How businesses can help women beat the odds and rise up the ranks


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Surya Kannoth ( )

A foot in the door may give a woman access, but does little to address gender inequalities in the workplace. The challenge lies in helping women scale the career ladder and get a seat at the table they want – in every sector. How can businesses and enterprises do their bit? And what should women do?

In a panel discussion on ‘Beating the odds and rising up the ranks’ at the recently concluded SheSparks 2023 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, Meghna Agarwal, Co-founder, IndiQube, and Sangeeta Bavi, Executive Director – Digital Natives, Microsoft, spoke at length about how businesses can offer opportunities to women to rise up the career ladder.

“I usually do not like to differentiate between a man or a woman, as long as they are performing well. There are enough opportunities in our company and we look at the team in the long haul,” Agarwal said.

Bavi said that whether you work in the corporate world or at a startup, the whole idea is that there are equal opportunities. As an individual, one must make sure that you’re grabbing those opportunities.

However, Bavi was quick to note the under-representation of women in the higher rung of the corporate ladder across industries.

“A lot of Indian companies are taking initiatives to drive diversity in the workforce. But, the number of women leaders in the higher management are abysmally low. So, while organisations are deliberate about making sure that we have the right representation of women, it definitely helps for women to start aspiring to reach the top,” she said.

Speaking about evolving leadership styles to understand the psyche of Gen Z that is entering the workforce, Bavi said that the amount of confidence and clarity that the younger workforce has is immense.

“So, changing leadership styles to hear them out, give them opportunities, and not think about hierarchy or years of experience as the only indicator of building leaders is very crucial in today’s world.”

Shedding a light on how her leadership style has evolved over the years, Agarwal said she now believes in the power of delegation, which helps in building confidence and empowering employees.

SheSparks 2023

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