Sonica Aron is all too familiar with the biases women face at the workplace. After her first maternity break, she had switched to working half day from the office and the other half from home.

“However, when the leadership changed, they were not okay about it and said that I had been given extra privilege,” she says, adding that many other women had faced similar experiences of microaggression and biases.

A human resource (HR) professional with nearly two decades of experience heading the HR department at an MNC, Sonica took a sabbatical after giving birth to her second child. Sonica had seen many consultants get involved with companies to do interventions, but saw little to no change.

Marching Sheep primarily offers services relating to diversity and inclusion strategies, human resources consulting, leadership and talent development, and health and wellness portfolio, which focuses on helping companies drive productivity and profitability by ensuring a stress-free workplace and focusing on emotional, mental, and physical health.

Some of its clientele include JCB India, Clifford Chance, Phillips, Cognizant, Kelton Tech, Mahindra Finance, Tata Realty and Infrastructure, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, Indian Oil Corporation, Lupin, and Easy Gov, among others.

In 2020, Sonica was recognised by Forbes India among the top 25 most-valued people and the firm has received several awards as well.

Enabling inclusivity

Conversations around diversity and inclusion at the workplace started with a focus on increasing women’s participation into the workforce. Despite the changing times and evolving discourse, recruitment still remains the success metric for building diversity.

Sonica believes change lies in addressing mindsets through gender sensitisation strategies and programmes to imbibe a truly inclusive environment.

“You cannot just talk about recruitment strategy and have an inclusive culture to talk about the kind of biases people carry because the workforce comes from the society where patriarchy still exists,” she tells HerStory.

In addition to hiring, she emphasises on nurturing women in junior levels by ensuring a landscape or environment where they feel valued and have a place to grow.

The key, Sonica believes, is landscape navigation to address all gender-biased problems, including pay parity and unpaid care work.