Arthan recently organized its ‘Women in Leadership’ forum marking International Women’s Day on 8th March 2021. Taking stock of the challenges, efforts and effectiveness of women in fighting against the ill effects of the global pandemic, the discussions at the forum aligned with this year’s theme viz., Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Leadership in the Covid-19 World.
Some of the finest leading female entrepreneurs, doers, and builders from diverse sectors discussed Leadership in Crisis: Seeing Women Leaders in a New Light Post Pandemic. The deliberations during the session focused on creating avenues that promote inclusive action that goes beyond an inclusive debate and identifying the scope of leadership at grassroot levels to minimise the disparity in representation.
Recognising the fallout of the pandemic and the solutions to overcome the disproportionate effects on women, Ms Akansha Sharma, Global Head, Social Impact and Sustainability, Sterlite Technologies Ltd, said, “There is a significant need to understand the power relations in gender and the need for policies to be modified for women to be in decision-making roles.”
A Stanford Social Innovation Review report estimates that 26% of the full-time social enterprise employees in India are women, corroborating the very fact that leadership in this sector is not a level playing field.
Adding further to the discussion, Ms Aparna Uppaluri, Program Officer, Ford Foundation, said, “There is a need for creating an enabling ecosystem around the smallest of initiatives directed at empowering women and girls. The narrative around women leadership must go beyond the corporate and professional sector.”
Other speakers who added to the crisp insights were Ms Naghma Mulla, President & COO, EdelGive Foundation and Ms Vibha Hegde, IT Program Manager, Dell.
Research has continually indicated that gender diversity results in increased productivity, greater retention and higher employee satisfaction. However, the development sector in India still has a long way to go before it can boast of an even split in terms of organizations led by men and women or being truly gender-inclusive.
Mahamaya Navlakha, Co-founder at Arthan concluded the session by adding, “In order to really ensure that women and girls are able to realise their qualities and skills as leaders, it is critical to work not just with them but with the larger system – the structures and processes in place – to ensure that there is a real change. Unless the dominant patriarchal narratives are changed, we will always end up fighting a losing battle. Women’s leadership cannot be looked at in a silo – rather it needs to be seen in the larger context of society and the world.”
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