Women lead everywhere as companies focus on skill rather than gender

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New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) As workplaces become more focussed on skill and capability rather than being gender-biased, it’s women leading everywhere, feels the fair sex in the corporate world

Rati Shetty, Chief Product Officer and Co-founder, BankBazaar.com, said that close to 40 per cent of her company’s employees are female, and this has been completely organic — not deliberate.

“Skill and capability are gender-neutral. In the workplace, persistent and focused effort coupled with careful planning, patience, dedication, and an ability to find learning in mistakes can spell the difference between being good at what you do versus being great at it,” Shetty told IANS.

“When you build up an organisation that looks for these qualities in all their employees regardless of their gender, you realise that there are just as many, if not more, women who bring these qualities to the table as their men counterparts. So you lose all reasons to pick and choose on the basis of their gender,” she added.

According to Shetty, the startup ecosystem is becoming far more conducive to women entrepreneurs.

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“Today, some of the biggest start-ups in India have women at the helm as either co-founders or chief officers. For those people who cite a lack of confidence or entrepreneurial knowledge as challenges to women entrepreneurs, these numbers highlight India’s robust startup ecosystem with an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and innovation, regardless of gender,” she said.

Most companies are already working towards removing any gender imbalances by undertaking various corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes and implementing initiatives towards the empowerment of women in the workplace.

“Despite several advancements in major sectors in India, women still face many challenges and hurdles not just in society but also in corporate world. Therefore, we try and give major thrust to implement steps for women’s empowerment and initiatives for women — both working in the company as well as to womenfolk in nearby communities of our operating plant,” said Vinita Singhania, Vice Chairperson and Managing Director, JK Lakshmi Cement.

Singhania said that as part of the company’s vision of inclusive growth, a number of socially-desirable initiatives have been taken around the business and plant locations especially targeted at women’s population through various CSR interventions with major thrust areas that include health, water, sanitation, education, skill development and livelihood, in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.

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“At the community level, we target women for most of our empowerment projects. We believe that empowering women has a multiplying effect, especially in rural India. Not only an empowered woman brings about positive changes in her house, she even influences her community with her knowledge,” she added.

The Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), which has been instrumental in enabling women associates to take a leap by breaking gender stereotypes, provides facilities like seven months of paid maternity leave and compulsory crèche facilities across all hotels.

In line with celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, IHCL announced two new programmes in-line with its commitment to promote equal opportunities for women.

“We have been consistent in championing the cause for women equality. The extension of medical benefits and the women referral program is in-line with our commitment to encourage women for diverse roles in the company,” said P.V. Murthy, Senior Vice-President and Global Head – Human Resources, IHCL.

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Other companies were also in full swing to celebrate the upcoming occassion of Women’s Day giving attractive discounts and offers.

Full service carrier Vistara also announced a myriad of activities on-board and on the ground for its women staff and customers, all-women operated flights, and a special “Celebratory Sale” for 24 hours only, offering all-inclusive fares starting at just Rs 1,099.

“As a gender-neutral organisation, we want to celebrate this occasion with our male flyers as well, and so we are launching a special sale offering extremely attractive fares that all our customers can avail to plan their holidays in advance,” said Deepa Chadha, Senior Vice President – HR and Corporate Affairs, Vistara.

E-commerce platform Flipkart also announced the launch of “The Women’s Store #ForEveryHer” exclusively to celebrate the spirit of womanhood — a day-long celebration on March 8.

Flipkart said it has partnered with Project Nanhi Kali, a non-governmental organisation for education for girls in India, to support education of the girl child.



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