5 Successful Industry Leaders Share Thoughts & Advice on Women's Day

By: WE Staff

Sound leadership is the cornerstone of business success. Leadership as an act is inherently gender agnostic, however in the real world, women in leadership have remained a minority. Although the number of women leaders has been on a steady rise, yet we are far from achieving true parity.

This fact is rather unfortunate since the statistics have always been in favor of inclusion. Numerous reports have suggested that women leaders aren’t just good for revenue generation but they also foster inclusivity, making their respective organizations stronger.

Women empowerment in leadership roles has been a crucial focus area for businesses in India. Efforts have been made across various sectors to promote gender equality, inclusivity, and the representation of women in leadership positions.

On the occasion of Women’s Day, we reached out to women leaders from across various industries to give us their thoughts on the importance of inclusion in enabling business success. Drawing from their personal experience, these women leaders also share actionable advice on how to facilitate a diverse and inclusive workforce in their respective fields.

Pooja B Luthra, CHRO, Trident Group:

Why Is Inclusion Critical for Businesses?

Inclusion is paramount for the growth of the business world as a whole, particularly from the perspective of a woman leader in the Indian business landscape. It extends beyond merely meeting diversity quotas or increasing the representation of women in the workforce; it's a mandate for organizations to optimize the talent they hire. A supportive ecosystem is essential to accommodate the diverse circumstances from which each individual comes.

Inclusion isn't solely about gender; it encompasses any minority group within a generic setting. This includes individuals from various regional backgrounds, women, those with disabilities, and others. For any person to perform at their best and contribute optimally, they must feel respected, heard, and valued. Their opinions should hold weight, and their contributions should be recognized and appreciated.

Therefore, it’s imperative for organizations to cultivate a culture that respects individuality and embraces inclusivity at its core. This means not just respecting but leveraging and celebrating the unique backgrounds and circumstances of each individual. By doing so, organizations create an environment where people from diverse backgrounds can thrive and be their best selves.

What steps can be taken to inspire inclusion in the textile industry?

The textile industry, renowned for its substantial female workforce, showcases a distinctive orientation towards women within the manufacturing realm. Despite this demographic strength, however, a noticeable disparity in the upward mobility of women persists within the industry. Unconscious biases, rooted in societal norms and personal circumstances, often impede their career progression. Yet, it’s imperative to acknowledge that these biases lack factual evidence.

Secondly, creating a supportive work environment through policies and programs that address the unique challenges faced by women in the workplace, such as flexible work arrangements, mentorship programs, and leadership development initiatives.

By fostering a culture of compassion and inclusivity, where every individual’s contributions are valued, regardless of gender, businesses can unlock the full potential of their workforce. Through genuine support and understanding, we can ensure that everyone, irrespective of their background, has equal opportunities to thrive and contribute to our collective success.

Maheswari Krishnasamy, Executive Director, Versa Drives Private Limited

Why Is Inclusion Critical for Businesses?

For India‘s population, it is essential to include women in leadership roles as we have innate abilities to drive ourselves to provide a better life for the family and the next generation. The same applies with the workspace scenario as well. Women tend to take care of everything, and they do it with caution and accuracy, making it essential for organizations to cultivate and maintain a sense of diversity. Undoubtedly, the inclusion of women is one of the main aspects that will pave the way for better diversity and help organizations grow innovatively and strongly. Additionally, when women achieve leadership roles and set benchmarks, it paves the path for young aspiring women to gain the confidence to grow and eventually succeed.

The women of India, through the decades of discrimination and blind eyes, have grown individually and risen to empower each other.

What steps can be taken to inspire inclusion in the electronics industry?

Our sector (Electronics) has normally been male-dominated for more than a few decades and very few women decided for themselves or were pushed to work in it. But surprisingly, there are leaders in the key places ranging from the top to middle management levels of organizations. So is the case with ours too! Women work in a balanced fashion while simultaneously being aggressive when it comes to delivering what is needed for the company. Thinking through the aftereffects and possessing a sense of foresight is a woman’s forte.

Being treated well and accepted is the bare minimum a woman would expect in a workspace. We all meet challenges in interacting with people, working with Government organizations, traveling and working with business associates, etc, however, that does not imply that we should keep ourselves away from what we are supposed to do - Overall, we must encourage each other. The challenges may continue to exist, but we must not give up.

When it comes to talent acquisition, the recruiter’s mindset must be to hire the right candidate and not to promote the formation of judgements based on gender discrimination. Apt training is necessary in a country like ours as we can still witness women not being looked upon as potential leaders. Organizations must also see to it that there is no lack of due respect to any woman leader and ensure an atmosphere of inclusion for women.

As for their business bodies, the government, the companies, and the leaders, programs and conferences must be planned and conducted inside the campus as an awareness program to promote inclusion of women. Women leaders must be accepted just the way male leaders are; based on the qualities, experience, and skill set they carry to lead.

What’s your message for womenfolk across India, on International Women’s Day?

Our country is filled with opportunities. But it's in the women’s hands to think carefully, and develop a mindset to see ‘Why?’ When you know why you are doing it, it will act as your inner motivation to let yourself become a strong leader. As women, we have certain attributes in abundance that will help balance society; we care! Let the care continue in whatever we do! Let Mother Earth be the best place for all the living beings that will make this whole world more beautiful. Be happy and exchange a smile to spread love. Love everyone around you!