The Indian Women Network

08 Apr 2016

Today, women play a vital and leading role in every field of business or profession thus contributing to the economic development of the nation.

A study done by Catalyst found that, in terms of return on equity, the Fortune 500 companies with the highest percentages of women board directors, on average, outperformed companies with the lowest percentages of women board directors by 53 per cent. With regard to returns on sales, the number was 42 per cent and for return on invested capital, the figure was 66 per cent.

Although, when it comes to women’s economic participation, India’s position is at the bottom, when compared to the entire world and not just the 20 major economies. It ranks 124 out of 136 nations, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report from last year.

There is huge gap in the education-employment-leadership flow. While more women are graduating from universities and entering the workforce, their representation in the senior management is abysmally low. There are 9.8 million working women in India Inc., but only 18% are in the mid-management roles, and less than 2% of BSE 500 companies have female CEOs.

CII, over the past few decades, has been working towards inclusion and empowerment of women, both at workplace and at grassroots. We believe that there is a business sense in having women at workplace, at senior positions and on the board.

Despite several initiatives, we realized that there was a vacuum of thought and leadership to create a platform for women from all walks of life to discuss, debate and collaborate on creating an environment for participation of women in business and society. Over the years CII has come to understand that the professional women require a strongly structured mode of expanding their network, wherein they can discuss, in a circle of trust, their experience and overcome challenges at work and home.

CII thus created an exclusive platform for women called ‘Indian Women Network (IWN)’ a one-of-a-kind women forum giving the stage directly to women. Like the phrase goes, it is a network of women, for women & by women. Through IWN, we hope to provide a platform for women to discuss issues, opportunities at work places and learn from each other’s experiences. This network is also extended to students of final year graduation, post-graduation and PhD to guide them and provide them the opportunity to be mentored by experienced professionals.

Launched in January 2013, the IWN has more than 1000 online and 600 direct members, with presence in 11 states and 7 zones in India.

The network provides the much needed support mechanism for women with focus on Learning & Development, Well-being, and Policy & Advocacy. The sheer variety and bandwidth of the interventions mark the uniqueness of IWN- right from health talk and medical camps, programmes on personal effectiveness, Leadership Sessions, Mentorship workshops to conclaves.

Under the Learning and Development Task Force, several events for the benefit of members have been organized for enhancing skills, personality development and map career progression of women. The industry best practices and significant updates are some, among a host of other relevant need based activities for IWN members.

IWN recognizes the national importance of nurturing women’s health and well-being in a holistic manner to bring about a good work-life balance thereby contributing to social inclusiveness, economic growth & development of the country. The various activities include health camps, webinars on wellness, women’s health issues, work-life balance, parenting, services from the well-being partner for the benefit of members etc.

Supporting CII’s focus on promoting Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prohibitions & Redressal) Act 2013, IWN has organized various sessions to create awareness on the Act and Internal Complaints Committee. Also, various policy recommendations have been suggested for women’s safety and wellbeing, provision of support facilities for women, awareness on women-centric laws, and sharing best practices of inclusive organizations.

IWN will continue to reach out to engage and empower women through various initiatives to augment knowledge, skills and equal opportunity to enhance inclusive growth and economic parity.

The tangible and intangible impact created by the initiatives is of immense value not only for the women, but for the society at large.

Click here to be a part of the Indian Women Network