CII WR IWN Launches SPARK Initiative for Women in STEM

CII WR IWN Launches SPARK Initiative for Women in STEM

FPJ BureauUpdated: Friday, June 28, 2024, 03:43 PM IST
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At the launch of the CII WR IWN - Women in STEM SPARK Initiative, Dr. Chandrika Kaushik, Director General of Production Coordination & Services Interaction (PC & SI), emphasized that for India to become the third largest economy, 30-50% of its workforce must be women. She called for systematic changes, curated interventions, and a national body to collect detailed reports on women in STEM, highlighting the government's GATI initiative for gender data at institutional levels.

Dr. Kaushik stressed the importance of gender diversity in increasing women's workforce participation. She highlighted government efforts, flexible work policies, and the need to build confidence among women. She also addressed societal and family pressures as barriers and suggested academic institutions provide childcare facilities and flexible working hours. Success stories should be showcased in the media to inspire women.

The CII WR IWN SPARK program aims to empower women and girls in STEM through four strategic pillars:

1. Generating Interest in STEM: Road to School Initiative

- Engages girls in primary and secondary education with interactive learning and role models.

2. Nurturing Girls and Women in STEM: Financial Support

- Provides scholarships, grants, and innovative financial aids.

3. Facilitating Job Placements for Women in STEM

- Addresses the "leaky pipeline" issue with mentorship, flexible work arrangements, and unconscious bias training.

4. Retaining Women in STEM: A Handbook for Inclusive Workplaces

- Offers best practices for gender-inclusive workplaces, especially for MSMEs and startups.

Dr. Praveer Sinha, Immediate Past Chairman, CII Western Region, noted the increased presence of women in remote job locations and on-field roles. He praised the SPARK initiative for its potential impact on empowering women in professional life.

Anjali Pandey, Chairperson of CII WR IWN & COO of Cummins India, highlighted that bridging the gender gap could significantly expand India’s GDP. She pointed out societal pressures, gender pay disparity, and a smaller talent pool as barriers. The SPARK initiative aims to train, upskill, and recruit girls and women in STEM fields.

Ms. Madhavi Lal, Past Chairperson of CII WR IWN and Managing Director, Head of HR at Deutsche Bank India, reiterated CII’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. She emphasized that increasing women's participation in STEM will drive innovation, address skill shortages, and promote economic empowerment.

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