Article: IWD: Women dominate SUGAR's leadership for a reason - Vineeta Singh discusses strategies & rewards

Leadership

IWD: Women dominate SUGAR's leadership for a reason - Vineeta Singh discusses strategies & rewards

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Vineeta Singh disclosed that 70% of her workforce consists of women, with a significant majority occupying leadership positions.
IWD: Women dominate SUGAR's leadership for a reason - Vineeta Singh discusses strategies & rewards

In the rich tapestry of India's leadership, threads of strength, resilience, and innovation are often woven by formidable women. Yet, a stark reality persists: their presence remains noticeably lacking in certain industries. Despite recent progress, sectors like technology, finance, and heavy industries remain predominantly male-dominated. This disparity is rooted in deep-seated societal norms, cultural biases, and systemic barriers that impede women's advancement in these fields. 

Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs of change on the horizon. Initiatives promoting gender diversity and inclusion, coupled with efforts to shatter stereotypes and confront biases, are beginning to yield results. More organisations are recognising the value of diverse leadership teams, not just for ethical reasons, but also for the concrete benefits they bring, such as increased innovation, enhanced decision-making, and improved financial performance. 

A shining example of this transformation is Vineeta Singh's SUGAR Cosmetics. In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Singh revealed that 70% of her workforce comprises women, with a majority in leadership roles. As a judge on Shark Tank India, she shared how this approach has fuelled her company's growth and success. 

As India continues its march toward gender equality, industries must actively support and empower women, ensuring they have equal opportunities to excel and lead in all sectors. By dismantling barriers and fostering a more inclusive environment, India can fully unleash the potential of its female talent, driving greater economic growth and societal advancement.

Excerpts from the interview: 

What systemic barriers do you see hindering women's inclusion in leadership, and how can these barriers be dismantled? 

While India has consistently witnessed the presence of formidable women leaders, there is undoubtedly an upward trend in their numbers, decade after decade. As a woman leader in the cosmetics industry, I've observed that systemic barriers such as unconscious bias, lack of mentorship, lack of representation, and workplace culture that tolerates gender-based discrimination or lack of work-life balance are the challenges that often hinders women's inclusion in leadership. 

The preconceived notions about women's capabilities limit their opportunities, creating an unconscious bias. Varied access to mentorship and developmental opportunities can hinder women's career progression. Moreover, societal expectations often place the majority of domestic responsibilities on women, making it difficult for them to commit the time required for leadership roles.

To break down these barriers, we need to implement and promote policies that foster a more inclusive and diverse workplace. Execute mentorship and leadership development programs that ensure equal access to career advancement opportunities for all employees, irrespective of gender. Additionally, employers need to offer flexible working arrangements and support systems that allow women to balance their professional and personal responsibilities.

How can we inspire greater inclusion of women in leadership roles? 

Inspiring greater inclusion of women in leadership roles requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. We need more women in leadership positions who can serve as role models and inspire other women to aim to similar roles. 

Progressive policies that create an environment where every individual has equal opportunities to thrive and succeed - it's a step toward building a workplace where everyone's contributions are valued and where each person, regardless of gender, can reach their full potential. And most important I believe transparent communication is vital - creating safe spaces where women feel comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions without fear of judgment or backlash.

How does SUGAR Cosmetics ensure the promotion of women's leadership while prioritising inclusion?

As a brand, we prioritise maintaining an inclusive work environment by placing equal emphasis on the growth of women within our company. At SUGAR Cosmetics, we take pride in our workforce, where 70% are women and majority of them are in leadership roles, and we are determined to expand our workforce by increasing the strength of our women employees. To make this vision a reality, we've implemented impactful measures, such as ensuring our performance evaluation matrix is uniform across all managerial roles and gender orientations. Our meritocratic approach dismantles biases at every stage, from candidate selection to ensuring equal pay opportunities. It's not just policy; it's a commitment to fairness.

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How can organisations challenge and overcome biases and stereotypes that perpetuate gender inequality and hinder women's advancement into leadership positions? 

I believe that overcoming biases and stereotypes requires a multifaceted approach. Firstly, fostering awareness is key, creating a more informed and open-minded workforce. Moreover, implementing structured and unbiased hiring and promotion processes is crucial, by establishing clear criteria and ensuring that decisions are made based on merit. By fostering a workplace culture that openly discusses biases and stereotypes, organisations can create an environment where individuals are more conscious of their actions and work collaboratively to overcome ingrained gender biases.

In essence, a combination of structural changes, mentorship, and open communication can challenge and eventually dismantle biases and stereotypes, fostering a more inclusive environment that drives women into leadership positions.

Lastly, how can collaborative action among stakeholders, including leaders, organisations, communities, and policymakers, inspire greater inclusion and diversity in leadership? 

The strength of today's women lies in crafting their destinies and realising their aspirations, becoming powerful inspirations for others on the path to success. The hindrance faced by women is not rooted in a lack of skill or capability but in a deficit of opportunities and confidence, which requires immediate attention. To improve this situation, organisations can promote inclusion and diversity tailored to women. Pairing aspiring female leaders with experienced mentors who actively advocate for their advancement helps to navigate challenges and build the confidence necessary for leadership roles. 

Policymakers can promote diversity and inclusion by allocating resources that can support initiatives aimed at increasing the representation of women in leadership roles. On the other hand, engaging with local communities and understanding their unique perspectives can inform organisations about the needs and aspirations of a diverse workforce. This, in turn, can influence leadership development programs and hiring strategies.   

By working together, sharing insights, and learning from each other's experiences, we can build a future where leadership is truly representative of the diverse talents and perspectives that our global community has to offer. It's a journey that requires commitment, but the rewards in terms of organizational success and employee satisfaction are well worth the effort.

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Topics: Leadership, Diversity, #HRTech, #HRCommunity, #InternationalWomensDay

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