Mumbai: CNBC-TV18 hosted the city chapter “Future. Female. Forward - The Women’s Collective”, a mega initiative aimed at bridging the gender gap and encouraging actionable dialogues to make gender parity an attainable reality. The event was held at T-Hub Phase 2, Hyderabad, Telangana on 31 May 2023 and witnessed the most renowned names from business, entrepreneurship, policy, and politics in attendance.
Telangana has taken several steps to create an enabling environment for the growth of startups including setting up the first Government led startup incubator, T-Hub and an accelerator that specifically nurtures women led enterprise, We-Hub.
The evening kickstarted with a welcome address by CNBC-TV18 managing editor Shereen Bhan. Sharing insights on women's participation in the STEM industry, Bhan shared, “According to the World Economic Forum, the global statistics reveal that women constitute only 20 per cent of engineering graduates, with a significant under representation in leadership positions. In the technology sector, women make up approximately 24 per cent of leadership roles. In India, as reported by the National Science Foundation, while 52 per cent of women are enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses for their graduation, only 29 per cent eventually join the STEM workforce. Furthermore, a mere three per cent of women hold CEO positions within the STEM industry. As we progress towards a world where technology becomes increasingly dominant, it is imperative to ensure that women are not left behind and that the gender gap does not expand.”
The Future. Female. Forward Playbook, a guide to the industry's best practices along with case studies highlighting the importance of gender parity in the workforce and its impact on the global economy was unveiled in the presence of HSBC India CEO Hitendra Dave; FICCI president Subhrakant Panda; Deloitte South Asia chief people & experience officer Deepti Sagar; and HCLTech COO Rahul Singh along with Bhan.
The first discussion of the city chapter featured Cognizant India CMD Rajesh Nambiar; Novartis Global Head, Corporate Centers and CONEXTS (GBS) Naveen Gullapalli; FICCI president Subhrakant Panda; Anu Acharya - CEO, Mapmygenome CEO Ani Acharya; HCLTech COO-corporate function Rahul Singh; WeHub CEO Deepti Ravula and Deloitte South Asia chief people & experience officer Deepti Sagar as panellists. Moderated by Shereen Bhan, the panellists share their views on the topic ‘Women transforming technology and life sciences.’ Discussing the evolving role of women professionals, pursuing careers in STEM, Technology, and Pharma, the majors pursued to reduce the gender gap in these sectors. Sagar commented, "Various research shows, women's representation on boards is about 38 percent while 62 per cent of boards still comprises men. Some organizations are proactively trying to bridge this gap. We at Deloitte visit engineering colleges of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and hire women workforce as a conscious effort to develop gender parity. Additionally, we also adjust our workplace ecosystem to match their pace of work rather than dictating them to adjust according to our pace to encourage the women workforce."
While Panda said, “There needs to be a special focus on areas where women's participation is low. The laws which held back women from working in the manufacturing sector have been modified. We need to focus on making the playbook of female role models thicker with more examples of success stories and companies that actively strive for gender equality. This will inspire others to seek for comparable levels of gender parity.”
"We are among the first companies to implement equitable parental leaves. As a company, we believe in giving equal rights to all employees, and with equal parental leaves, we aim to eradicate the social bias that mothers get parental leaves while fathers are kept away and not involved in raising the child,” said Gullapalli. While Singh shared, "We at HCLTech ensure that women stay longer and take up more and more leadership roles. We firmly believe that women are capable of serving as excellent role models. HCLTech has various programs that enable women to grow in their career path with initiatives like steppingstones, essays, etc. As a leading tech organization, we encourage women to take on more high-level positions that contribute to the company's overall growth."
The evening moved ahead with an enriching conversation with principal secretary of Industries & Commerce & IT, deptartment of Telangana government Jayesh Rajan and HSBC Asia Pacific Co-CEO Surendra Rosha, led by Bhan. Ranjan said, “In Telangana, every woman residing in rural areas has been actively engaged and organized into robust self-help groups. The state of Telangana holds the distinction of having the highest number of residential schools for girls per capita in India. Furthermore, Telangana took a proactive step by dispatching a team of women officers to various parts of the world to learn and adopt the best practices for maintaining safety and security.” Rosha said, “According to research, inclusion not only boosts productivity but also provides multiple benefits to organizations. HSBC has established a $1 billion fund dedicated to female entrepreneurs. Our goal is to guarantee that financing decisions are all-inclusive.”
The event also honoured visionaries and pioneers who played significant roles in bridging the gender gap including Telangana govt emerging tech director Rama Devi Lanka, Gates Foundation India Srivalli Krishnan; Hamstech of Creative Education Ajita Yogesh Reddy and FICCI FLO governing body member; Jyostna Angara. The team behind India’s first women only Industrial Park and Gulab Singh Shergill, Constable - Punjab Police, who is using his own money and time to train young girls in Patiala’s Dharoki village to realise their dream of playing cricket for India.
Apollo Hospitals Group joint managing director Dr. Sangita Reddy, delivered a special address on G20 Empower, which focuses on women empowerment. From ruby-encrusted gold jewellery to handwoven cotton and silks, inspirational talk from the trailblazers on their thoughts behind dressing up the characters of 'Ponniyin Selvan' with Eka Lakhani - Costume Designer; and Pratiksha Prashant, CEO, Kishandas & Co., added to the evening's tone. The discussion on the ‘Future of Sustainable Innovation: Women Pioneering Change’ had change makers who lead by example like DoctorC co-founder Mansi Gandhi; T-Hub head of international programs strategy & partnerships Priyanka Ravala; The Rainwater Project founder Kalpana Ramesh; Terra Greens Organics CEO Lithika Bhanu; Pulp Cosmetics founder Deepti Alapati and Saptagir Camphor Pvt. Ltd. MD Shilpa Reddy.
The evening concluded with an enlightening speech on mainstreaming single women's identities by Sreemoyee Kundu - Columnist on Gender & Bestselling Author.
CNBC-TV18’s Future. Female. Forward – The Women’s Collective is proudly presented by HSBC India. It is co-presented by HCLTech, while Deloitte India supports the initiative as knowledge partner, with industry partner, FICCI and associate partner, Reliance Industries.