Women Leaders Reflect on How Women's Inclusion Amplifies Business Growth

Women Leaders Reflect on How Women's Inclusion Amplifies Business Growth

By: WE Staff

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the focus is on women leaders and achievers. On this day we come together to reflect on how far women have come in terms of building an equal world, where women receive the same agency and opportunities as their male counterparts.

Women in leadership roles have been a topic of constant discussion. Women leaders are known to bring a blend of subject matter expertise and high emotional quotients, which is compounded by superior communication skills, making them adept business leaders. Numerous studies have also indicated that when more women come on board, the company flourishes.

However, women leaders are still a minority across the globe. To get a deeper understanding of how women can help improve business growth, we reached out to various women leaders. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we shed light on their thoughts about inclusion in their respective fields.

Today, on this wholesome occasion, Women Entrepreneur India brings prominent Women industry leaders to enlighten you with their experiences and perceptions.

Let’s read about them and know what they think.

Gunjandeep Kaur, Director - HR Business Partner at Model N

Why Is Inclusion Critical for Businesses?

I believe that inclusion is not just a moral imperative but a strategic necessity for the growth of the business world as a whole. Here are several reasons why inclusion is critical:

Diverse Perspectives Drive Innovation: Inclusion brings together individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This diversity is a catalyst for creativity and innovation, fostering a dynamic work environment where unique ideas emerge. In the rapidly evolving business landscape, innovation is a key driver of growth and competitive advantage.

Enhanced Decision-Making: Different viewpoints contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of challenges and opportunities, leading to more effective problem-solving and decision-making processes.

Talent Attraction and Retention: When employees feel valued and included, they are more likely to stay with the organization, reducing turnover costs.

Market Responsiveness: Businesses operate in diverse markets with customers from various backgrounds. An inclusive workforce is more attuned to the needs and preferences of a diverse customer base, enabling companies to adapt and tailor their products and services to meet the demands of a changing marketplace.

Employee Engagement and Productivity: Inclusive environments foster a sense of belonging among employees, leading to higher levels of engagement and productivity. When employees feel respected and valued, they are more motivated to contribute their best efforts to the success of the organization.

What steps can be taken to inspire inclusion in the Indian business landscape?

Here are some thoughts on how government bodies, business organizations, companies, and leaders can foster inclusion, especially for women entrepreneurs:

Government Initiatives:

  • Policy Support: Implement policies that encourage diversity and inclusion in startups. This could include incentives, grants, and other financial support for startups with diverse founding teams.
  • Education and Training Programs: Develop and fund initiatives that provide training and education in technology and entrepreneurship for women. These programs can help bridge the gender gap in skills and knowledge.

Business Bodies and Industry Associations:

  • Advocacy for Inclusive Policies: Industry associations can play a crucial role in advocating for policies that promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Networking and Mentorship Programs: Establish networking platforms and mentorship programs that connect women entrepreneurs with experienced professionals and successful business leaders. This support can help them navigate challenges and foster professional growth.

Leadership Commitment:

  • Lead by Example: Business leaders should champion diversity and inclusion by setting an example within their organizations. Actively involve women in leadership roles to inspire others and demonstrate the value of diverse perspectives.
  • Promote a Culture of Inclusion: Foster a culture that celebrates differences, values diversity, and ensures that every team member feels included and heard.

Educational Institutions:

  • Promote STEM Education for Women:
  • Media and Awareness Campaigns: showcase success stories of women entrepreneurs in the media to inspire others and challenge stereotypes. This can contribute to changing perceptions and promoting inclusivity.

Companies and Startups:

  • Diversity and Inclusion Policies: Both Companies and Startups should develop and implement robust diversity and inclusion policies.
  • Flexible Work Policies: Implement flexible work policies that accommodate the diverse needs of employees, especially women who may have additional responsibilities at home

Investment and Funding:

  • Encourage Women Investors: Encourage women to become investors in startups. Having diverse perspectives in investment decisions can lead to increased funding opportunities for women-led startups.
  • Funding Initiatives for Women Entrepreneurs: Create specific funding initiatives or venture capital funds dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs. This can help address the funding gap that women-led startups often face.

Sumedha Jain, Marketing & Communications Head, MADAME

Why Is Inclusion Critical for Businesses?

In my role as a woman leader in the Indian business landscape, I firmly advocate for the crucial role of inclusion in the growth of the business world. Beyond being a moral imperative, inclusion is a strategic necessity that drives innovation and resilience. Diverse perspectives, especially those of women, bring unique skills to the table, contributing to a dynamic and creative organizational environment. Embracing inclusion goes beyond gender parity; it encompasses diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas, creating a business ecosystem that thrives on multiplicity.

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

Within the fashion industry, promoting inclusion requires a collaborative effort from various stakeholders. The government can enact policies encouraging gender diversity, business bodies can establish mentorship programs, and companies should adopt inclusive hiring practices. Business leaders play a pivotal role in championing diversity and creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs to flourish. By fostering collaboration between these entities, we can pave the way for a more inclusive Indian startup landscape, ensuring that women have equitable access to opportunities, resources, and support.

Would like to highlight that Jain Amar has already been working on including more women in the workforce, and we have achieved an appreciable growth in women employee percentage from 2023 to 24.

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

“Success becomes even more fulfilling when shared. Let us uplift and support one another, celebrating achievements collectively. Together, we can dismantle barriers, inspire transformative change, and build a future where every woman's journey is characterized by empowerment and solidarity. Success is not a solitary endeavor; it is a collective triumph, echoing the strength of unity and shared accomplishments that resonate through our shared journey.”

Rennie Joyy, Founder of Aalekh Foundation

Why Is Inclusion Critical for Businesses?

“Inclusion of women in the business world is imperative for holistic growth. Their diverse insights, skills, and leadership styles enhance decision-making and foster innovation, driving economic prosperity. As a working woman professional, I champion gender diversity for its undeniable impact on organizational excellence and societal progress.”

What steps can be taken to inspire inclusion in the Indian business sector?

In male-dominated sectors in India, women often face bias in funding, networking, and mentorship opportunities. To inspire inclusion, the government can implement more robust schemes, offering incentives for gender diversity. Additionally, business bodies can facilitate mentorship programs, companies can implement inclusive policies, and leaders can advocate for equal opportunities, fostering a more inclusive startup landscape.

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

“On International Women's Day, I urge my fellow women across India to embrace their innate multitasking abilities and step forward with confidence. Educate yourselves not only in basic academics but also in financial literacy. Empowerment begins with knowledge. Let's seize opportunities, break barriers, and strive for excellence in every aspect of our lives. Together, we can shape a brighter future for all.”

Alka Kapur, Principal Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh

Why Is Inclusion Critical for Businesses

From the perspective of a woman leader in the Indian business landscape, inclusion is paramount for the growth of the business world as it brings diverse perspectives and talents to the table. Women constitute a significant portion of the workforce, and their unique insights can drive innovation and problem-solving to a greater extent. Inclusivity fosters creativity, job satisfaction, and overall organizational success. Recognizing and valuing the contributions of women in leadership positions is not just a matter of gender equality but also a strategic advantage for sustainable business growth.

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

Fostering inclusivity within the education sector requires concerted efforts from government bodies, business organizations, and leaders. It is essential to promote policies that support gender diversity and actively promote women across various disciplines. Encouraging initiatives such as incubation centers and accelerator programs in the ed-tech arena, financial support, and skill development workshops can motivate women to enter and thrive in the education industry.

Moreover, raising awareness about the advantages of diversity and adopting gender-neutral hiring practices are crucial steps toward creating a more comprehensive environment for women entrepreneurs in the burgeoning Indian startup ecosystem.

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

“I want to convey a message of empowerment and solidarity to women across India on International Women's Day. Let us celebrate the achievements of women in all walks of life and continue to break barriers. Each woman possesses unique strengths and capabilities; together, we can overcome challenges, inspire change, and build a more inclusive and equal society. Embrace your potential, support each other, and strive for excellence.”

“Happy International Women's Day!”

Aparajit Sangotra, Co-Founder & Lead - Product Design & Innovation, Ethical Labels Paaduks

Why Is Inclusion Critical for Businesses

“Building inclusiveness is essential for long-term success in the Indian corporate environment. We create an atmosphere where everyone, regardless of gender, has the chance to prosper by encouraging diversity in leadership, investing in women-led businesses, providing flexible work arrangements, initiating mentorship programs, and cultivating supportive communities.

The progress we've achieved in promoting inclusivity gives me hope as a female leader navigating this ecosystem. By working together and advocating for change, we can dismantle obstacles and create a future in which all women have equal access to opportunities, fostering creativity and prosperity in the business sector.”

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

“It takes coordinated efforts from all stakeholders to promote the inclusion of women entrepreneurs in the Indian startup scene. Initially, the government can enact laws that encourage gender diversity. Examples of these laws include those that offer grants or subsidies only to women-led startups and that offer incentives to businesses that employ women in top positions. Business associations can plan training courses, and workshops specifically for female entrepreneurs, giving them the tools and resources necessary to be successful. To meet the needs of female founders, businesses might implement mentorship programs, inclusive hiring policies, and encouraging work cultures. As role models and proponents of gender parity in the startup ecosystem, business leaders are essential in promoting diversity and inclusion within their companies.

Through cross-sector collaboration and the application of these strategies, we can inspire a culture of inclusion that empowers women entrepreneurs to thrive and contribute significantly to India's burgeoning startup ecosystem.

At Paaduks, we pride ourselves on fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace environment. With a commitment to gender equality and empowerment, we are thrilled to announce that our workforce comprises an impressive 90% of women. We believe that diversity is not just a goal but a fundamental strength that drives innovation, creativity, and success.”

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

“On this International Women's Day, I urge all women across India to recognize and value their strength, fortitude, and boundless possibilities. Let's keep shattering boundaries, questioning conventions, and resolutely pursuing our dreams. All of us together should work towards building a future in which women's contributions are recognized, and valued, their voices are heard, and their potential is fulfilled.”

She continued stating, “Let's take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate our accomplishments, provide each other support and encouragement, and work for a more diverse and equitable society. Never doubt that you are strong, capable, and worthy of consideration and that you should be given every opportunity to succeed.”

Alka Dembla, Head of Retail, The Indian Garage Co (TIGC)

Why Is Inclusion Critical for Businesses

“Fostering inclusivity in the retail industry requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders. Government initiatives should prioritize the creation of supportive policies, offering financial incentives, and ensuring equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Industry bodies can play a pivotal role by establishing mentorship programs and networking forums to nurture a conducive environment for women entrepreneurs. Companies, on the other hand, should take proactive measures such as implementing diversity and inclusion training.

Leaders must champion gender equality, break stereotypes, and foster an inclusive corporate culture to drive meaningful change. These collective actions will not only increase the participation and success of women entrepreneurs in India's startup ecosystem but also contribute significantly to overall economic growth. At Styleverse Lifestyle Pvt Ltd, we are committed to upholding these principles and driving positive change within our industry.”

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

“As a female leader within the Retail industry, I am privileged to address women nationwide on this auspicious occasion of International Women's Day. Today, I urge all women across India to recognize and embrace the inherent strength, resilience, and untapped potential within themselves. To the remarkable women navigating life's myriad challenges with unwavering fortitude and grace, I extend my deepest admiration. Let us collectively endeavor to dismantle barriers, challenge prevailing stereotypes, and extend a hand of support to one another.”

She added, “Together, we possess the power to redefine conventional notions of success, instigate meaningful change, and foster a more inclusive and diverse business environment. Remember, your voice holds immense significance, your ideas are invaluable contributions, and your journey holds profound significance. Let us revel in celebrating our collective achievements, bolstering each other's endeavors, and envisioning a future where every woman's role is recognized and celebrated. Wishing you a Happy International Women's Day!