India has one of the world’s largest gender gaps in labour force participation, and changing that could add $2.9 trillion to its economy by 2020.
The ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ symposium is an initiative by Bharti AXA to explore the business case of this agenda in corporate India and share the best practices.
It was attended by a high-profile cross-industry delegates. It focussed on how diversity in the workplace could help firms enhance their understanding of their customer base and target consumers better.
India presently stands No. 41 on the Global Diversity Readiness Index. It is Asia’s worst performer on representation of women at every level (26.6% overall, against the regional average of 47.5%)3. Women in India generate only 17% of GDP (against 37% globally) and constitute only 24% of the workforce4. Men are, on average, three times likelier to be hired and promoted than women at every level.
Executive-level women leave at a rate (28%) double that of their representation (14%). Government figures show the disabled make up only 0.4% of the Indian workforce, 13% short of the figure recommended by legislation. Low awareness and legal issues mean hardly any Indian companies have LGBT diversity.
Can Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiative go beyond its unilateral benefit of establishing a responsible corporate? Can D&I build a more customer-centric and open work culture? How should an organization mirror the external consumer realities like societal changes in its attitude and behaviour? The symposium ignited discussions around these and many other hard questions, on a multi-format platform that brought together diverse views and experiences from various walks of life.
During the symposium Christiane Bisanzio, Group Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer nominated amongst the top 50 D&I professionals in Industry by the Economist, said, “Strongly tied together with AXA’s global D&I Strategy and senior executive support, these are exciting times for AXA in India to leverage the diversity that exists in our country, tap into the immense talent pool and come up with innovative ways to reach out to our diverse customers. Set against this backdrop, the symposium is a great platform to discuss innovative strategies to help foster a culture of inclusion at AXA in India.”
Sandeep Ghosh, CEO of Bharti AXA Life Insurance says, “The case for a more inclusive workplace has never been stronger. Having a team that reflects the marketplace can be a huge advantage, as many businesses are now finding out. I am delighted that the top experts on this subject joined us at the symposium and what we witnessed was a lively exchange of ideas.”