With the aim of making the ‘Women of Worth’ initiative bigger and showcasing its commitment towards the cause, L’Oreal Paris in partnership with NDTV hosted ‘Women of Worth’ conclave on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Distinguished personalities and influencers from across the country were invited to participate in the discussion that tried to touch upon key women related issues that are plaguing modern India and the role played by the women in our lives in today’s age and time.
Divided into four sessions, the panel discussion brought to the forefront some hard hitting points on women’s issues like gender equality, pay parity, safety for women in India and the position of women in the corporate world. The afternoon was opened by Dr. Prannoy Roy, Executive Co-Chairperson, NDTV Group.
Welcoming the panellists, Jean-Christophe Letellier, Managing Director, L’Oreal India, said, “L’Oreal believes that true beauty is about transforming people's lives. That’s why ‘Women of Worth’ as a platform is extremely close to our heart. We believe it’s our duty to inspire and encourage more women to develop initiatives that will create new opportunities to change our lives, and of course also change the course of how the world sees them. Through initiatives like ‘Women of Worth’, we’d like to celebrate brilliant examples of beauty in diversity and talent that does not take into account the gender or ethnicity of the person”
Session 1: We, The Unequal
Priya Dutt (politician), Anjum Chopra (Former Indian Cricket Team Captain), Naina Lal Kidwai (Chairperson, Max Financial), Manashi Guha (VP-Marketing, L’Oréal India), Suhel Seth (Managing Partner, Counselage India) and Harshavardhan Neotia, (President FICCI & Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group)
· The session highlighted how modern women have to fight inequalities across industries – and women in general command lesser remuneration than men, quality of work notwithstanding
· Panellists unanimously agreed that women need to market themselves better, stand up for each other a lot more, and that we also need to create a more robust social infrastructure in this country for women
Commenting on the issue, Suhel Seth said, “There are three issues that we need to discuss. We men don’t respect women as much as we should, we treat women as objects of benevolence or patronage, which is abominable, and our laws don’t support women as much as they should. We cannot have gender quotas, we must have gender respect.”
Session 2: Financial Empowerment of Women in India
Anjolie Ela Menon (Artist), Dr. Syeda S Hameed (Former member of the Planning Commission), Preeti Malhotra (Chairperson, ASSOCHAM), Jayant Krishna (CEO, National Skill Development Corporation) and Vineet Nayar (Founder, Sampark, Foundation & Former CEO, HCL, Technologies)
· Emphasis on how more corporates need to support the aspirations of women to establish successful careers across industries
Highlighting the need for financial empowerment of women, Preeti Malhotra said, “You need to get women into decision making positions. Only then will gender parity increase and you will see more women-friendly policies.”
Session 3: Looking Back, Looking forward
Arati Devi (Sarpanch, Dhunkapada, Odisha), Justice Leila Seth, Raghu Rai (photographer), Nidhi Dubey (Country Director, Girl Rising) and Farooq Abdullah (Politician)
· Focus on young girls and boys having their own growth space and the need to provide holistic education at the grass root level
In his remarks, Abdullah said, “While women have their education degrees, the government and the corporates need to do more to channelize their future.”
Justice Seth added, “While there are changes in law and society, the mindset of people is slow to change and this is the biggest challenge we face.”
Session 4: The Way We See Women
Shabana Azmi (Actress), Vrinda Grover (Lawyer, Researcher, Human Rights & Women’s Rights Activist), Shiv Vishwanathan (Social Scientist) and Kalpana Vishwanath (Co-founder Safetipin, Former Chief of Jagori) and Kalilkesh Singh Deo (Politician)
· Key points were raised regarding the prejudice against women
Commenting on the way women in Bollywood are positioned, Shabana Azmi said, “Filmmakers and artists have to exercise self-regulation in how we project women, objectifying and commodifying women is wrong.”
Speaking at the conclave, Vikram Chandra, CEO NDTV Group said, “On International Women’s Day, we must take a pledge to promote and protect the right of every woman in the world. NDTV as a media house has always supported women’s empowerment. We are proud to be associated with the ‘Women of Worth’ campaign that has stood for this cause globally and has applauded women who have made a significant impact on society. The conclave was an excellent gathering of like-minded people to share their thoughts and solutions for a promising future for women around the world.”
Praising the enthusiastic participation from the panelists, Satyaki Ghosh, Director, Consumer Products Division, L’Oréal India concluded the event by saying, “It was wonderful to see such passionate flow of opinions regarding the various issues discussed today. I would like to laud all the panellists present here who took time out from their schedule to participate in this initiative. Women have the same aspirations, abilities and qualities that men do and therefore they should have equal opportunities to develop their faculties. It is time we come out with more initiatives like ‘Women of Worth’ that recognize individual identity of women and make the women of our country feel that they are absolutely ‘worth it!’
The L’Oréal Paris ‘Women of Worth’ awards recognize the achievements of women who possess a strong personality, are sensitive to needs of the society and a pillar of support and strength in all walks of life. The nominees have been shortlisted after an extensive research process while identifying each one’s key contribution in their respective fields. These unique awards felicitate ‘Women of Worth’, while celebrating the many facets of their inspirational journey.
Through a public voting system in conjunction with jury inputs, the campaign will end on March 20th, 2016. A transparent and well-structured voting system for the public will be set up to ensure that the most deserving nominees win. A glittering ceremony; where the nominees will be awarded the 'Women of Worth’ titles will be held in Mumbai on 28th March 2016.