GES 2017: Ivanka, Cherie, Chanda thrash out issues plaguing women
Power women Cherie Blair, Ivanka Trump, ICICI Bank's Chanda Kochhar and Dell EMC's CCO Karen Quintos packed a knockout punch in the opening session of the second day of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017+ in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
And perhaps no one felt its effects more than Telangana's IT minister K Taraka Rama Rao (KTR), who despite being at his charming best, was subjected to some friendly 'male bashing' by UK's former first lady Cherie Blair, who is also the founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.
The session themed 'We Can Do It! Innovations in Workforce Development and Skills Training' saw the women leaders thrash out issues plaguing women in the sphere of entrepreneurship and the workforce globally. KTR, who was moderating the discussion, was caught on the backfoot on several occasions when the erudite Cherie Blair threw googlies at him.
On one such point, Blair said: "If we could do something in this world we got to do something about men", and turning to KTR, said "that includes even you". Much to KTR's discomfiture, she went on to add "men need to understand that they need to do their share as well". Blair hammered home this point by citing various global studies that indicate that working women tend to plough 90% of their earnings back into their families and communities whereas men only contribute a meagre 30-40%.
On the other hand, Ivanka Trump+ alluded to the "unconscious bias" that is so engrained in society towards girls and women. "I have a six-year-old daughter and I'm actually trying to get rid of some of her confidence. I think the purity of a young girl and the lack of assumption about what her role is, what she should do and shouldn't do, what she should like and shouldn't like, the longer we can preserve that the better. She (daughter) makes me realise how many ingrained biases I have that I don't realise and am accidentally... passing them on to my children," said Trump.
ICICI Bank's managing director and CEO Chanda Kochhar prescribed the three 'E's - Education, Empowerment and Encouragement — to boost the prospects of aspiring women, especially those from the underserved sections of society.
Both Kochhar and Quintos dwelt at length on the initiatives their respective organisations have initiated to foster gender diversity at the workplace and bring women back into the workforce and in leadership positions.
Kochhar also pointed out that for a woman, the most challenging stage is when she is starting her family and organisations as well as society need to support her the most. "We tend to give up when we are starting a family.
If you do not give up then you are able to continue for long," the ICICI Bank boss said. Ivanka was quick to add that it is about choice and that even women taking care of their family are "working" and should be accorded the same respect for their choice.