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The CII Indian Women Network – Enabling Women to Reach Their Full Economic Potential

26 Dec 2019

Inclusivity, equality and diversity are the words of the hour as society shifts its focus to provide equal opportunities to all. More women across the country are now participating in the workforce, especially in sectors previously dominated by men, and education and literacy rates for women are also on the rise.

Recognizing the need to provide career women a structured network to discuss their experiences and challenges, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) launched the Indian Women Network (IWN) in 2013. Since its inception, IWN has brought together career women from across the country to work together in addressing workplace challenges faced by women and raise awareness about creating gender parity in businesses and society.[1] Spread across 17 States and 7 Zones, IWN’s network of women achievers include: women in industry, family businesses; entrepreneurs; independent professionals, and women students and faculty in higher education institutions.[2]

To reach its goals, IWN:

Has developed an online Gender Diagnostic Tool to enable companies to self-assess and identify any strengths, gaps or opportunities to help improve gender parity within the company.
Has started using data science to identify and understand the attitude of women towards workplace. 
Is reaching out to students in agri-MBA courses and groups of women in rural India to better understand the roles women take up in the agriculture sector and suggest a suitable career path for them.
Is reaching out to tech companies to see how they can help enable women entrepreneurs scale up their businesses and is working with companies in the manufacturing sector to identify the best-case studies on gender equality practices which the rest of the industry can use to create a roadmap to help women build a robust manufacturing career.
Is mapping entrepreneurship-centred education programs available to women in schools and colleges and providing mentor-mentee programs for women in the IWN and CII network to promote women leadership in the industry.
Is developing safe-city models to ensure the safety of women in cities.[3]

IWN also has various capacity building initiatives to promote participation of women in the workforce. These include:

Make your Mark Circles – An exclusive peer mentoring program for mid-career women to advance personal leadership.
Campus to Corporate Program – To groom students for work in the professional space.

Through these and other initiatives that encompass workshops, training programs and conclaves, IWN has been altering the landscape for women, empowering them to reach their full economic potential.

The CII National Committee on Women Empowerment and IWN are focussing efforts towards developing a long-term roadmap which identifies areas where CII can create awareness and help build an enabling ecosystem for women in the workplace. Working with the Indian industry, businesses, policy makers and women, CII and IWN aim to provide tangible results in key initiatives through policy advocacy, knowledge creation and on-ground interventions. [4] At the recently concluded CII EXCON, South Asia’s largest construction equipment exhibition held in December 2019, women in the infrastructure sector was an area of special focus. The CII Women Building India – Equal Opportunity Awards were launched and recognized companies from the infrastructure sector which have taken proactive steps to enable women to participate in the workforce.          

(1) CII – IWN Brochure (Slide 2)

(2) CII – IWN Brochure (Slide 3)

(3) Volume 4 – Women Matter Newsletter (pg. 5, 9)

(4) IWN Website – https://indianwomennetwork.in/