UNGCNI Organises 3rd Gender Equality Summit – India Inc. for Generation Equality: Decade of Action

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New Delhi, February 6, 2020: Global Compact Network India (GCNI) – A local arm of the United Nations Global Compact, New York, conducted the third edition of its Gender Equality Summit, 2020 at The Park, New Delhi.

Coinciding with the International Women’s day, UNGCNI’s 3rd Gender Equality Summit linked the international theme with the Indian context to highlight the current generation as the key driver and India Inc. as a key catalyst for gender equality. The Summit aimed towards building a concrete roadmap towards gender equality at workplaces in India. It focused on driving and bringing in change for inclusive and equal opportunities in employment and growth for the women workforce.

The Summit witnessed over 250 leaders across the sectors sharing insights on women empowerment.  Key discussions included gaining an understanding of strategies adopted by leadership to promote a gender-neutral culture across hierarchies within the organisations and supply chains, insights on unique policies, practices, and programs that are structured within organisations to nurture participation and representation. It also focused on how women empowerment could be stimulated in digital jobs, the role of young women entrepreneurs in addressing social, economic and cultural barriers preventing exploration of non-conventional roles and responsibilities in India.

The Top Best Innovative Practices Awards ‘Women at Work – Place’ were presented to:

  • Public Sector – ONGC
  • Private Sector – Winner – Nestle, Runner’s Up – Zensar
  • NGO Sector – Bharti Foundation
  • Academic Sector – Salipur School
  • Special Jury Recognition Award – First Steps Babywear Pvt Ltd.

Kamal Singh, Executive Director, Global Compact Network India, said, “Holistic development of the nation and its societies can only happen if we assign equal value to both genders. For the growth and true success of the nation, gender diversity is imperative and we should strive towards achieving it. We need to keep in mind that Gender equality is not about creating a safe and inclusive workplace for women but our homes and society at large too. As India moves towards becoming a nation that treats all genders equally, the responsibility of the same rests in the hands of India Inc. in achieving Goal 5 of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls.”

Vaishali Nigam Sinha, Chief Sustainability, CSR and Communications Officer, ReNew Power & Chair, GES 2020, added, “2020 marks 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration. However, achieving gender equality continues to remain one of our foremost challenges. This year’s theme for the Summit – India Inc. for Generation Equality: A decade for Action – beautifully sums the goal before us in the coming decade. As we move closer to 2030, it is imperative for India Inc. to expedite the process of achieving generation equality, so that we as a nation are able to reap the social and economic benefits of greater participation of women in the labour force.”

A theme paper was also launched – Rethinking Gender Representation Across Value Chains – in association with Grant Thornton India.

  • An estimated 15 million girls and 10 million boys of primary school age are out of school.
  • Women comprised 39% of the workforce in 2018 but held only 27% of managerial positions.
  • 18% of women and girls aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the past 12 months in the 30 countries where female mutilation (FGM) is concentrated.
  • Globally 38.7% of employed women are working in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, but only 13.8% of landholders are women. The lack of sex-disaggregated data in the environment domain affects the development and implementation of effective policies and programmes to address the gender- environment nexus.
  • Women are made vulnerable through discriminatory migration policies. An assessment of migration policies related to family renunciation from 45 countries shows that 71% impose some restrictions on spouses and partners joining migrants in the host country. In other cases, women’s migration status is tied to a resident or citizen spouse, preventing them from living autonomous lives and heightening already unequal power relations and possible exposure to violence.
  • Women spend 3x as many hours a day to unpaid care and domestic work as men. This limits the time they have available for paid work, education and leisure and further reinforces gender-based social and economic disadvantages.
  • At home, at work and in political life, women are too often denied decision-making power. While women represent 39% of the global workforce only 27% of managerial positions worldwide were occupied by women in 2018, up marginally from 26% in 2015.

The paper showcases that the economic opportunity gap has worsened, now requiring 257 years from 2020 to attain parity, compared to 202 from last year. One of the greatest challenges to closing this gap as highlighted in the WEF Gender Gap Report is women’s underrepresentation in emerging roles such as cloud computing, engineering, and data and AI around the world.

In the context of value chain operations, women are more disadvantaged than men. Female labour-force participation in India has declined from 34% in 2006 to 24.8% in 2020 and seen as a significant deterrent. Skilling of the female workforce in primary sectors is of utmost importance. In the agricultural sector, women need to build their capacities to understand the end-to-end integrated agricultural value chain. Gender stereotypes and lack of infrastructure has traditionally sidelined women from core manufacturing functions. As a result, not many are able to reach leadership roles. The companies need to ensure policies and procedures are made to adapt to various life changes in their employees including maternity, changing care needs, dual-career couples and continuity.

It is the need of the hour that public policy and corporate policies incorporate the various gender-related barriers in India to ensure effective solutions. Gender mainstreaming goes beyond developing separate women’s projects within work programmes or women’s components within existing activities in the work programmes. It requires attention to gender perspectives as an integral part of all activities across all programmes. This involves putting gender perspectives as the central frame of thought to all policy development, research, advocacy, development, implementation, and monitoring of norms and standards and planning, implementation and monitoring of projects.

Other renowned personalities who graced the event included Nishtha Satyam, Deputy Representative, UN Women MCO for India, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, Anjali Singh, MD, Deutsche Bank, Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Country Director, Public Policy & Government Affairs, Salesforce, India & South Asia, Anand Vijay Jha, Vice President, and Head- Corporate Affairs Public Policy, Communications, and Sustainability, Walmart India, Raj Seshadri, President, Data and Services, Mastercard, KakuNakhate, President & Country Head- India Bank of America, GowriIshwaran CEO, The Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF), Alka Mittal, Director-HR, ONGC, Shelly Singh, Co-Founder, and Chief Business Officer, People Strong, Friederike TSCHAMPA, Delegation of the European Union to India, Raj Seshadri, President, Data and Services, Mastercard, and Shaili Chopra, Founder, She the People TV.