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Activists call for empowering women for future of work

Mar 02, 2019

The second edition of Gender Equality Summit emphasized on the role of women in strengthening the 4th Industrial Revolution.

New Delhi: Aiming to highlight issues related to gender equality at workplaces in India, Global Compact Network India – Local arm of UN Global Compact, New York organized its second edition of Gender Equality Summit today at ITC Sheraton, Saket, New Delhi.

The summit was organized in the backdrop of the increasing conversation around the safety of women in workplaces and a need to undertake corrective actions. This year’s theme- ‘Preparing women for the future of work’ was chosen keeping in sync with the UN Sustainable Development Goals that target creating the most conducive work environment for them. It looked at solutions as to how the Governments, private sector, not-for-profits and communities at large can contribute towards creating an ambience around safe and inclusive workplace for women.

This summit today aimed towards building a concrete roadmap towards gender equality at workplaces in India. It focused on driving and bringing in change for inclusive and equal opportunities in employment and growth for the women workforce. Over 250 leaders including corporate professionals, policy makers, UN officials and researchers came together to share insights on the emerging trends of gender equality. The Summit marked presence of eminent leaders like Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, Ms. Vaishali Sinha, Chair GES 2019 Chief Sustainability, CSR & Communication Officer, Renew Power.

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said, “There is a need to strive for Gender Equality and uneven play between men and women comes at a significant economic cost that weighs very heavily on India’s growth. India’s female labour force participation is very low at 27% compared to 78% of men. This is much lower compared to figures world over.”

Kamal Singh, Executive Director, Global Compact Network India said, “Holistic development of the nation and its societies can only happen if we assign equal value to both genders. For the growth and true success of the nation, gender diversity is imperative and we should strive towards achieving it. We need to keep in mind that Gender equality is not about creating safe and inclusive workplace for women but our homes and society at large too.”

Vaishali Sinha, Chair GES 2019 Chief Sustainability, CSR & Communication Officer, Renew Power added, “The 2nd UNGCNI Gender Equality Summit is the perfect platform for a discourse on collective responsibility towards gender equality and explore avenues for gender inclusive outcomes. This year’s theme is also highly relevant, as it recognizes the importance of equipping women with the necessary skills such that they emerge as equal, if not primary contributors to an ever evolving workplace. It also provides an excellent opportunity to hear top woman leaders share their learnings and experiences, which can only serve as an inspiration for the current and next generation of women at the workplace.”

Atul Dhawan, Partner, Deloitte India, said “Indian businesses are taking a proactive approach to train their workforces for the future and they have the most clearly defined decision-making process of all executives.

4IR makes it necessary that women, more particularly today, young girls must be helped to develop strong foundational skill and understanding of technology, STEM and Digital. This will enable ultimately result in improved career choices.

Deloitte’s research and consultations reveals that the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution creates opportunities for gender inclusive work cultures.

The gender focus of the summit resonates well with Deloitte’s goals of creating 50 million futures globally through our World Class Initiative, which includes creating skill development, livelihoods and enterprise building opportunities. The initiative aims to impact 10 million women and girls in India bridging the gap between education and employability.”

The government, private sector, not-for profits and communities in general have a great responsibility towards creating reformatory measures and effectively implementing these. The amalgam of industry and government players discussed on the status of women workforce with the rise of the 4th industrial revolution as well as the increasing need of female entrepreneurs to take the lead.

As a part of encouraging safer, more inclusive workspaces across various sectors, the Gender Equality Summit has introduced the `Best Innovative Practices Awards 2019 “Women at Workplace”. Think through Consulting (TTC) was the Award Process Partner. The proactive need to stir women empowerment across public and private spaces has been in the forefront of this thought process.

A research paper on Empowering Women in India for the 4th Industrial Revolution was also launched today, in association with Deloitte.

This report shows that the share of women (India) in workforce fell to 25% and the female labour force participation rate (FLPR) is 26%. There are a total of 195 million women who are employed in the unorganized sector or in unpaid word. It is found that the earlier three revolutions caused a great widening of the extent of gender disparities and gender stereotypes.

The emergence of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) provides an opportunity for invested stakeholders to press the reset button. It will influence work in terms of the nature of organizational realities and leading skill types. Deloitte recommends skill development interventions for women to have a combination of four skill categories – workplace readiness, soft skills, technical expertise and opportunities for entrepreneurship. The Gender Equality Summit endeavors to step up in the same direction.

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