HYDERABAD: How to unleash the power of women? The second day of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit began on Wednesday with an electric and engaging discussion on this supposedly elusive question by ‘a cracker of a panel,’ who suggested simple and straightforward answers --- confidence, capabilities and access to capital and the onus to make this happen is not just on women but men as well.
Sharing these thoughts were --- in moderator IT minister KT Rama Rao’s words -- Ivanka Trump, the most powerful woman in the world, Cherie Blair, the first woman in UK history to pursue an independent career while her husband is a PM, Karen Quintos, the senior executive in Dell and our very own Chanda Kochhar, chief of the ICICI Bank and listed consistently among the most influential women in the world.
The theme of the session that began at 9 a.m. was, ‘We can do it — Innovation in Work Force Development and Skills Training’ with focus on increasing women’s participation.
KTR set the ball rolling with the most pertinent question. What it takes really to break through the glass ceiling? Though it is a combination of many things, Chanda Kochchar replied, what matters in the end is what you desire and cited her own example while pointing out that “women are actually more intelligent than men”. She believes women need to decide not to give up when it’s time to start a family. “I believed that I wanted to do this because it was my desire, not because someone wanted me to do this,” she said.Agreeing with her was Karen Quintos. Stressing that one ought to have confidence in one’s own capabilities, she opined, “when you reach those difficult times and when you feel like giving up, you have to stay the course.”
Exuding his trademark breezy confidence, Rao, the only man on the stage among the most powerful women in the world, brought the proceedings alive with his signature wit and even had an interesting exchange with Cherie Blair.Quite candid in her views, Blair said some men like her own father who had abandoned her mother and daughters invest only one per cent in the family. Taking the cue from Ivanka, who claimed 90 per cent of a woman’s earnings go back to the family, she took KTR by surprise, asking him what he thought was the figure for men.
The IT minister, quick-witted that he is, dodged the question, claiming immunity but answered nevertheless that it could be 40. Blair, the lawyer, shot it down to 30 before insisting that men need to understand difficulties of women. “If we have to get to do anything in this world, we’ll have to do something about men...Men need to understand that women do face obstacles...Women need 3C’s -- Confidence, Capabilities, access to Capital...Men need to understand that women are their equals.”
Like I said earlier, we have a cracker of a panel. These ladies did not need me here.. they only needed me as much as a fish needs a bicycle KT Rama Rao, IT minister
You educate a man, you educate an individual. When you educate a woman, you educate a generation.
Chanda Kochhar, CEO of ICICI Bank