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New Age Leadership-The gender of talent

2014 A Great Year to Begin Change at Workplace: Naina Lal Kidwai

Women Will Decide India's Political Future in 2014: NK Singh

Your Career Depends on Who You Marry, So Marry Well: Anjali Bansal

16 January 2014, New Delhi: The year 2014 is a great year to begin change at workplace in respect of gender issues, according to Naina Lal Kidwai, Executive Director, HSBC and Country Head, HSBC India. "Given the wave change sweeping the country, this is a great time to drive fundamental change," she said. She was addressing All India Management Association's (AIMA) conference on 'Gender of Talent'.
NK Singh, Member of Parliament and the Chief Guest at the Conference said that women were at a vantage point in India politics, as they headed many key parties. "The future of Indian politics will be decided in 2014 by women leaders," he said.
Kidwai said that social change is built around economics and women's empowerment is linked to their earning power. She said that while she was not in favour of quotas for women, she believed that the token presence of at least one woman on corporate boards, as stipulated in the newCompanies Bill could catalyse big change. "The women who get on to the boards because of the new law must ask the CEOs about what are they doing about women's issues at work," she said.
Commenting on the proliferation of women CEOs in the banking and finance sector and lack of opportunities for women in the mining and manufacturing sectors, Kidwai said that the environment in banking has been easier and less discriminating for women to come through and, therefore, today 30% of big banks have women CEOs. "The battle is won in the banking sector but the industrial sector is still a challenge," she said.
Anjali Bansal, Managing Director, Stuart Spencer, said that the pipeline of female talent in engineering was thin and biased towards soft engineering. However, she argued, that it was largely a matter of leadership to break the stereotype. She informed that a large engineering multinational had directed its HR department to ensure that 50% of the trainee engineers had to be women even if they had to broaden their catchment area far and wide. "The company's idea is to start with a large scale of women engineers so that even if there were some dropouts, enough women will remain in the company long enough to grow into leadership roles," She said.
Bansal argued that the under-representation of women at the senior management and board levels was more an outcome of flawed priorities and processes. "Companies need to prevent the leakage of talented women from the organization for the sake of their economic good and not merely for being seen as good," she said.
Bansal emphasized that it was also for the individual to have the commitment to stay the course despite biases and hardships. She said that a lot of women with MBA and Ivy League degrees stop working after having kids and that is where the support of the spouse becomes critical to sustain one's career. "Your career depends on who you marry, so marry well," she advised young women.
SaadiaNaveed, President, Management Association of Pakistan, said that women were gaining economic and political clout in Pakistan and women's participation in the country's labour force was increasing rapidly. She argued that the ecosystem for a gender-agnostic workplace had to be founded in homes and schools, as attitudes were best shaped when the individual was young. "There is a huge gender dividend available to the companies that care to notice," she added.
Film starKhushbuSundar said that women had limited opportunities in films, both in terms of work and roles. She too argued that gender bias began at home. "We need to work towards betterment of women in every field," she said.
Jane Endacott, General Manager, Octant Foundation, Australia, said that the women's issues in corporate roles were the same in India and Australia. She emphasized that it is important to decouple leadership notion from masculine traits. "Women don't have to lead as men or better than men. They need to lead as women," she said.
Sandeep Ahuja, Managing Director, VLCC Healthcare, said that he was having a great time reporting to a woman boss and working in an organization with 73% women employees. "The challenge of leadership at the top is same for men and women but women have to work harder than men to reach the top," he said.
Preetha Reddy, President, AIMA and Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises, said that women empowerment required men's support. She appreciated than nearly half the delegates at the conference were men.
The conference was also addressed by Anisha Motwani, Director & Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance; PrithviShergill, Chief Human Resources Officer, HCL Technologies; Ashwani Singla, Managing Director & CEO, Asia Pen Schoen Berland; Sandeep Chaudhary, Partner, AON Hewitt and RuuchiiSharmaa, Head, HR – Insourced Managed Services, Aircel.
During the Conference, All India Management Association and Management Association of Pakistansigned a MoU to exchange management ideas and experts to promote best practices in their respective countries. Both associations are members of Asian Association of Management Organization (AAMO).
About All India Management Association (AIMA)
The All India Management Association (AIMA) is the national apex body of the management profession in India. AIMA is a non-lobbying organisation, working closely with Industry, Government, Academia and students to further the cause of the management profession in India. AIMA makes a constructive contribution to management learning and practice in the country by offering various services in the areas of testing, distance education, research, publications and management development programmes.
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Ranjana Bhardwaj
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