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Women in Leadership: How Companies Can Achieve a Better Gender Balance

Source | Youtube : By Renu Tandon

In India, women comprise nearly 50 per cent of the population, which means that they constitute nearly 50 per cent of the talent base for the country. Yet only 19 per cent of women are in senior management roles.

McKinsey Global Institute’s report The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in India states that India could bring 68 million more women into the workforce by 2025. Fully bridging the gender gap in the workplace could create an astounding $2.9 trillion of additional annual GDP. Diversity of talent is also valuable in contributing to innovation, which enables organisations to remain competitive and sustainable.

To help companies explore how to achieve a better gender balance, I organised an event in partnership with the Pune Chapter of National HRD – a non-profit network for human resources (HR) professionals. The event, which took place on June 27 2016, in Pune, India, was entitled Women in Leadership: Towards Organisations’ Sustainability.

More than 60 passionate HR leaders and some entrepreneurs joined us to listen to leaders from Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Honeywell and Virtusa Polaris, who all shared inspiring best practice from their organizations.

The event began with an introduction to Empower Women and its global mission. As an Empower Women Global Champion, I hope this exposure will attract more passionate, committed professionals from corporate India to join us and drive changes in their circles of influence.

Photo: Courtesy of Renu Tandon

Four presentations followed, as summarized below.

Samir Gadgil, Vice-President and HR Head at Wipro BPS and Global Diversity and Inclusion Head for Wipro Ltd, explained how Wipro invests heavily in developing women leaders. It provides female employees with mentoring programmes, dedicated technology forums and interactions with senior leaders. The proportion of women leaders has increased from 4.4 per cent to 8 per cent, and 90-95 per cent of the women who went on maternity leave have resumed work, thanks to the company’s support systems and dedicated HR partner.

Deepa Vincent, Head HR – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Tata Consultancy Services, shared her first-hand experience of how TCS set up the first all-women business process management centre in Saudi Arabia. It employs 1,000 women, 78 per cent of whom would not otherwise have worked. TCS respected social and cultural issues, engaging with universities and families to explain its safe and culture-sensitive workplace.

Niharika Rai, HR Leader, GES HPS India at Honeywell, spoke about gender diversity in a tough operating environment. Jobs at oil fields and refineries are physically challenging and in remote locations, yet Honeywell has embraced this challenge and is working towards achieving gender diversity in the workplace. Initiatives and progress at Honeywell demonstrates that gender diversity is possible across most sectors if the organisation is committed to it.

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