New Delhi and Bangalore, India — Wipro Limited has pledged its support to strengthening women’s role in the organization and has joined six other leading Indian firms as a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). CARE India, Global Compact Network and UN Women are leading the charge in India to encourage private sector companies to become signatories to these principles. The consortium will conduct research to identify gaps within current corporate policies that limit women’s participation and involvement in the workplace.
“Equal treatment of women and men is not just the right thing to do – it is also good for business. To move forward, we must acknowledge the power of women, as contributors, market drivers and consumers, especially in the private sector,” said Anne F. Stenhammer, Regional Programme Director, South Asia Sub-Regional Office, UN Women.
“We have always been in the forefront of promoting gender equality. It is imperative that organizations prove to be equal opportunity employers both in spirit and practice. At Wipro, we make sure there is no gender bias. And this helps us do business better,” said T.K Kurien, CEO, IT Business and Executive Director, Wipro Limited.
The six signatories in India have committed to creating women friendly workplaces, ensure equal opportunities for women and invest in skills training. “The move will encourage others to follow suit and ensure better working conditions and opportunities for women. Today India has a strong glimmer of hope in successfully advancing the women’s empowerment agenda in the private sector,” added Ms. Stenhammer.
It is essential that the private sector in India, along with civil society organizations and the Government play a role in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment nationally. According to a McKinsey report, Women Matter 2011: An Asian Perspective, Harnessing Female Talent to raise corporate performance, India has the greatest gender gap between university graduates and entry-level professionals: 42 per cent of graduates are female, but only 29 per cent of entry-level professionals are female.
India’s declining women’s labour force participation rate, which is currently 24 per cent (NSSO, Govt. of India, 2009-10), is one of the lowest in the world. In such a scenario, businesses need to proactively implement policies that ensure the inclusion of women’s talents, skills and energies — from executive offices to the factory floors and the supply chain.
Since the inception of the WEPs, more than 466 companies globally have signed the UN Women CEO Statement of Support and have set their own priorities, goals and programmatic approaches to achieving their own mandates.