Gender Inclusion critical for sustainable business growth: Director (HR) at GCNI Gender Equality Summit

Underlining the need for a structural change, ONGC Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal said, in a message, that gender diversity and inclusion are critical for sustainable business growth. The Director shared the message at the Global Compact Network India (GCNI) 4th Gender Equality Summit on 10 March 2021. She  expressed hope that progress towards gender parity continues and accelerates in the coming time.

The two-day Gender Equality Summit, during 9-10 March 2021, was organized with the theme “COVID and New Gender Equations: Adversity to Opportunity”. While Director (HR) was unable to address the Valedictory Session of the event personally, her message was shared in the session chatroom by GCNI Assistant Program Manager Tamanna Girdhar.

A visual from Valedictory Session of GCNI 4th Gender Equality Summit
A visual from Valedictory Session of GCNI 4th Gender Equality Summit

Dr Alka Mittal extended warm wishes to all at the 4th Gender Equality Summit and appreciated the theme of the event. “The theme “COVID and New Gender Equations: Adversity to Opportunity” is not only very apt, but also full of hope and positivity in the backdrop of one of the biggest crisis of our times”, she remarked. The Director also complemented GCNI for conducting the virtual Summit on this theme.

“In view of the disproportionate repercussions of the pandemic on women, the need to accelerate efforts towards gender parity becomes all the more urgent and important at all levels – governments, institutions, organizations, civil society, etc.” Dr Alka Mittal said gender diversity and inclusion is critical for sustainable business growth of organizations, and for the society at large. She said that the need is for structural changes as well as for change in mind-sets and attitudes. She called for a larger collaboration to contribute to creating a more equal and better world.

Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ram Mohan Mishra, speaking on the occasion, asserted that if the better half of the world’s population is not able to contribute in an optimum and efficient manner, then it is a collective loss. He said the loss is not only for both -- men and women -- but for the nation and society at large. He underlined the need for women to realize their potential and for ecosystem that enables them to utilize those potential to contribute to nation building.

Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ram Mohan Mishra addressing at the event
Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ram Mohan Mishra addressing at the event

Mr Mishra said that the Ministry is focusing on creating an enabling ecosystem for women including infrastructure, institution, health and nutrition, education and skilling. The Secretary further touched upon his points. Speaking about infrastructure, Mr Mishra said women struggle in commuting to offices and finding accommodation when moving to a different city. He said that the government is working to address these concerns. He also underlined the need for institutional changes, including liberal maternity leaves, childcare leaves, etc. He said the corporates have a huge role to play.

The Secretary said that by addressing gender equality, several other Sustainable Development Goals are achieved by default. He said it has a huge multiplier effect. Mr Mishra also advocated for setting up short, medium and long term aspirations and working towards achieving them.

Speaking at the occasion, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) Director (HR) Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra said men and women should both come together to promote gender equality. He said we should challenge the challenges and not only be a well-coordinated world but a gender neutral society. Mr Mohapatra called to reshape our perceptions and opined, “Gender inclusive society is not only a social imperative but an economic imperative as well.”

IOCL Director (HR) Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra speaking at the Valedictory Session
IOCL Director (HR) Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra speaking at the Valedictory Session

UNGC Brazil Executive Director Carlo Pereira, said that just like India, there is a similar issue of gender equality in Brazil. He said that the pandemic has impacted women immensely. “More women have lost their jobs as compared to men”. Sharing facts on addressing gender equality in Brazil, Mr. Pereira said companies have a major role to play in setting up examples of gender parity; “Participation of women in operations should increase.”

UNGC Brazil Executive Director Carlo Pereira speaking during the session
UNGC Brazil Executive Director Carlo Pereira speaking during the session

ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker, who is also the President of GCNI, had addressed the Inaugural Session of the two-day event being held virtually. He had advocated for a renewed focus on gender equality in view of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and said no country or society can claim to achieve holistic development or become a just society without gender justice. ONGC CMD Mr Shanker had also appealed to everyone to challenge gender stereotypes and promote equality in all spheres of life.