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Women Will Be The Driving Force Of The Working Cultures And Business Models In India

The growth of women in organizations and workstations across India has defined a new level of competition in a male-dominated society. Today women are one of the major contributors in designing and creativity in most businesses. Ladies Who Lead summit brought together some of the most successful women in the country to encourage aspiring ladies across all walks of life

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Women have driven a different kind of energy in today’s businesses. The corporate sector of India along with many industries have seen determined and successful women entrepreneurs in developing the nation and economy. However, out of the total working female population in the country, most women are still struggling in most organizations. In order to support these ladies, Radha Kapoor Khanna, Founder, Dice Districts and Aabha Bakaya, Founder, AB Network created a platform ‘Ladies Who Lead’ in order to understand the problems faced by working women in the country and ways to drive their growth.  

“This forum is about encouraging women who are climbing the ladders of success in more diverse and inclusive workplaces. This forum also aims at encouraging women who are getting inspired and educate companies in increasing the percentage of female employees. I connected the dots between creativity, entrepreneurship, design, and innovation to the creative minds. Following this model we have opened 4 schools across India which are dominating the growth of female entrepreneurs and designers of the future. Women Who Lead is a perfect platform where the women of the community gather all the inspiration and discuss topics like feminism, work-life balance and positive thinking,” said Radha Kapoor Khanna while inaugurating the summit.

“We've been pioneering tech-driven innovations at our Audi showroom in Thane, Mumbai in the premium car segment. What makes us different is how women-centric the car brand is and till date, we have launched 3 successful drives with empowering women of the country. Each lady is an epitome of excellence and we can say that women are empowered when they are independent. We strive to associate ourselves with such women-centric platforms matching our ideology,” said Nidhi Modi, MD, Krishiv Insurance and a leading designer at the Audi Showroom, Thane

As the evening proceeded to shed light on the need for women in the workforce of most organizations, a panel discussion moderated by Aabha Bakaya talked about the importance of women-centric workspaces. While discussing the topic, the first speaker discussed the importance of design and how it has helped in encouraging more ladies in the current times.

“Having been in the textile industry dominated by men, at one time we ladies only covered 5-6% of the entire working staff. Today out of the workforce strength of 17,000, 20% of them are women. I think the business models today are changing and design has been given a lot of importance in today’s world. The change I find today in India as compared to the U.S.A or U.K. is the purpose of every organization. It mainly concentrates on providing a customized set of goods and services and women have the upper hand when it comes to design thinking,” said Dipali Goenka, CEO and Jt. MD, Welspun India Limited. 

Platforms like Ladies Who Lead have given an opportunity to the female working forces to rise up and speak against any injustice that would affect their growth. Some organizations like the SJK Architects has been women dominated workspace for a long time. Organizations like these are providing a broader horizon for a lot of Indian ladies but more importantly, they are also mainly responsible for changing the perspectives about working conditions in a male-dominated society. 

“We were an all-women office since a long time because in our field they were really great and much better than men. Women who were really good at architecture and interior designing picked up the business. Now we have recently started hiring male workforce and they comprise to about 23% of our total strength. I think today we should realize that it is not about feminism but more about humanism. It is about time that the society does start to realize that what is good for women is good for men too. This deep gender divide is the source of the problem and that’s what we need to overcome,” said, Shimul Zaveri Kadri, Owner, SJK Architects

Charu Thapar, Head of Strategy and Platform – Property & Asset Management Asia Pacific, JLL discussed ways in which women can enter higher positions especially in sectors like Real Estate. According to her, the adoption of new working trends, uniquely designed workstations and recruiting youngsters can make a change. 

“We have a large number of youngsters and a huge office with 4-5 types of workspaces designed and a boardroom with a 15-minute timer. It is to indicate that no meeting is productive if lasts longer than 15 minutes. Our space is less formal and mostly AI-driven. The point I’m trying to make is that with changing working cultures and office spaces, the youth is more inclined towards driving business growth. In our organization, the recruiters get more incentives on bringing in more female profiles and they get more preference over the men which is really hard in real estate. 

While commencing the discussion, Uma Krishnan spoke about the concept of dynamic working that is providing each individual in their organization, especially women with enough time to create a work-life balance and provide enough free time for recreation. 

“Barclays is committed towards dynamic working because we give each individual the freedom to work the way they want. This allows a lot of them to meet their targets and enjoy a healthy work-life balance. Many of them having children get to be a part of their child’s growth and pregnant women also get to take maternal leaves and still contribute to the growth of the company. Many men have also started enrolling for dynamic working. We, however, aim towards having 30% of women in the workforce while 45% of women across our 4 offices in the country are located at the entry level. If we need to bring them to higher positions, the work must start now," said Uma Krishnan, MD & co CEO, Barclays Global Service Centres. 

The night highlighted on other issues in challenging working environments for women and also provided some solutions for ladies who were inspired by the discussions at the Ladies Who Lead platform. The summit took place at The A Club, One Indiabulls, Mumbai on the 15th of November, 2018.

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