Unemployment among women engineers in India is five times that of men and the rate has been increasing in many parts of the country, according to a study.
The study, which presented insights on the gender bias experiences of Indian women and men working for 'Western engineering companies' in India, suggested that both genders in the country experience high levels of bias, in different forms.
"Women are more likely to experience gender bias, while men face bias based on where they come from and their language spoken," said the report by The Society of Women Engineers in partnership with the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
According to the study titled 'Walking the Tightrope', 44 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women engineers said they faced bias due to the state or region they are from.
The nationwide survey was conducted online beginning Fall 2017 among a cross section of 693 engineers across a variety of disciplines, engineering sectors and employment levels.
"The report underlines the bias problems that India's engineering workplace experiences. This is the tipping point. It is a call to action for organisations to address these pressing issues," said Neeti Sanan, faculty, Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur, and consultant to the SWE study.
According to the study, 76 per cent of engineers reported that they have to prove themselves over and over to get the same level of respect as their colleagues.
On the tug-of-war bias, it said 45 per cent of women reported that they have to compete with their female colleagues to get the one "woman's spot" available.
"We need to start thinking of women engineers as an integral part of organisations and treat them the way their male counterparts are treated," said Joan C Williams, founding director, Center for WorkLife Law at University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
The study said 11 per cent of women engineers and 6 per cent of men engineers reported unwanted romantic or sexual attention or touching in the workplace.
It further said despite the high level of bias that men tended to report, some significant gender differences emerged where women experienced higher levels of bias than men.
It said 45 per cent of women but only 28 per cent of men reported that it was perceived as inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.
A higher percentage of women (45 per cent) than men (30 per cent) reported feeling pressured to play submissive roles at work.
Also, 40 per cent of men and women reported that women should work less after having children, while 27 per cent of men and women reported that men should work more after having children.
In contrast, sometimes men reported more bias than women, it said, adding that out of engineers without kids, a higher percentage of men (50 per cent) than women (39 per cent) reported that they are perceived as having "no life" so they end up working overtime.
Also, 54 per cent of men but only 44 per cent of women reported bias in hiring.