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As India competes with global financial capitals for foreign investment, business and talent, the country can no longer afford to ignore the case for diversity. The decriminalization of homosexuality by India’s top court and moves to address the epidemic of sexual harassment faced by women are just the initial steps the Indian business community needs to take. The developing economy, which is struggling to lift millions out of poverty, has its task cut out for it. Still, change is coming.

The access to bank accounts for more women in the country allows for “enhanced economic participation,” said Minister of Women & Child Development and Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani. Diversity and inclusion may make people “deeply, deeply uncomfortable” and challenge their views about how a workplace should look, said Bo Young Lee, Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer at a ride-hailing company. They’re among women who spoke about the way forward to a more inclusive society at Bloomberg's Equality Summit in Mumbai, along with activists and leaders from business and government.

Key highlights of the summit include discussions around the financial inclusion of women and the importance of data in making decisions. Data is vital to informing decisions that address diversity challenges and drive real change. To demonstrate the importance of understanding how women are moving in organizations, Namrita Jhangiani, partner at Egon Zehnder, cited the example of one of her clients who gave women returning from maternity leave more difficult jobs. This motivated them because of the trust and faith placed on them. “When you give them a greater challenge they’re motivated to rise to that challenge,” said Jhangiani.

 


 

Full story: Archana Chaudhary and Muneez Naqvi: Educating Leaders on Diversity Is First Step: Equality Summit in Bloomberg (14 October 2019)

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