Did you know that India is ranked 134th in terms of economic participation and opportunity out of the 142 countries surveyed for the 2014 Global Gender Gap Index, only a few points better off than Saudi Arabia (137), Iran (139) and Syria (142)?
Did you know that only 5% of working women in India make it to senior leadership positions in the corporate sector, compared to the global average of 20%?
Taking cognisance of this startling gap in economic opportunities for women and men, 6 women from IIMB’s PGP batch of 2013-15 initiated “Women in Management (WIM)” in 2014. In the words of Sharbanee Prusty, co-founder of WIM, “WIM is not meant to be a grievance redressal system, we do not believe that there is a conscious discrimination against women, we just wanted to identify the gaps and initiative a formal dialogue about the business issues faced by women”.
WIM means to encourage leadership initiative in women. WIM organises workshops and panel discussions round the year to bring entrepreneurs, professionals and students in touch with success stories of women leaders from industry and academia. Another ambitious venture is the formation of mentorship circles, an idea of the original founder which is a work in progress.
“While women chapters are common in foreign B-schools, IIMB is one of the few management institutes in the country to have such a society”, said Manasa Satujoda, WIM Head – Events. “We are fortunate to have unwavering support from the institute administration for this initiative”, she added.
At WIM’s annual flagship event, the Women Leadership Summit, keynote speaker Meena Ganesh (serial entrepreneur and currently CEO/MD, Portea Medical) remarked “Get rid of thought barriers. Do not be limited by the choices you make. Do not hesitate to speak up for yourself”. The 2nd edition of the Annual Leadership Summit is scheduled to be held in January next year and WIM promises to make it The WIM Team also plans to extensively engage with the foreign students who come to IIMB on exchange to
While WIM might have been a society started by women, it is not a society of women. Utkarsh Sahu, the only male Senior Coordinator on the WIM Team this year, says “My sister decided to leave her job at a reputed IT firm after getting pregnant despite being very passionate about her work. I realised that most working women across the country must face this decision, and thus I completely associate with what WIM stands for. Tomorrow as a manager, I should be able to tackle such situations in a more inclusive manner”. This year’s batch too has displayed strong enthusiasm for WIM’s cause and the Society received numerous applications from members of both genders.
“We only look forward to a tomorrow where corporate decisions are not affected by gender considerations”, said Gita. “WIM is our attempt to sensitise women and men about these issues, and we hope to grow into an organisation that champions the cause of women across India’s corporate space to stand up for themselves and make informed decisions about their careers”, she added.
Upper row (from L to R): Gita Sowmya Parlapalli, Utkarsh Sahu, Manasa Satujoda
Lower row (from L to R): Isha Gupta, Radha Madhuri, Amrita Kini