Mysuru: “Women need to be reminded often that they also have a right to dream and go after realising their dreams and given a fair chance, women can be strong and determined enough to achieve the set goals,” said Pramoda Devi Wadiyar.
She was speaking at a Conference on “Empowering the Indian Woman: A Vision to Fly Higher” organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mysuru Chapter, at Hotel Grand Mercure here this morning and said, “Women empowerment means freedom from social, economical, political, caste and gender-based discrimination. One should be encouraged to develop self-confidence to articulate and communicate one’s thoughts and be given freedom to make choices.”
Recalling the contributions of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar to women’s empowerment, she said that right to hold properties by women was advocated by him at a time when there was so much gender discrimination and she was proud of the fact that she belonged to such a family.
On education, she said that it is the most important and indispensable tool for women empowerment. “However, it has been a challenge to change the attitude of disregard towards women which is so deep-rooted in society. But we have come a long way and today women are represented in all fields,” she said.
MYRA School of Business Founder-Chairperson Dr. Shalini Urs, speaking on the topic “Womenomics: It is not only empathy and equity but about economics” calling for the Mysuru model of Womenomics, said that women empowerment is not just a feministic aspect but about how far the envelope can be pushed.
“Womenomics is a word coined by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay in the book by the same name. Gender is no longer just gender issue but a business issue as women are impacting at every level of business,” she said.
She pointed out that even though women outshine men in many respects it is sad as the IMF (International Monetary Fund) Chief Christine Lagarde revealed that if India’s GDP of 27 percent has to grow then more women have to participate and currently it is not happening.
When it comes to education in India, girls’ enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education has gone up as they outnumber boys. However, when compared to Pakistan where 70% of the girls are educated, Bangladesh 60% and the global average is 60%, in India it is 51% girls and 49% boys who are educated, she said.
“Sadly when it comes to economic participation we fail miserably. This is happening in spite of the huge talent pool of women as they are not being gainfully employed,” she said. On the business front, Dr. Shalini said that women leaders contribute a lot more to profits of the industry than men as the data shows and rarely a woman heading an organisation has gone bankrupt.
“Women’s spending power has gone up. In the US for instance 40% women out-earn men and have got better salaries than their husbands. Hence, the purchasing power has gone up as they buy more shoes and clothes than men. Let us not be apologetic about this fact,” she said and added that this can happen only when certain glass ceilings are broken.
CII Immediate Past Chairman, Karnataka and Volvo India, Managing Director Kamal Bali and Industrialist B.R. Pai also spoke.
Former Indian Athlete Reeth Abraham shared why she decided to give up a team sport like basketball and concentrate on individual sport like long-jump and running and how she got back to track and field training after her pregnancy.
CII Mysuru Vice-Chairman Bhaskar Kalale welcomed.