Published: 08th March 2021
Women don't need support, we seek respect from our peers at the workplace: Welspun's Dipali Goenka at IITM Summit
The panel consisted of other women leaders- MD of Qualcomm Ventures, Varsha Tagare and one of Asia's first venture capital funds, Saha Fund Founder Ankita Vashistha
Women don't need support but all they seek is respect from heir peers at the workplace. Our peers and colleagues need to be empathetic and sensitive towards the situation of gender inequality at workplaces in India and help us change that for the better, said Dipali Goenka, CEO and Director of Welspun. She was speaking at a panel on Women in Entrepreneurship: The Untapped Potential at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras' Entrepreneurship Summit on Monday.
The IIT Madras' E-Summit 2021 began on March 5 and will go on till March 14, 2021. The theme for E-Summit 2021 is Sustain to Attain, highlighting the importance of persevering through difficult times.
"Our work has just begun, diversity is extremely necessary for a company's betterment and character. We need to have more role models, more examples at the top who can inspire the ones down the line, give them inspiration, mentors within the organisations who can help them. When I sit in a board meeting maybe it's just two women, this is just the beginning of our journey I feel, that's not what you want, this needs to change," Dipali emphasised while speaking about the scenario of gender equality in our country's workplaces.
The panel consisted of other eminent women leaders- Managing Director of Qualcomm Ventures, Varsha Tagare and one of Asia's first venture capital funds, Saha Fund Founder Ankita Vashistha. Speaking on gender equality in workspaces, Ankita added, "It was really important for me to increase the amount of funding for women-led start-ups in the country. The pay wage gap, we are working towards addressing that effectively and also looking at women in leadership roles — more women entrepreneurs thus more women leaders." While Varsha said that at Qualcomm, the management is trained to be unbiased in terms of gender or even racially. "I have been very fortunate in that sense. However, the practice needs to start at home, I have two daughters and I always think about how to raise them to strong, independent women and take on things that you like," she added.
Moving on to why entrepreneurship opportunities are important for women in the country, Ankita shared, "Saha Fund was one of the first venture capital funds to invest in women entrepreneurship, my progression was quite smooth from academics to getting a job, I realised through this that there are women who don't get such opportunities. While working I realised that there aren't enough women in the finance industry, in investing and there weren't enough opportunities for women entrepreneurs, that's the reason I started the Saha Fund in order to address this gap. I still feel we have a long way to go, however, there are more people talking about it and there are opportunities increasing gradually."
Upskilling ourselves and keeping ourselves up to date with the advancements in technology is something that has gained more optimum during the COVID-19 pandemic and after. Varsha and Ankita also spoke about the importance of upskilling in these challenging times and what they did to keep a track of changing trends in their own industries. "You have to know the trends that are going on in your industry, fortunately now we have facilities of long-distance training, YouTube videos, the top most universities have opportunities to train working professionals and not just students," said Varsha. To which, Ankita agreed and added, "There's so much online, last year we all realised the power of online learning. There are so many ways to upskill yourselves and in this era, digital skills are the most important. I took an online course too this year and it was really exciting. Independent of whichever track you pick, it's really important to stay up to date on technology and luckily there are resources available that you can take advantage of."