Hyderabad : US President Donald Trump’s daughter and his advisor Ivanka Trump on Wednesday called for closing the gender gap in workforce by providing women better access to capital and ensuring better representation in high-value industries.
She underlined the need for more progressive policies to address the stagnation which set in a decade ago in closing the gender gap. She also noted that women dominate those sectors of the economy which are undervalued financially.
Ivanka Trump was speaking at a session on the second day of Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on Wednesday.
The session on ‘We can do it! Innovations in workforce development ad skills training’ had Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank and Karen Quintos, Chief Customer Officer, Dell EMC as other panelists.
Telangana’s Minister for Information Technology, Industries and Commerce K.T. Rama Rao was the moderator.
The speakers were unanimous that women need to be empowered through education, skill development and access to capital.
Ivanka Trump spoke about the inadequate representation of women in higher education fields in the US. Only 13 per cent of engineers and 20 per cent computer science professionals are women.
The White House advisor listed out the steps being taken by the Trump administration to help close the gender gap in fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Another initiative encourages successful entrepreneurs to mentor young men and women.
Describing technology as a greater driver of entrepreneurship, she said it was reducing barriers to start business and creating flexibility. “Technology offers tremendous opportunities to women entrepreneurs,” she said.
Cherie Blair said inadequate access to capital is the biggest problem faced by women entrepreneurs. She also stressed the need for giving options to women and the support required in terms of policies and eco-system.
Chanda Kochhar was of the opinion that women should have confidence in their capabilities. She said women do not need special policies but only required to be given an opportunity to prove themselves.
She explained how ICICI Bank is helping the women workers, especially young mothers and those who need to take care of their elderly parents by allowing them to work from home.
Referring to the strides India is making in women empowerment, she said there is no other country in the world where 40 per cent of banking sector is headed by women.
Quintos said while more women were joining the workforce, the numbers were not changing fast. She believes the environment was still conducive to women.