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FOCUS ON WOMEN’S ROLE IN STARTUP ECOSYSTEMS, SAYS EXPERTS AT WOMEN STARTUP SUMMIT

Entrepreneurs of women startups must be given better opportunities and mentorship so as to promote inclusivity in the country’s startup ecosystem, opined speakers at the Women Startup Summit. “Inclusivity is a critical element in the corporate world. If we are not including women in the workforce, where do you get workforce from?” queried Anupam Nidhi,

Entrepreneurs of women startups must be given better opportunities and mentorship so as to promote inclusivity in the country’s startup ecosystem, opined speakers at the Women Startup Summit.

“Inclusivity is a critical element in the corporate world. If we are not including women in the workforce, where do you get workforce from?” queried Anupam Nidhi, Head, Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability, Siemens, at a panel discussion on ‘Inclusivity in the Workplace.’ “We need a platform for creating equal opportunities, grooming and mentoring for women at the workplace,” she added.

Deepti Dutt, Head, Strategic Initiatives Public Sector, Amazon, said a gender bias exists at the subconscious level while promoting an entrepreneur. “Promotion means guiding to the right path with a positive note, while prevention means discouraging,” she noted. The society needed to move the conversation from prevention to promotion, she added.

Shrayana Bhattacharya, Senior Economist, World Bank, said India, unlike a lot of other emerging markets has clocked a negative growth in the number of women in the workforce. The periodic Labour Survey released recently showed urban female labour force participation in 2018 at 16 per cent and 18.2 per cent in rural areas, she added.

“There is a decline in employed women in rural areas. It dropped from 33 per cent in 2004 to 18 per cent now. A lack of access to mentorship, inflexible timing, low pay and personal affairs prevent women from being involved in workforce,” she said.

Commenting on #MeToo, she said research shows the voice of any community is key in pushing for flexibility in inclusion; be LGBT rights or women. “If you want to move from prevention to promotion, you have to mobilize that voice. In that case #MeToo was a great example.”

Seema Kumar, Country Leader, Cloud Technical Sales and Architecture India/SA, IBM, said gender is one dimension that garners the most attention when it comes to inclusivity. “Inclusivity goes much beyond gender. In large organisations across the world, diversity is a strategy as well as an advantage.”

“Women are dropping out of the job industry, citing personal reasons. For them, there are a lot of avenues in tech industry to make a comeback,” she added.

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