Women's participation in the workforce in India has been abysmally low. Indian women’s contribution to the GDP is one of the lowest in the world (17%). Lack of female participation in spite of them being active in secondary and tertiary education is worrisome. Further, while a number of young women do join the workforce, the numbers get thinner as one looks upwards at the corporate pyramid.
Through Women's Excellence Initiative, we undertake research to understand and identify the root-cause of the common issues that inhibit women engagement and growth in the workforce from an Indian and Asian perspective and at the same time assimilate the best practices from across the world.
The Women's Excellence Initiative is aimed at encouraging dialogue, discussion, debate and ideation on how to engage, retain and accelerate more women in the workforce by understanding their challenges and ensuring meaningful data-driven solutions. Indian School of Business continues to significantly contribute to women in business through all its programmes.
Women's Excellence Initiative also works with women at the grassroots, particularly the entrepreneurial ventures undertaken by these women. We study the alternate business models being explored by them in the form of setting up organisations as co-operatives, self-help groups and other such forms. Majority of the research currently revolves around scaling up and deep diving into the merits of alternate forms of business given the context of bottom of the pyramid.
Women Career Trajectories after Graduation
The key reason for undertaking this research is to understand the career paths taken by women and the common challenges they go through, how much support is provided by the ecosystem (home and office) and how do they overcome these challenges. Further, the research also investigates what kind of support systems would women like to have from their workplaces and how much of it is already in place.
Women in the Board Room
The objective of this study is to dive deep into the challenges women face while reaching the boardroom and why only a handful of them reach the boardroom. It also tries to understand what are the common practices being undertaken by some of the progressive organisations to promote board diversity.
ISB joined hands with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative to train 1350 underserved women entrepreneurs running their own businesses, with a business turnover ranging from INR 5 lacs to INR 75 lacs, to upscale their businesses by providing them business and management education and practical skills.
This program aimed at increasing the number of women ready to take on board responsibilities. The program covered the necessary skills and knowledge required to qualify as a board member and also exposed the participants to the various challenges it brought along. The participants included current and prospective board members.
The Programme was designed to help senior women professionals to acquire skills for effective leadership in a male dominant organization. The learnings of the programme enabled participants to craft a personal action plan to guide their career advancement, gain insights into their strengths and developmental opportunities as a leader and lead more effectively and inclusively.
ISB partnered with Accenture to build their Grow Women in Leadership Programme (GWILP) which aimed to develop strong leadership capabilities in the participants. The six months programme had modules on Strategic Thinking, Business Story Telling, Customer Centricity and Financial Acumen; webinars on cutting edge topics like analytics and IOT as well as Action Learning Projects that were mentored by ISB.