XLRI Jamshedpur’s Centre for Gender Equality and Inclusive Leadership (CGEIL) witnessed former senior international civil servant Liselotte Waldheim Natural stressing on inclusive leadership at its maiden dialogue series on February 22.
The CGEIL, which was set up at the B-school in March 2021 to encourage inclusion of women in economically gainful activities, had earlier this year appointed media professional and author Alka Raza as its chairperson.
Natural, an experienced leader and champion for women, girls and gender equality, said, “It takes active involvement of men and women to progress the motive of gender equality. You have to grab every opportunity you have, you should never shy away thinking that this kind of work is not cut out for me.”
Natural, who is the youngest professional woman ever recruited at the UN Secretariat, New York, also discussed her own career journey and what it takes for a woman to get recognised in their professional life.
“What should a female candidate do when her work is rejected by male boss?” asked a participant, to which Liselotte replied, “It is something that we have to accept, and try to prove them wrong with our hard work. Your male boss will accept it. Even if they don’t, your hard work will definitely pay you in the long run. I have myself transferred to jobs. You have to be open to opportunities, and jump on to them whenever needed. You must be a fighter.”
She concluded by saying, “As a woman, never doubt your abilities. Pick up all challenges. Even if you fail, you will gain experience. Never be guilty of being a working mother. Let your children participate in your work experience. Encourage both daughters and sons to acquire education. Never give up your battles as a man or woman, do it together as a joint partnership, things will be easy.”
“CGEIL has an ambitious goal, which is, to significantly increase the participation of women in the workforce within the next five-10 years through strategic and broad-based interventions. As a first step, we have set up CGEIL and started our sessions too, and we aim to build a world-class centre of excellence in years to come”, said XLRI director, Father Paul Fernandes.
Chairperson Alka Raza further added, “CGEIL aims at covering the existing challenges and obstacles to women empowerment, peace and security and will be hosting monthly events throughout the year. My experience over the years has taught me that it is our need and duty to reach out to those who live in underprivileged circumstances. We must recognise women for their role and contribution they have been making for centuries.”
She also said that women have independent, equal roles and make enormous contributions to the economies; in governance, businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs, employees or by doing unpaid work at home. They remain, however, unrecognised and disproportionately affected by poverty, exploitation, prejudices and discriminations.
According to the statistics by World Economic Forum, India ranks 140 out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) 2021. And according to the Survival Gender Inequality Index (GII) which was introduced in 2010 by the UN Human Development Report, India ranks 155 out of 156 countries in the domain of Health and Survival.