Open | 11 Mar, 2019
The best way to change society and the underlying issues is to channelize the power of woman in every walk of life” is a famous adage, oft quoted to celebrate the spirit of womanhood and their immense contribution to society. Yet another affirmation is the Chinese proverb, ‘’Women hold up half the sky’’ symbolising the power, persistence, courage, truth and pride of women, inspiring them to step into their calling and aspire for greatness.
On International Women’s Day (March 8), which is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action, we dwell on the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s a big day for inspiration and change. What better day to herald the accomplishments of women in the workplace, with specific emphasis on this year’s theme – ‘Balance for better’!
A champion of equal opportunity, Bharat Petroleum strongly believes that employees are its most valuable asset and professional growth of its workforce is critical to sustained business growth. As respect for human rights and dignity is deeply entrenched into the organization’s DNA, ample opportunities are proffered to empower, energise and enthuse women. BPCL continually launches new initiatives, celebrates women’s achievements and encourages women to shoulder additional responsibilities, aspire for senior positions and eventually break the proverbial glass ceiling ! “I think the key is for women not to set any limits,” said Martina Navratilova. Well, the sky is the limit for BPCL women, as they head several critical functions like Internal Audit, Legal, Employee Satisfaction Enhancement, Hindi as well as HR and Finance roles in various businesses.
BPCL has also taken progressive steps to promote the development of women employees through cross functional rotation, exposure to field jobs, gender sensitization sessions and managerial role effectiveness workshops. Recognizing the challenges that working women face, most women in BPCL perform office related roles, with fixed work timings. For those who work in plant locations / field roles, care is taken to ensure that they don’t work on night shifts or assigned duties at remote work points.
BPCL is extremely committed to providing a conducive and woman friendly work environment. To highlight the importance accorded to empowerment of women, BPCL has conducted programs on visioning, health /fitness, interpersonal relationships, effective parenting with values, role modeling and disciplining children, life management skills, women rights, competitions on rangoli making, collage making, essay writing, etc. and fun sports meets. Self Defence Workshops focus on four critical elements of self-defence – attitude, awareness, avoidance and action.
Workshops on ‘Empowering Women’ deal with various facets of challenges and opportunities women face at the workplace, the dilemmas of work life balance and their career paths. Besides, walkathons urge women to imbibe good habits and keep fit, cooking competitions focus on healthy food, educational sessions are held on housekeeping, gardening, and health talks advise them on how to maintain a stress free life. An unique workshop, ‘Dance Movement Therapy- Turning into Life’s Rhythm’ channelized feminine energy and creative expression, making participants feel comfortable in their own body type and structure, improve their self-esteem, let go of physical inhibitions and emotional barriers, was a great stress buster and released happy hormones, leading to an enriched experience.
Brand Quiz Baadshah is a flagship initiative of BPCL which energizes and unifies the organization. The key focus is knowledge enhancement , developing employees and channel partners as Brand Ambassadors and tapping their latent talent. It has been recognized as Largest Corporate Brand Engagement Program in Asia Book of records with 12676 participants. Women employees participated in a big way this year and one women team reached the top 16 finalists.
BPC Tarang is the internal radio program at BPCL with a vision to energise, engage and entertain employees. A 30 minutes episode is produced on a daily basis and shared with over 12000 employees through website, iconnect and company’s mobile app. Through this entertainment medium alongwith music there is knowledge and experience sharing and inspirational messages from leaders to employees across the company. Special episodes were released during the week of International Women’s day where several women leaders were interviewed to share their views of BPCL as an equal opportunity employer and their first hand experience of women empowerment. BPC’s Got Talent is a talent hunt across the company held on BPC Tarang platform in which over 250 employees participated and a woman employee was adjudged among top three talents.
As a good corporate citizen, BPCL has been working conscientiously for the betterment of weaker sections of society to achieve sustainability development. BPCL’s women centric projects in its five thrust areas of Education, Water Conservation, Skill Development, Health & Hygiene and Community Development include Project SAKSHAM, which empowers women teachers and school leaders with required skill sets and inputs on pedagogy; Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) Project which improved the learning level of over one lakh girl students through games and computer education; construction of toilet blocks in government girl schools in line with Swachha Vidyalaya – Swachha Bharat Abhiyan; provided health services to rural women to avoid disability; Skill Development programmes; Ekal Vidyalaya project for supporting one teacher school for tribal children; Career Edu Connect for career counselling; ‘Kohinoor Scholarship’ for girl students; Project Shakti, which trained women on bakery production, operation, material purchase, order management, banking and cash management, tailoring, goat rearing, ready to eat foods, beauty parlour, organic farming, sericulture etc. creating sustainable entrepreneurship and livelihood development of women in tribal communities.
A Women’s Cell was constituted in 1998, the provisions of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 have been implemented and Internal Complaints Committees (ICC) have been constituted. BPCL also has an Employee Satisfaction Enhancement department where professional help is available for redressal of any sensitive issues.
Women play a critical role in our societies, be it culturally, socially, politically or economically. The time has come to acknowledge that a woman who is well educated, competent, hardworking, enjoys freedom and financial independence, takes decisions, manages people, handles critical situations and balances home, family and kids is an invaluable asset to the company. As Jennifer Christie, VP American Express averred, “We believe our ability to leverage our gender differences in the workplace will help us to continue to drive collaboration and inspire innovation.” Women who have utilized the transformative energy that lives within them can serve as role models to others to improve their morale and make them aspire to achieve more. As Mother Teresa observed, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Let us all join hands to support and encourage women, who maintain a picture of poise, strength and grace and is also a dreamer, an achiever and a winner ! Let’s toast the phenomenal woman of today !
(A marketing initiative by Open Avenues)