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Women Mean Business Conference

Women Mean Business Conference

Women Mean Business Conference

Women Mean Business Conference

The Women Mean Business conference hosted by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women will take place in Mumbai on the 11th of December, 20009. The aim is to bring together highly successful professionals from across India to share their knowledge and experience across a diverse range of sectors and create a lasting network of contacts. The one-day conference will consist of keynote speeches, discussion panels and smaller workshops, and the Foundation will use the ideas generated in the conference to develop concrete projects in partnership with local organisations, incorporating the newly formed network of contacts.
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A recent article clearly shows the isssues facing women in India:

Siliconindia, New Delhi: 9th November 2009
There is a large difference in the salary structure of men and women in corporate India. The average annual income of a woman is $1,185, which is less than one-third of a man's $3,698, employed in Indian companies.

According to the survey done by World Economic Forum (WEF), there is a yawning gender gap in corporate India in the employment of women from the entry level to the top management of companies. As reported by Financial Chronicle, the survey, based on responses of 60 of the 100 best employers in India, showed that women employees held only 10 percent of the senior management positions in two-thirds of the surveyed companies. None of the companies had women chief executive officers (CEOs) and almost 40 percent of the respondents had only 10 percent women work force.

Only four percent of the companies surveyed monitor salary gaps. However, 84 percent of the companies surveyed don't believe there is a wage gap, while the remaining 12 percent do not track wage gaps at all. "It's not okay in India if a woman brandishes a whiskey bottle and sells it," said Vijay Mallya, Chairman, UB Group, implying that cultural and social norms prevented some work environments to be naturally women-unfriendly.

Saadia Zahidi, the Co-author of the study said, "Women will need to be more efficiently integrated into the economy in order to boost India's long-term competitive potential. The WEF's survey of some of the largest companies in India shows that to achieve this integration, Indian companies will need to set targets, improve policies to close salary gaps and promote work-life balance."

PepsiCo Chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi said that there was a need to educate the male population about women empowerment, besides educating the female population. "If you do not treat the women well, society will not progress." added Indra.

India ranks 114th among 134 countries in the WEF's India gender gap review 2009. It has closed 93 percent of its health gender gap, ranking 134th out of as many economies. It stands at 121st position in education gap with 84 percent and is at 127th place with 41 percent of economic participation gap. Besides, it is ranked 24th with 27 percent of the political empowerment gender gap, according to the study.

"The issues are all very critical. They are importantly integrated in terms of moving a country forward. The common ingredient in most studies is the recognition that investment in women and girls correlates positively to economic growth and poverty alleviation," said Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-large for global women's issues.
One of the key messages of the one day Conference is that the economic empowerment of women will also benefit men, the wider society and nations as a whole.
To view the SiliconIndia article on line click here