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Indian Women Embrace Mobile Internet

In 2023, an additional 120 million women connected to the internet via mobile globally….reports Asian Lite News

Women’s internet adoption on mobile phones has reached 37 per cent in India, while adoption among men remains stable, narrowing the gender gap from 40 per cent to 30 per cent, a global report showed on Wednesday.

In 2023, an additional 120 million women connected to the internet via mobile globally.

More women in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) are using mobile internet than ever before, 1.5 billion (66 per cent) in total, according to the report by the GSMA, a global organisation that represents mobile network operators worldwide.

However, an alarming 785 million women remain unconnected, with approximately 60 per cent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, said the annual ‘Mobile Gender Gap Report 2024’ by the GSMA.

Claire Sibthorpe, Head of Digital Inclusion at the GSMA, said that the reduction in the mobile internet gender gap is promising but “sustaining momentum is fragile”.

“We are collaborating with the industry, policymakers and other relevant partners to address key barriers including affordability, awareness and digital skills,” Sibthorpe added.

The GSMA estimates that closing the gender gap in mobile ownership and usage across LMICs could deliver an additional $230 billion in revenue to the mobile industry over an eight-year period.

The gender gap in mobile internet adoption across LMICs has narrowed for the first time since 2020, driven by women adopting it at a faster rate than men, particularly in South Asia.

Women are now 15 per cent less likely than men to use mobile internet across LMICs, the findings showed.

Across LMICs, there are now 1.4 billion women who own a smartphone, meaning that 60 per cent of women now own a smartphone device.

However, there are still 40 per cent of women in these countries, totalling 940 million, who do not own a smartphone.

“Mobile remains the primary — and often only — way people in LMICs access the internet, accounting for 84 per cent of broadband connections in 2023,” the report noted.

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Meet Pragya Misra, OpenAI’s First India Hire

Misra, who earlier worked at Meta-owned WhatsApp and caller identification app Truecaller, is the first employee of OpenAI in India….reports Asian Lite News

Sam Altman-run ChatGPT developer OpenAI is eager to contribute to India’s artificial intelligence (AI) mission by collaborating with developers, users and policymakers, Pragya Misra, the company’s Public Policy & Partnerships lead in the country, said on Wednesday.

Misra, who earlier worked at Meta-owned WhatsApp and caller identification app Truecaller, is the first employee of OpenAI in India.

“Excited to share that I’ve joined OpenAI as their first hire in India to lead Public Policy and Partnerships to advance OpenAI’s values of safety, transparency, and human-centric innovation,” she posted on X social media platform.

Misra said that OpenAI is eager to contribute to India’s AI mission “by collaborating with developers, users, academics, civil society, and policymakers to harness AI’s potential for societal benefit for Bharat”.

In March, the government approved the AI mission with an outlay of Rs 10,371.92 crore.

The mission will establish a comprehensive ecosystem catalysing AI innovation through strategic programmes and partnerships across the public and private sectors.

Misra earlier served as the Director of Public Affairs for Truecaller, where she collaborated closely with ministries, investors, key stakeholders, and media partners.

Prior to that, she worked for three years with Facebook (now Meta), and was the first employee for WhatsApp as well for India.

She also led WhatsApp’s campaign against misinformation in 2018 and has worked with Ernst & Young as well as the Royal Danish Embassy in Delhi. Misra received her MBA from the International Management Institute in 2012.

She also graduated in commerce from Delhi University and holds a Diploma in Bargaining and Negotiations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

She is also a podcaster and Instagram influencer with a follower base of 35,000.

She hosts the Pragyaan Podcast (@pragyaan_podcast), covering topics such as meditation and consciousness.

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Top 10 Women Investors Shaping Indian Startups

Startup founders often steal the spotlight, but let’s not overlook the women in the investor community who are equally talented and dedicated to shaping India’s startup landscape…reports Asian Lite News

The world is celebrating ‘International Girls in ICT Day 2024’ on April 25 this year. Although women now fill 40 per cent of high-skill occupations globally, their participation in ICT-related fields continues to be low.

India, which has the world’s 3rd largest startup ecosystem, has seen exponential growth in recent years. In startups also technology is pervasive and is playing a key role in most of the startups irrespective of its service and industry.

The bedrock of a thriving startup ecosystem and community apart from founders are the investors, who play a critical role in building and shaping these startups. There is always a limelight on startup founders, however, investor community is not often talked about, and in that, also women. It is to be noted that there are many talented and committed women investors working on building the Indian startup ecosystem.

Here’s a list of 10 women investors working tirelessly in building the Indian startup ecosystem: (Please note the below name order is a random order and doesn’t follow any ranking)

Aarti Gupta: She is an investment strategist who has been heading her family office, DM Gupta Family, Jagran Group, for over a decade. She is also the Chief Investment Officer at Anikarth Ventures, an angel-investing firm committed to supporting early-stage startups.

Archana Jahagirdar: She is at the forefront of changing the game for entrepreneurs and the startup ecosystem in India. As the founder and Managing Partner of Rukam Capital, an early-stage consumer-focused VC fund, she is one of the solo general partners, having carved a niche among a handful of women founders of venture capital in India and globally.

Debjani Ghosh: She is the President of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and the first woman to hold the position in nearly 30 years. She actively engages with the government and industry stakeholders to accelerate growth and strengthen India’s position as a hub for innovation and digital talent. Her role was instrumental in developing ‘Think Digital, Think India’ strategy.

Namita Thapar: She is the Executive Director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals Limited, and is also the India Head of Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Inc. She is also an angel investor and a popular shark from Shark Tank India. She has previously invested in startups like Brandsdaddy, Girgit, STAGE, Very Much Indian, and Skippi Ice Pops to name a few.

Vani Kola: She is the founder and managing director of Kalaari Capital a VC firm that invests in early-stage technology-focused startups, and is also a board member of CXXO. The firm typically invests in e-commerce, gaming, digital content and healthcare brands like Dream11, Myntra,, and Snapdeal.

Kanika Mayar: She is a partner of Vertex Ventures, which invests in companies like Licious, FirstCry, AsianParent, Warung Pintar and Grab, to name a few. The firm typically infuses money in seed to Series B-stage startups in Southeast Asia and India.

Padmaja Ruparel: She is the Co-Founder of the Indian Angel Network and Founding Partner at IAN Fund, which is a SEBI-registered category II venture capital fund, worth Rs 1,000 crore.

Falguni Nayar: She is the founder and CEO of the beauty focused retail brand Nykaa. Today, the business has emerged as one of India’s leading beauty retailers playing a critical role in developing the beauty market in India.

Pearl Agarwal: She is the founder and managing director of Eximus Ventures, which invests in pre-seed stage companies with an equity cheque of up to USD 500,000. The firm has invested in startups like Oyela, Flux, Stan, Fleek, Jar, iTribe, Fego, Zorro, KalaGato, Skydo, and Eka.Care.

Renuka Ramnath: She is the Founder, MD and CEO of Multiples Alternate Asset Management. Founded in 2009, Multiples is an independent, India focused private equity firm that manages a USD 2 billion private equity capital. The firm has made investments in businesses like Tata Infomedia, VA TechWabag and Air Deccan. (ANI)

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Art Garde Exhibition Spotlights Emerging Women Artists

Anushree Rabadia completed her BVA in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, and is currently pursuing her MVA in Painting from MSU Baroda…reports Asian Lite News

Voices of Women presented by Art Garde is a contemporary art exhibition under the Young Collectors’ Pop Up umbrella initially launched in 2022. This exhibition showcases works by emerging and middle-contemporary women artists from across the country. The exhibition highlights the flourishing practices of women artists across mediums. While equal representation between men and women artists is still not a reality, there is a steady increase in exhibitions and platforms like this one that seek to address this disparity. In 2023 the Art Basel and YBS Survey of Global Collecting drew attention to the fact that women collectors are now collecting more than men, and many of them focus on this disparity and address it by actively collecting women artists exclusively.

Through a showcase of diverse mediums, styles and experiences, the show eliminates stereotypes associated with women artists. This curation intends to move away from stereotypes that are often limiting the expansion of women in fine arts today. A similar approach has been taken when also curating the subject matter represented. For instance in art universities across the country, the female nude is still not taught in live drawing classes. Historically, specifically within the South Asian context women have been associated more with handicrafts, as opposed to fine arts. However, the adaptability of women when they engage with fine arts offers a unique glimpse at the intersection between physicality and painting. This exhibition does not intend to purport that women are intended to belong to a certain style of art. It provides a stage for women engaging in traditional and non-traditional, expected and unexpected. It is a curation of contemporary women artists across the spectrum today.

A common theme amongst the works displayed is how each woman responds to contemporary stimuli that impact that in a personal or general societal way while respecting diversity. The exhibition will take place from 9-15 April at A2/22 Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi.

Participating Artists:

Malavika Rajnarayan studied painting at the College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda. Alongside her studio practice, she works as an arts resource person with the Azim Premji Foundation. Her works have been exhibited across India and abroad, most recently in the Seattle Art Museum in 2022. She has been an artist-in-residence at The Collective Studio Baroda; The Contemporary Artists Centre, Troy, New York: at CAMAC Centre for Art in Marnay sur-Seine, France, and a collective residency as a member of Surfatial at ZK/U, Berlin. She was the recipient of the Nasreen Mohammedi scholarship for post-graduate study in 2005. Malavika’s paintings use the human figure to create narratives that are infused with a feminine sensibility. Her background in Indian classical music as well as her interest in the progression of Indian and Asian knowledge traditions form the basis of her inquiries. Her visual language is informed by miniature painting traditions, where the poignancy of ideas are conveyed through beauty, grace and poetry.

Tanushree Sarkar is an acclaimed and award-winning art director of films like Parineeta, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, and Eklavya. As a kid, she had always been interested in painting and fine arts. She started her career at Ogilvy & Mather, a media company. After spending about four years and being a cinema enthusiast. she joined a newly opened production house. As her career progressed, she felt that her art was left behind. So after Gabbar, she decided not to do films anymore and dedicate more time to her art. She participated in the Indian Art Fair, at Nehru Centre. Her work is heavily inspired by Indian history and culture.

Anushree Rabadia completed her BVA in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, and is currently pursuing her MVA in Painting from MSU Baroda. She was awarded the Jeram Patel Award, Faculty of Fine Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, 2020-2021. Anushree’s works are conceptually derived from her environment, nature, and the necessities of daily existence. She manipulates the materials according to the feel of the subject to communicate these observations. She uses pattern, flow, texture, rhythm, softness, sensitivity, and an interest in optical illusion to portray the intensity of her artwork, which enables her to produce 2- dimensional pieces on a mount board. She draws inspiration from India’s rich textile history for her own creative interpretations. Anushree lives and works in Vadodara, Gujarat, India.

Ekta Singha pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts in Painting from the Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata, India, She graduated with an MVA in Painting Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, Baroda, Gujarat, India. Ekta captivates audiences with her ingenious blend of mediums and materials. Drawing inspiration from Mughal, Persian, and Rajput miniature painting traditions, Ekta has crafted a unique artistic identity. Influenced by her roots in Bangladesh, memories of her ancestral home infuse her work with depth and resonance. Ekta’s art reflects an intriguing fusion of two distinct traditions: miniature painting and Pata scroll paintings. While the former lends intricate visual elements to her work, the latter allows for expansive storytelling, imbuing her art with a sense of dynamic movement. Through her evocative use of materials and forms, Ekta Singha invites audiences on a journey of discovery through her captivating creations.

Maitreyi Desai, born in Valsad, Gujarat, Maitreyi Desai pursued her Bachelor’s degree of Visual Arts in Painting and Master’s degree of Visual Arts in Print-making from the M.S. University, Baroda. Maitreyi’s artworks feel ageless, like the bark of that hundred year old tree; and yet it is also deeply personal, ethereal in its delicacy. Through these interconnections with nature, she wishes to assert her own identity; an identity synonymous with rootness, and groundedness, to a home, a family, and if we can expand our consciousness, to nature. These are the layered metaphors in her work. The intricacies in her artworks are not just aesthetic representations of nature but also emotive, the essence of what it means to make a home, layer by layer, line by line is seen here. Maitreyi is currently based in Vadodara, Gujarat.

Neha Luthra was born in India and raised in Warsaw, Poland. She obtained her BA in Art History and Management from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and an associate degree in Surface Pattern/Textile Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. Neha studied painting under the mentorship of Despina Sevasti in Athens, Greece, and is currently part of The Royal Drawing School’s 2024 cohort for their Drawing Development Year. Her current art practice draws on her own photography and life experiences as subject matter. She resides between Warsaw & Jaipur.

Sareena Khemka is a talented visual artist known for her work in mixed media, particularly drawing, painting, and sculptural installations. She has a strong focus on exploring urban landscapes, often weaving together narratives of the past and future of cities. Sareena holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, India. Throughout her career, Sareena has participated in numerous exhibitions, showcasing her artwork in galleries and art spaces across India and internationally. Some of her notable exhibitions include ‘Future Foundations, ‘Walk-in Studio,’ and ‘Build & Grow. She has also been a resident artist at esteemed institutions such as Space 118 and The Piramal Art Foundation in Mumbai. In addition to her artistic practice, Sareena is passionate about art education and has conducted workshops with various organizations, including The Kiran Nader Museum of Art, Art 1st Foundation, and the Mohile Parikh Center Mumba. Sareena Khemka currently resides and works in Bangalore, where she continues to create thought-provoking and visually captivating artwork, pushing the boundaries of her artistic expression.

Astha Patel is a visual artist based in Vadodara, Gujarat. She draws inspiration from topics related to nature ecology and memory. Her practice primarily involves oil on canvas works, and tempera, gouache and watercolour on paper. She completed her Master’s in Visual from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara in 2022. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the same institution. In 2017 she received an ERASMUS Scholarship and completed a semester at The Universidad de Politecnica de Valencia, Spain 2017. In 2019 a collaborative project that she worked on with Pranshu Thakore, Rahi De Roy, and Savitha Ravi was displayed by the Tate Collective. She has also been a part of Residency Programmes at Space Studio Summer Residency, Vadodara 2021, as well as the Students’ Biennale at the Kochi Muziris Biennale. In 2023 she collaborated with the Mumbai-based luxury apparel brand, Aroka.

Vijaya Chauhan received her postgraduate in sculpture from Indirakala Sangeet University, Khairagarh, Chhattisgarh (2011). She was awarded ‘Kalasankranti Puraskar National Award. Vijaya’s practice is inspired by her experiences with learning braille, her works often include encoded messages in the same. Each work invites the viewer to engage both visually and through its tactile nature. She currently lives and works between New Delhi and Vadodara with her husband and son.

Tarini Sethi is a New Delhi-based artist. Tarini holds a BA in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, and a BFA in Drawing from Pratt Institute, New York. Her artistic practice explores themes like human intimacy, body consciousness, and sexuality, and draws from folklore and mythology through a multimedia practice that includes paintings, drawings, and metal sculptures. Sethi has been featured in Architectural Digest India and many other Indian publications and has been a part of design shows like the Mumbai Urban Arts Festival, as well as solo exhibitions at the IIC Gallery and Chemould Colab. As a woman from India, existing in a space of extreme sexual oppression and constant scrutiny, she tries to focus as much as possible on the idea that bodies can exist as perfect vessels for exploration, action and sexual emancipation. In the world she creates, bodies are freed from the ideas attached to the conventional notion of gender, perfection and beauty. She is the Founder and Curator of The Irregulars Art Fair and has exhibited across the world.

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Fantasy and Fidelity

To explore the complexities, 1,503 married Indians from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities between the ages of 25 and 50 were polled for the study. In addition to illuminating the shifting terrain, the results called into question accepted beliefs about faithfulness and love…reports Asian Lite News

An emotionally charged issue, infidelity has long been the focus of close examination. Over time, the dynamics surrounding it have changed, making it more difficult to distinguish between personal preferences and societal norms.

Gleeden, a women-led discreet dating app, carried out a ground-breaking study on India’s changing attitudes about marriage, infidelity, and cultural norms.

To explore the complexities, 1,503 married Indians from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities between the ages of 25 and 50 were polled for the study. In addition to illuminating the shifting terrain, the results called into question accepted beliefs about faithfulness and love.

The study discovered a notable change in how Indian society views relationships. An increasing number of couples are embracing a new concept of relationships that allows for flexibility in exploring sexuality, rejecting the traditional constraints of monogamous partnerships. In contrast to popular belief, the study found that more than 60% of Indians have tried out non-traditional dating strategies, such as swinging.

Sybil Shiddell, Country Manager of Gleeden, India asserts, “The Survey offers a fascinating window into the intricate realm of contemporary Indian relationships. It questions accepted wisdom and calls on society to consider the changing nature of love, commitment, and the quest for personal fulfilment. It also reflects the country’s acceptance of individuality and personal autonomy. This viewpoint not only defies conventional wisdom and presents Indians as bold but also themes of love and self-expression.”

The report underscores three major significant findings that characterise infidelity:

Swingin’ alone, yet not inside the box of relationships: There are many different ways to exhibit infidelity, and this study explores the subtleties of these ways. The focus shifted to platonic partnerships that involved passionate moments with someone other than the current spouse and were not part of an established couple. Remarkably, the survey discovered that 46% of males tend to seek out these kinds of relationships, with differences among locations, including a noteworthy 52% in Kolkata.

When Virtual Connections Meet Prohibited Temptations: Online flirtation has become a common way of being unfaithful in the digital age. According to the report, 36% of women and 35% of men find virtual flirting appealing. There are clear regional differences in this behaviour, with 35% of respondents from Kochi exhibiting it.

Dreaming of Joyful Decorruption: It became common and relatively innocuous to have fantasies about someone other than one’s partner. According to the data, 33% of men and 35% of women have freely said that they have fantasies about someone other than their partners. Regional differences in behaviour, as those between Jaipur (28%), and Ludhiana (37%) provide fascinating insights into the various viewpoints on this facet of infidelity.

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Women Entrepreneurs Transforming the Indian Restaurant Industry

Despite their potential and aspirations, small businesses with limited capital often grapple with strategic investment in products and inventories…reports Asian Lite News

 The restaurant industry in India has witnessed a notable increase in women taking charge of cafes, restaurants, kitchens, and eateries, showcasing their culinary expertise and adept management skills. This surge is attributed to many women stepping into these roles, driving the growth of women entrepreneurs in the restaurant industry.

Driven by India’s unique demographic advantage, it is becoming more diverse with an increasing number of women initiating their ventures or managing existing ones. According to a report from the last two years suggest that women are more likely to start a business than men. Despite anecdotal evidence indicating that women-led businesses are often highly successful, they are less likely to survive. Government initiatives have also played a pivotal role in supporting women entrepreneurs. 

However, the journey is particularly challenging for many women entrepreneurs, especially in tier 2 and tier 3 cities with well-established culinary traditions, where established players dominate, leaving little room for innovation. Food delivery platforms like Swiggy emerge as essential allies, accelerating the ambitions of these entrepreneurs and supporting their need to succeed, grow, and make an impact.

Hear from four incredible women-owned restaurant businesses from across the country.

One such story is Tuljai Swayampak Ghar in Aurangabad, run by Renu Mulik, a visionary young woman who embarked on her entrepreneurial journey. Initially, Renu faced challenges in establishing her online business in a competitive environment. She recalls, “I knew nothing about running a business, let alone a restaurant, so when I onboarded with Swiggy I was clueless. But I am thankful to them for patiently teaching me the ways of working. Never did I imagine that life would bring me to this point. Back then I would only receive 3-4 orders from the platform in a day, soon it turned into 18-19 orders and that number kept increasing.”

Despite their potential and aspirations, small businesses with limited capital often grapple with strategic investment in products and inventories. 

Krishnapriya Hariharan, the founder of E=mc2 from Kozhikhode, started to run out with orders clocking no more than 10-15 in a day. Krishnapriya recalls, “Working with Swiggy has benefited us in numerous ways. We are now more aware of our sales and our customers, and the best part is that delivery is handled. Swiggy’s support allowed us to invest more strategically in our products and inventories, helping us regularly update the menu with new dishes over the past two years. This also gave us a chance to develop and launch a new brand, Burg 99, which is exclusively available through Swiggy.”

Similarly, Priya Sharma, Owner of Bonfire Pizza in Rishikesh, shares her journey, “When I started my online venture, we were making just 30 pizzas per month, and I considered quitting. That’s when Swiggy’s Account Managers came to the rescue. With their expert strategies, we started doing 300 pizzas per month. Swiggy’s support renewed my confidence, and I’m now eager to explore more expansion opportunities.”

Managing the complexities of online platforms, from maintaining menus to running ads and meeting customer expectations consistently, is another challenge. 

Owners like Debjani Sahu of Garam Masala in Bhubaneshwar and Suviggya Bansall of Gopaljee Café comments, “We started with small basic checks, ensuring the menu, pricing, and descriptions were updated. Later, when we ran our first campaign – an ad carousel – the business picked up faster. Customer expectations improved as they received what they saw on the app.”

Despite challenges in non-metro areas, quick commerce platforms have emerged as essential allies, empowering visionary women entrepreneurs propelling the growth of dynamic women entrepreneurs in the Indian restaurant industry.

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More Women Flock to Mutual Funds

According to the talent management platform foundit (formerly Monster jobs), this exponential increase can be attributed to the convenience that the gig economy or the freelancing industry offers to participants…reports Asian Lite News

With improving ease of access to information and technology, more women investors are investing in mutual funds, the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) said.

The share of women in mutual funds’ assets under management (AUM) has shot up from 15.2 per cent in 2017 to 20.9 per cent in 2023.

This pace of growth is more prominent in the hinterland as compared to the urban centres, with the share of women’s folios and assets in the B-30 cities increasing from 15 per cent to 18 per cent and from 17 per cent to 28 per cent during the period, respectively, the AMFI said.

The age analysis of women investors indicates that almost 50 per cent of women investors fall in the 25-44 years age group, as compared to around 45 per cent for the overall set of individual investors.

Goa boasts the highest share of women in the mutual fund industry at 40 per cent, followed by the northeastern states with high 30s percentage. Chandigarh, Maharashtra, and New Delhi also have over 30 per cent share of women in the industry’s assets under management, as per the AMFI data.

Most women continue to invest through the regular plan route in mutual funds and stay invested for longer when investing through a mutual fund distributor.

The number of women mutual fund distributors has steadily increased, nearing the 42,000 registration mark as of December 2023, managing over Rs 1 lakh crore in AUM.

Meanwhile, the number of women opting for freelancing jobs in India doubled over the past year, jumping from 4 per cent in February 2023 to 8 per cent in February 2024, a new report showed on Monday.

According to the talent management platform foundit (formerly Monster jobs), this exponential increase can be attributed to the convenience that the gig economy or the freelancing industry offers to participants.

There has also been a 56 per cent increase in jobs for women candidates in February this year when compared to February last year.

“Female workers play a major role in the success of a company. They are proven to be hard-working and creative,” said Sekhar Garisa, CEO, foundit, a Quess company.

“Female leaders often demonstrate transformational leadership qualities, and having more women in a team promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” he added.

Moreover, the report revealed that the IT/Computers-Software sector leads in offering opportunities to women, comprising 36 per cent of its workforce.

The Recruitment/Staffing/RPO sector (24 per cent) has the second-highest share of women in the workforce, followed by the Banking, Financial, Services, and Insurance (BFSI) sector (23 per cent).

The participation of women in the workforce has been positive and steady across the metro cities of Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Pune.

In addition, the report suggested that there has been a noteworthy increase in leadership opportunities for women, with 9 per cent of job postings specifically targeted towards leadership positions in February this year.

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Arundhati Bhattacharya Advocates Women’s Role in Emerging Tech

At the New Delhi declaration of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) last December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that the government’s endeavour is to take full advantage of the capabilities of AI for social development and inclusive growth…reports Asian Lite News

As skilling becomes top priority for the government in creating a talent pool for new and emerging technologies like AI in India, women in the country need to be at the forefront of learning generative AI and play a key role in shaping up new industries, Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO and Chairperson of Salesforce India, said on Friday.

Speaking to IANS, Bhattacharya who served as former chairperson of the State Bank of India (SBI), said that her advice to women professionals is that they must be at the forefront of whatever industry they are in.

“In the technology industry, generative AI and AI in general are evolving very quickly. Women are very capable of learning as they grow. You have to think on your feet, you have to multitask because it gives women a big advantage,” she said on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“As long as you are open to doing that, as long as you are sort of conscious of the fact that you need to keep learning, you need to keep evolving, and there is barely any reason why in the new tech areas that are emerging, women should not be playing a far better role”.

At the New Delhi declaration of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) last December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that the government’s endeavour is to take full advantage of the capabilities of AI for social development and inclusive growth.

“India is also fully committed to the responsible and ethical use of AI. We have started the ‘National Programme on Artificial Intelligence’. We are also going to launch an AI mission in Bharat,” PM Modi had told the gathering.

Bhattacharya said there was a lot of excitement about GenAI but it is still an evolving technology.

“The early excitement has somewhat gone down as people have realised that there are a lot of other concerns with GenAI. Therefore, they want to understand how those concerns are being addressed. Very few have actually put AI for complete use cases and skilling would the key going forward,” she informed.

One of the primary objectives of the ‘India AI Mission’ is to democratise AI skills by taking them to tier 2 and 3 cities.

Skilling for new technologies is one of the top agenda for the government, as it recognizes that there is an urgent need for the tech industry and academic institutions to work along with the governments globally in shaping the future pipeline of talent for AI-related jobs.

“It is clear that there is going to be a huge talent deficit in the field of AI. There is an urgent need for our academic institutions, whether in the UK, Japan or India, to really understand this and start delivering the talent that this AI ecosystem will require,” Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said during the GPAI summit.

According to the minister, the AI industry needs cutting-edge talent, architects and designers of large-language models (LLMs).

Nasscom said recently that India currently ranks first in terms of AI skill penetration and AI talent concentration, and the AI skill shortage is now being felt across the spectrum.

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France Inscribes Right to Abortion in Constitution

France has become the first nation in the world to do so.

With the official inclusion of the right to abortion in its constitution, France has become the first nation in the world to do so. President Emmanuel Macron has pledged that he “will not rest” until women in Europe are afforded the same protections, according to Al Jazeera.

The constitutional amendment that the French Parliament had approved earlier in the week was sealed on Friday by Macron.

While attending the event, which took place on International Women’s Day, Macron declared that he would work to have the right to an abortion included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“Today is not the end of the story but the start of a fight,” he said, standing in front of the Ministry of Justice.

“We’re going to lead this fight in our continent, in our Europe, where reactionary forces are attacking women’s rights,” he added.

Although abortion has been legal in France since 1975, Macron promised last year to strengthen protections for the operation after the US Supreme Court struck down the 50-year-old right to procedure in 2022, leaving state-level decisions intact, as per Al Jazeera.

Women celebrated on Monday after a historic vote in both houses of the French Parliament approved the inclusion of abortion as a “guaranteed freedom” under Article 34 of the constitution.

According to CNN, while abortion is a highly divisive issue in US politics that often falls along party lines, in France it is widely supported. Many of the lawmakers who voted against the amendment did so not because they opposed abortion, but because they felt the measure was unnecessary, given the wide support for reproductive rights. (ANI)

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Vatika Naturals Inspires Inclusivity in Workplace with the #RootForMe Campaign

South Asian Hair Care Brand Vatika Naturals Champions Diversity with #RootForMe Campaign Featuring All-Female Comedy Lineup

Vatika Naturals, a flagship brand from House of Dabur, is pioneering an empowering initiative this International Women’s Day with the launch of their IWD2024 campaign, #ROOTFORME.

#ROOTFORME is a digital campaign to mark IWD2024 addressing intersectionality at the workplace which affects women of colour, compounded by race, ethnicity, religion and several other issues which can pose as a major roadblock for career advancement for a lot of our target segment and make them susceptible to workplace harassment and stereotyping. 

From being a generic hair care brand for South Asian women, this year Vatika Naturals is embarking on a journey to become the preferred brand by multi-ethnic audiences across the UK and the USA.

Redefining women’s empowerment this International Women’s Day, Vatika leads the conversation with humour to address workplace stereotypes and discrimination, through partnerships with leading stand-up comediennes like Shazia Mirza and Sikisa.

In celebration of the campaign launch, Business Head Dabur International Europe UK, Zakir Mansoori stated – Vatika Naturals has been bringing bespoke hair care solutions to multi-ethnic audiences around the World for over 35 years and the brand has been garnering a lot of love from our loyal base of customers. Earlier this year we launched our Afro Naturals range, especially for women with textured hair.  And there is lots to look forward to from Vatika, as we embark on this journey to make the brand relevant to a wider audience, which would include new product launches and newer formulations for different hair types.

Roshni Singh, Group Marketing Manager UK EU & Americas stated, “Vatika Naturals is not just a hair care brand but a custodian of values which champion diversity, differences, and uniqueness especially amongst women. With the #ROOTFORME campaign, Vatika endeavours to further strengthen its stand towards being inclusive and diverse.” #RootForMe is a call to action for individuals to stand together and dismantle barriers preventing equality for women and specifically women of colour. Vatika is always challenging the status quo or stereotypes that hinder the growth of an individual.”

Agency Founder and Chairman for HereandNow365, Manish Tiwari further elucidated that “Vatika Naturals is a brand which identifies and celebrates differences, and to match the brand’s vision, our team has developed this concept which is not just clutter-breaking but light-hearted.  The aim of deploying humour is not to make light of the issues at hand, rather to offer hard-hitting provocative messaging through treatment and platforms which resonate with our younger audiences in today’s time. The two-week campaign will launch across Vatika’s social media channels on the 8th of March 2024 across the UK and the USA. To amplify the message, the brand will be seen at iconic landmarks like Times Square, New York City and the London Underground in March, to spark dialogue around workplace issues, stereotypes, and navigating these challenges.