Despite many agreements at international level affirming the human rights of women and ensuring the cause of gender equality, women are yet to be more likely, as compared with men, to be malnourished, poor and illiterate. They generally have a low level of access then men to property ownership, medical care, employment, credit and training. Their possibilities for being politically active are less than men. Moreover they are far more exposed to the domestic violence.
The ability of women for controlling their fertility is entirely fundamental to the empowerment and equality of women. When a woman is healthy she is more productive. When women’s productive rights- including the basic right to plan birth timing along with spacing and to make critical decisions related to the coercion and reproduction- are protected and promoted, she has autonomy to participate equally in the society. A vital aspect of supporting the idea of gender equality is based on empowering women, with a prime focus on redressing and identifying power imbalances as well as giving more autonomy to organize their lives. Women empowerment is in fact critical not only to sustainable development but to the understanding of human rights for every one.
To ensure equal and non-discriminatory treatment of both men and women is still a significant challenge confronted by the HRM managers in the organizations. In the area of managing diversity and HRM, there is much emphasis on delegated responsibility with line managers assuming the major role. Delegation and devolvement has some substantial resonance with the present pragmatic deliberations of the organizations where optimal resources are inadequate and central overheads are particularly subject to scrutiny. (Wilson, 2003)
Other changes also account for the decrease in the earnings gap. Educational advances, particularly among the college educated, have placed more women on a par with men. Whereas in 1960 male college graduates outnumbered females by five to three, by 1980 the numbers of female and male college graduates were equal, and today women earn 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees. College-educated women, moreover, now major in subjects very similar to those chosen by men, and they pursue advanced degrees in almost equal numbers. In the 1960s, for every hundred male recipients of professional degrees (in medicine, dentistry, law) there were fewer than five female recipients. But by 2001, women earned 46 percent of all professional degrees. That is, more than eighty females earned professional degrees for every hundred males. Young women are now forming more realistic expectations of their own futures than was the case thirty-five years ago. In 1968, only 30 percent of fifteen- to nineteen-year-old females said that they would be in the labor force at age thirty-five; by the mid-1980s, more than 80 percent thought they would be. Because the 1968 group vastly underestimated their future participation rate, they may have “underinvested” in their skills by taking academic courses that left them less prepared to compete in the job market.
To what extent has legislation narrowed the gender gap? One piece of legislation is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination on the basis of sex in hiring, promotion, and other conditions of employment. The other is affirmative action. There is only scant evidence that either law has had any effect on the gender gap in earnings or occupations, although not enough research has been done to justify strong conclusions one way or the other.
The HRM organizations are considered as high-commitment organizations. Behavioral and attitudinal commitment are applied to support and increase job performance and to check the rate of turnover, justifying entire investments made in highly trained, highly flexible and high quality employees. A wide range of personnel policies is also applied by the HRM managers to confront the challenges of gender inequality. These policies are directly linked with the employee involvement like communication, job design and leadership style. (Wilson, 2003)
It is essential to search for the ways that could effectively address the issue of gender inequality and develop cultures in which gender equality is ensured. Every individual is free to make his/her optimum contribution. Delegation and devolvement of responsibility to HRM managers can play a vital role. However, it has the huge potential to represent the eventual choice from gender equality. Supportive continuous training, effective leadership, education for managers, vigilance for structure, communication strategies, outcomes and processes are inevitable ingredients to address the grave challenges of inequality present between men and women. (Wilson, 2003)
Devolvement of gender management to HRM managers could present a significant opportunity for locating direct responsibility within the remit of most adequate people. Managers could confront many challenges while ensuring gender equality. It includes increasing activities of HRM, conflicting priorities, their deficiencies and lack of accountability regarding equality.
However, devolving responsibility for the purpose of gender management raises some significant questions. The first is whether this symbolizes a significant opportunity to embed into cultures of organizations, managerial thinking, behavior and values of equality and fairness while addressing the gender issues which are the major aspiration for most of the organizations. Second is whether instead the removal of a supporter of equality, and the stress on line managers being primarily responsible for gender equality in the pursuit of their HRM duties, reveals the circumstances for abdication on behalf of individual managers.
The vital and empirically-based assessment of HRM indicates a significant reality about the challenges faced by the HRM while managing gender equality. These include managerial control, increased surveillance and work intensification, weakening of mutual regulation and shifting of substantial risk to employees. Therefore, HRM promises such employment practices which can develop well-rewarded, well-trained, relatively secure, motivated, committed and empowered workforce, unbiased towards sexism and racism.
Another issue is whether or not to evaluate HRM manages on their effectiveness in assuring gender equality. Measurement could be a primary element with appropriate results and performance goals for accomplishing results. Moreover, equal opportunities goals for HRM managers could also be counter-productive and as such they should specifically be encouraged to set goals for themselves, focusing primarily on their managerial capability.
In pursuit of such organizations that provide equality and fairness, which specifically ensures that both men and women fulfill their utmost potential, there are many issues surfacing from development of accountability to HRM managers, the first concerns HRM manager competence while managing people effectively. Insufficient training along with considerable strains of work has been mainly highlighted as characteristics restricting the level to which devolvement of human resource management is possible. The deficiency of managerial competence and capabilities rather than sexism or racism, could be the major cause of manager’s incapability to manage, diverse and fair group of people.