Every year on March 8, people celebrate International Women’s Day, which serves as a focal point in the women’s rights movement. Issues like reproductive rights, gender equality, and violence and abuse against women are highlighted during International Women’s Day.

Here We are sharing the comments from key industry experts.

1. Ms. Madhumita Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Oben Electric

Women in the Auto Industry: Bridging the Gap for Innovation and Growth

The auto industry faces a critical challenge: a significant lack of female representation, particularly in leadership positions. This is not just an ethical concern; it also hinders the industry’s potential for innovation and growth. With less than 3% of CXO roles in India’s top 11 auto companies held by women and an 11% salary gap persisting, Deloitte highlights the need for change. However, positive signs are emerging. Educational outreach programs are inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM fields, including automotive engineering, addressing the gender gap from the ground up. Additionally, many auto companies are embracing the strategic value of diversity. They recognize that gender-balanced teams foster innovation and creativity, leading to breakthroughs in product development and business strategies. Advocacy for safe and inclusive work environments is also gaining traction, ensuring equal opportunities and protection for all employees. Having said that, we ned to emphasizes the importance of merit: “Women need to be deserving of the positions they seek, bringing the necessary skills, experience, and value to the table on par with their peers. Selection should be based on qualifications and merit, not solely on gender.

2. Advocate Susieben Shah, Chairperson, Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights

“Women are leading from the front on all ends. In order to bring about a tangible change in society, women need to be involved in public service and politics. You cannot bring a revolution sitting on the periphery. One more important factor is that women should empower fellow women to bring a major change. If half the population are women, half the contribution should come from women. Women can be changemakers of the country and set a new narrative of progressive India.”

3. Dr. Maithili Tambe, CEO, The Academy School (TAS), Pune

“When women have access to quality education, they are empowered to participate more actively in the workforce, leading to increased productivity and economic growth. Educated women are more likely to secure higher-paying jobs, contribute to household incomes, and make informed decisions regarding their finances and investments. Investing in women’s education can break the cycle of poverty, as educated women are more likely to invest in their children’s education, leading to a more educated and skilled workforce for the future. Educated women tend to have fewer children and better health outcomes, which can reduce healthcare costs and improve overall well-being in society. Investing in women’s education not only benefits individual women but also has a ripple effect on the economic development and prosperity of the entire country.”

4. Ms. Radhika Kalia, Managing Director at RLG Systems India Private Limited

“The campaign theme of International Women’s Day 2024 – Inspire Inclusion – is particularly touching. It reflects the urgent need for extensive changes across business and societal domains, and emphasizes dimensions that need to be addressed to take us closer to our aim of realizing a truly inclusive and empowered society. However, through a comprehensive and multi-faceted strategy and strong commitment to healthcare, economic upliftment, education, entrepreneurship, and digital literacy for women, we could forge a resilient, sustainable and innovative economy. I believe that utilizing the unique skills, creativity, and perspectives that women offer when included in the workforce could drive our endeavour towards a more inclusive and prosperous world.”

5. Srividhya Deshpande, VP, Global Talent Management, Egen.ai

“At Egen, we go beyond celebrating International Women’s Day; we translate words into impactful action. The theme, ‘Inspire Inclusion’ resonates deeply because we believe progress demands an environment where diverse voices collaborate to innovate.

Our commitment drives our investment in Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. We recently conducted a training program on ‘Unconscious Bias’, empowering employees to recognize and dismantle hidden biases. Recognizing the power of each individual’s empowerment, we also hosted a women-exclusive Self-Reflection and Awareness Workshop as we unlock a wider range of ideas and solutions, propelling us towards shared success.

This International Women’s Day let’s commit to action #InspireInclusion. Let us build workplaces where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best. Together, we can create a more equitable and prosperous future where innovation thrives, powered by diverse perspectives and creating new possibilities for everyone.”

6. Abinaya Deepika Chandrasekaran, Lead Customer Success Manager at Responsive (Formerly RFPIO)

“Inspiring inclusion in the tech space is not just about diversity; it’s about creating a culture where every voice is valued, every perspective is embraced, and every individual has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to innovation.

In the tech industry, fostering a culture of inclusion goes beyond mere representation of numbers and focuses on creating a culture where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents. Implementing inclusive hiring practices is crucial for building a diverse workforce. By prioritizing inclusion, tech companies can unlock the full potential of their workforce and drive greater innovation and success in the digital age.”

7. Rejitha Nair, Senior General Manager, Skillveri Training Solutions

“At Skillveri, we have witnessed first hand how technology like simulators make learning environments and workplaces more inclusive. As the head of the team which developed our simulation software from scratch, it has been extremely fulfilling for me to watch it address challenges in conventional industrial sectors like welding and painting.

One key advantage of simulation technology is its ability to provide a safe and supportive space for women to explore and excel in fields that have historically been male-dominated. In industries where women are underrepresented, simulator based training allows women to gain hands-on experience without facing the same barriers they might encounter in real-world settings.

We’ve had the experience of observing women welders scoring high from the batch that started training on simulators, because the technology eliminated inherent biases in manual scoring. Women instructors at ITIs are enthusiastic, interested, and adapt to the technology very quickly. At Skillveri itself, we have had our women employees from both tech & non-tech backgrounds not just learning our product swiftly but also being able to demonstrate and even assemble it ! We strongly believe that women overcome their fears and progress with confidence when equipped with the right tools that empower them.”

8. Deepika Suresh, Chief of Staff at Xcode Life

In my role as Chief of Staff at Xcode Life, I am privileged to witness the remarkable strides women are making in science and healthcare. It’s heartening to see a substantial increase in the enrolment of women in science-based fields such as pharmacy and biology, reflecting a positive trend towards gender equality in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. For instance, in India, women account for about 43% of all STEM graduates, a testament to their growing presence in science and technology sectors​​. However, the journey doesn’t end here. Despite these advancements, women face significant underrepresentation in leadership roles within the healthcare sector. In the United States, for example, only about 21% of healthcare executives and board members are women, and merely one-third of doctors are female. This disparity extends to India, where women constitute merely 14% of the total scientists, engineers, and technologists in research and development institutions​.

These statistics highlight a pressing need for empowerment and systemic change. True empowerment goes beyond education; it requires dismantling barriers to leadership and ensuring equitable opportunities for women. This is not just a matter of fairness but a strategic imperative. Diverse leadership in science and healthcare brings innovative perspectives that are crucial for tackling complex health challenges. As we aim to bridge these gaps, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges women face, such as gender pay disparities and limited representation in higher academic and professional ranks. However, through concerted efforts, including policy reforms, targeted scholarships, and organisational cultures that promote gender diversity, we can pave the way for more women to excel in STEM and healthcare leadership roles.

9. Anita Kukreja, Head – Strategic Alliances & Brand, IceWarp India

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, let’s embrace the power of unity and inclusion in shaping a world where every woman’s voice is heard, every dream is nurtured, and every opportunity is within reach. Together, let’s forge pathways of empowerment and resilience, breaking barriers and redefining norms. Let this day serve as a reminder of the remarkable strength and potential inherent in every woman. As Head of Strategic Alliances & Brand at IceWarp India, I am proud to stand alongside incredible women everywhere, driving progress and shaping a future where equality and opportunity flourish”.

Source: Press Release

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