3rd June 2023: CNBC-TV18, India’s No. 1 English business news channel 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 31st 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 Shereen Bhan, Managing Editor, CNBC-TV18. Sharing insights on women’s participation in the STEM industry, Shereen shared, “According to the World Economic Forum, the global statistics reveal that women constitute only 20% of engineering graduates, with a significant underrepresentation in leadership positions. In the technology sector, women make up approximately 24% of leadership roles. In India, as reported by the National Science Foundation, while 52% of women ARE enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses for their graduation, only 29% eventually join the STEM workforce. Furthermore, a mere 3% 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 Hitendra Dave – CEO, HSBC India; Subhrakant Panda – President, FICCI; Deepti Sagar – Chief People and Experience Officer, Deloitte South Asia; and Rahul Singh – COO- Corporate Functions, HCLTech along with Shereen Bhan.
The first discussion of the city chapter featured Rajesh Nambiar – CMD, Cognizant India; Naveen Gullapalli – Global Head, Corporate Centers and CONEXTS (GBS), Novartis; Subhrakant Panda – President, FICCI; Anu Acharya – CEO, Mapmygenome; Rahul Singh – COO Corporate Functions, HCLTech; Deepti Ravula – CEO, WeHub and Deepti Sagar – Chief People & Experience Officer, Deloitte South Asia 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. Deepti Sagar, Chief People & Experience Officer, Deloitte South Asia commented, “Various research shows, women’s representation on boards is about 38 percent while 62 percent 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 Subhrakant Panda, President, FICCI, 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 Naveen Gullapalli of Novartis. While Rahul Singh, COO – Corporate Functions, HCLTech, 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 Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of Industries & Commerce & IT, Deptartment of Telangana Government; and Surendra Rosha – Co-CEO, HSBC Asia Pacific, led by Shereen Bhan. Mr. 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.” Mr. 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.”
We also honoured visionaries and pioneers who played significant roles in bridging the gender gap including Rama Devi Lanka, Director – Emerging Tech, Telangana Govt; Srivalli Krishnan, Gates Foundation India; Ajita Yogesh Reddy, Hamstech of Creative Education; Jyostna Angara, Governing Body Member, FICCI FLO; 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.
Dr. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, 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 Mansi Gandhi, Co-Founder, DoctorC; Priyanka Ravala, Head of International Programs, Strategy & Partnerships, T-Hub; Kalpana Ramesh, Founder, The Rainwater Project; Lithika Bhanu, CEO, Terra Greens Organics; Deepti Alapati, Founder, Pulp Cosmetics; and Shilpa Reddy , MD, Saptagir Camphor Pvt. Ltd.
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.