Bloomberg Equality Summit: Women’s Participation Has To Become A National Agenda, Says Tech Mahindra’s CP Gurnani
Including women in the workplace and educational institutes should be a national agenda, according to CP Gurnani, chief executive officer and managing director of Tech Mahindra Ltd.
“I think it (women’s participation) really has to become a national agenda,” Gurnani said at Bloomberg’s flagship Equality Summit in Mumbai—the first in Asia. Even when the representation of women in the Parliament is at a historic high of 17 percent, it still falls far short of the halfway mark, he said.
Unsafe commutes and poor implementation of laws that protect female workers have resulted in about 20 million women—the size of the combined populations of New York, London and Paris—vanishing from India’s workforce since 2004, according to the World Bank’s estimates.
While a push for inclusion has resulted in greater participation of women across workplaces and colleges, any meaningful measure of gender equality remains a challenge, Gurnani said.
The challenge of inclusion is also specific to certain geographies that have historically discouraged the participation of women. “When I went to school, there were only two girls in a batch of 300 students,” Gurnani said. “Today, when I go to hire from engineering schools, the number is around 40 percent, depending on which geography you are going to.”
Top executives of Indian companies need to make diversity and inclusion a personal agenda.C.P. Gurnani, Chief Executive Officer Of Tech Mahindra
“Most of us realise that if you have diversity at your workplace you have a better balance, better creativity, better innovation, better multitasking capabilities,” Gurnani said. “I’m very clear that for anything which is a change, the only way to drive it is to drive it from the top.”
The Bloomberg Equality Summit brought together business and government leaders as well as activists for the first time in Asia to discuss inclusion and diversity. The key speaker of the event was Minister of Women & Child Development and Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani.