manufacturing, it can be said that there is now an economic interdependence (Zafar Iqbal et al. 2020) between nations that is satisfied through these organizations. MNCs often employ a diverse workforce to exhibit an inclusive working environment, raise employee morale, and increase productivity as well as popularity.

Diversity refers to the differences in class, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, thoughts, experience, etc. that make each person unique (Wang & McLean, 2015). Human resource management is crucial for the smooth functioning and consequent success of any organization, especially a multi-national corporation, as these involve cross-cultural workspaces. It holds the fate of any company in its hands, as it has the potential to construct a stronghold within the company through a flawless internal organization or lead it to complete ruin through improper management.


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The cultural and demographic differences within a workforce are addressed under diversity management, which includes the formal processes and policies implemented by an organization to promote organizational culture change about diversity (Wentling & Nilda, 2000). While it is possible that a system with a diverse workforce could produce better economic benefits (Ferley, Hartley, & Martin, 2003) and thus offer a competitive advantage against other organizations (Richard & Miller, 2013), managing diversity effectively is a daunting task. Exhibiting an understanding of the employee’s ethnic and personal variation and accommodating it through deliberate measures in the organizational framework and adopted policies optimizes employee commitment and contribution to organizational objectives.



As a diverse country with a multifaceted history and culture as well as a growing economy, India hosts a range of MNCs that contain an essentially heterogeneous workforce. Differences in education, language skills, caste, gender, religion, etc. are some of the factors that affect employment rates in India. Companies need to develop an organizational framework that is acceptable to the community with policies that address diversity equally when establishing themselves in a new region. Diversity management proves challenging in the fact that it requires people to set aside their ingrained prejudices towards the ‘other’, which is especially difficult in a country like India with its deep roots set in tradition and culture, and form a close relationship with each other as colleagues, worker-supervisors, or even employees-employers.


Developing countries such as India are unable to provide equal opportunities to their female workforce due to multiple reasons, such as ingrained ‘gender norms’, safety concerns, a lack of education, etc. Even so, MNCs in India are making an effort to provide equal employment opportunities regardless of gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities (Haq, 2014). Societal concerns about women staying out after dark led to adjustments being made to employee shift timing and the allocation of transportation services. Differences in wages based on gender and the possibility of experiencing sexual harassment are some other factors that hinder the female population from finding suitable employment. Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Indian Constitution ensure equality and personal liberty for every individual.

They protect a person from discrimination and abuse, including sexual harassment at workplaces. Providing improved maternity benefits, daycare facilities, safety and protection policies, etc. could help attract a wider female audience. Special recruitment drives by companies such as Capgemini that aim to promote employment among women with experience gaps as a result of marriage, pregnancy, etc. act as an ideal example for activities that encourage women’s empowerment in the corporate sector. By addressing surrogacy, adoption, and paternity breaks, it is clear that Capgemini has a strategic Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) management system at work.



The limited number of women employees occupying high managerial positions in corporations also portrays the existing patriarchal tendency in India. A lack of open-mindedness and acceptance toward positive change could lead to the internal disintegration of the company through intentional or non-intentional sabotage. It is therefore imperative that strategies to improve workforce diversity be carried out slowly and gradually while removing these stereotypes and prejudices. For example, with the technological advancements of the new century, the importance of physical strength has diminished considerably, which has been a favorable change for the average working woman (Ozler, 2000; Wood, 1991), who is generally considered petite when compared to their male counterparts.



Incorporating age diversity into the labor force is also a challenge for HRM since most companies operate in more technologically advanced fields. Organizations prefer the current and advanced skill sets of the younger generation since they tend to be more efficient and adept at work.

However, it is important to note that the older generation will be more experienced and could exhibit better decision-making and problem-solving skills. A well-managed age diversity therefore promotes better work ethics and increases productivity.


While drafting these policies and enacting activities to incorporate a diverse workforce, it is important to distinguish between support and favor. Supporting a discriminated community helps to uplift their morale by providing fair treatment and equal opportunity, whereas favoring any particular group will automatically indicate unequal treatment of the other. Human resource managers, therefore, are integral to developing an organizational framework that does not provide any group with an advantage but instead serves its entire workforce fairly.




To conclude, human resource management faces multiple challenges and difficulties, like those already discussed above, in implementing equality and diversity policies and practices in countries such as India, mostly due to the presence of internalized biases among employees and the community. While the complete eradication of said prejudices and biases seems to be an insurmountable task, it is a fact that there has been slow yet steady progress toward a more liberal mindset that truly accepts diversity. According to Farrer (2004), for organizations to succeed in the effective management of their diverse human resources, it is essential that they celebrate, value, and encourage said diversity.




  • Anon, 2021. Advancing Gender Balance at Capgemini. Capgemini India. [Accessed June 23, 2021].
  • Farrer, J., 2004. A practical approach to diversity. Industrial and Commercial Training, 36(4), 175-177.
  • Ferley, E., Hartley, J., & Martin, S., 2003. Changing public service organizations: current perspectives and prospects. British Journal of Management, 14(1), 1-14.
  • Haq, R., 2014. Equality and diversity in India: public versus private sector approaches to managing diversity in Indian organizations. International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work, pp.101–122.
  • Iqbal, Z. et al., Globalization and gender equality in terms of education and employment: A case of selected Asian developing countries. International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies, 11(2). [Accessed June 23, 2021].
  • Ozler, S., 2000. Export orientation and female share of employment: Evidence from Turkey. World Development, 28(7), 1239–1248.
  • Richard, O. C., & Miller, C. D., 2013. Considering diversity as a source of competitive advantage in organizations, In Q. M. Roberson (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Diversity and Work (pp. 239-250), Oxford University Press, New York, NY
  • Wang, J., & McLean, G. N., 2015. Promoting diversity in India: Where do we go from here? Advances in Developing Human Resources, 1-12 doi: 1523422315614930.
  • Wentling, R. M., & Nilda, P. R., 2000. Current status of diversity initiatives in selected multinational corporations. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 11(1) 35-60.
  • Wood, A., 1991. North-South trade and female labor in manufacturing: An asymmetry. Journal of Development Studies, 27(2), 168–189.


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