In Spotlight : Gender equality promotion
The spotlight session was dedicated to exploring how leaders can promote gender equality through the various phases of life. The first session of Day 2 was chaired by Vaishali Sinha,Chair GES 2021, Chief Sustainability, CSR & Communication Officer, ReNew Power. The distinguished speakers included Vipin Sondhi -MD & CEO, Ashok Leyland, Prof. Priya Abraham -Director, ICMR-National Institute of Virology and Vibha Bakshi -National award-winning filmmaker.
The speakers discussed gender disparity, patriarchal workspace, gender violence etc and can a person promote equality among their peers.
On being asked about his thoughts on disparity in childhood, Vipin Sondhi said, “ Mothers have their own unique ways to subtly guide their children. When I packed off to a boarding school, my mother told me to treat all women as equal. Even my father supported me and also my mother in her endeavours. He told me that marriage is a partnership of equals. “
The speakers delved deep into their own experiences in promoting and sensitizing the need to break barriers for gender equality. Prof. Priya Abraham talked about her own experience as the director of the institute, where 70% of the staff is women. All the speakers seemingly agreed that the right way to approach is to ask ‘how can one be sensitive and create an ecosystem of equality?’
On being asked what compelled her to choose filmmaking as the medium to express her beliefs, Vibha Bakshi said, “My heart lies to see the power of film in the movement. I make conscious efforts to leave every viewer with a hook. Without it, no issue can come up ever”.
The speakers also broached the subject of gender neutral workspace and how men can also create an inclusive environment for all the genders striving for excellence. The session ended with personal and intriguing rapid fire questions.
Reconfiguring gender solutions: Economic and Social Empowerment
Problems aside, gender solutions are being reconfigured by the leaders of our times. To assess the landscape of economic and social empowerment, 4th Gender Equality Summit organized a panel discussion of esteemed leaders like Naghma Mulla,President & COO, Edelgive Foundation; Anjali Makhija, COO, SM Sehgal Foundation; Madhura Dasgupta Sinha, Founder & CEO, Aspire for Her Foundation; Shaili Chopra, Founder, SheThePeople TV to strive for answers to age-old questions that persist in modern times.
The plenary session was moderated by Siddharth Vaze, Founder & Host, CEO’s Chair. It kicked off with a blazing speech by Shaili, who highlighted how COVID-19 has been used as a facade to remove a large number of women in the name of market economics. As the speakers shared their views, the onus was on gender promotional problem-solving, encouraging women solopreneurs & nano preneurs, promoting women centric hybrid models and more.
On being asked about the current practices by her own company, Naghma Mulla said, “ My own company has two women in leadership positions and our dna is quite feminist.[ Yet] feminism does not mean women in powerful positions but a space of equality where men and women can speak equally and share their opinions.”
The discussion was inferred with a growing idea the noise for a change has begun and people have started to understand their responsibilities to include and diversify. The session concluded with the points that a women talent pool has to be built, education during adolescence is very important and support women financially to create opportunities for them
Advancing diversity and gender inclusion - role of women in advancing diversity and transgender inclusion
It's a changing world. Once polarized over men and women, the inclusion of LGBQTIA in business setup has brought vivid colours and new opportunities. In the 4th Gender Equality Summit, a special session was conducted to emphasize the importance of the third gender and what role can everyone play in the advancement of diversity.
The conversation took place between Sabitha Natraj, Treasurer, GCNI, General Manager-Corporate Communications,IOCL, Zainab Patel,Director inclusion and diversity- KPMG India and Akkai Padmashali, Indian Transgender Activist and Singer as they discussed how to identify the stepping stones on which women can advance professionally.
When asked on her own take on diversity and inclusion, Zainab said,”As a transgender woman, I look at D&I at an equity perspective. Advancing for LGBTQIA, we need to specifically target: 1) Women and 2) Women at every role. So when you have a set of intervention, you are creating a bandwidth of opportunities.”
Sabitha, Zainab and Akkai talked about the idea of supporting women through looking for sponsorships, creating career parking opportunities, increasing numerous studies and being a better avenue creators of opportunities.
The session concluded with a reminder that women can change the perception of male leadership and are not dependent on any stereotypical reasons to create their own niche. Women are the lighthouse of hope.
Reimagining digital solutions to meet gendered needs
Digital solutions are the crux of any problem solving setup. To setup the sustainable future of gender diversity, the summit has assembled leaders like S Anjani Kumar, Partner, Monitor Deloitte- India; Nandini Maheshwari Head- Business Development, APAC, Uber; Balaji Ganapathy Chief Social Responsibility Officer & Global Head-CSR, TCS; Prameela Kalive COO, Zensar Technologies and Mridula Palat-Becker Founder, Mentor & Coach- Women Ask for More.
The panel session was moderated by Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Director & Head of Public Policy, Sequoia India & South East Asia where the focus was on what kind of digital solutions can be developed to cater to the needs of women empowerment.
The panel talked about the issues women workforce faced during COVID19 like loss of jobs, women vulnerability, impact on rural areas, lack of mentoring for women while also discussing how the pandemic also became an opportunity for the same.
When asked about the repercussion of the pandemic on her business, Prameela Kalive replied, “ COVID19 was [actually] the biggest opportunity for us. It opened the biggest pool of talents for Zensars. “
The panel deep dived on discussing the K shaped recovery, work from anywhere, women participation in the corporate world and few solutions that came up included technology empowering women with whatsapp, facebook etc, access to funding and training women about it, mentorship and sponsorship. The session was concluded with a set of rapid fire questions.
Conclusion of the Summit
The conclusion of the summit was an address by Shubha Srinivasan, Director Social Impact, Deloitte India, Carlo Pereira, Executive Director, UNGC, Brazil, Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra, Director HR, IOC, Ram Mohan Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child, Shabnam Siddiqui, Officiating Executive Director, GCNI. The speakers summed up the talks that happened in the summit and praised all speakers for creating a curious and learning environment for every attendee on the topic of gender equality.