Companies of all sizes and sectors in India take home prizes for empowering women in the workplace
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Author: Pritha Banerjee
New Delhi, India – A local scrap-recycling company, a leading bank and an online retailer were among 20 private companies in India to receive Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Awards in the 2021 edition of the annual competition.
The awards were presented in a virtual ceremony on October 19 via the UN Women India Facebook page. The first-place winners in each of the six categories qualify for the Asia-Pacific regional awards ceremony to be held on 18 November in Bangkok.
This marks the second year of the Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards, held by UN Women’s WeEmpowerAsia programme and funded by the European Union, which encourage businesses to take more visible steps to open opportunities for women in the workplace and inspire other businesses to do the same.”
WeEmpowerAsia received 136 applications for the awards from 90 companies in India. The category winners were Baeru Environmental Services for the Leadership Commitment category; Epicentre Rural India for Youth Leadership; RBS Services for Gender-Responsive Workplace; Gajam India for Gender-Responsive Marketplace; The Very Group for Community Engagement and Partnerships; and Biocon for Transparency and Reporting.
Susan Ferguson, UN Women India Country Representative, opened the ceremony by emphasizing the importance of empowering women. She said “ Women have played a critical role in managing the pandemic for everyone, everywhere. With critical allies including NITI Aayog, Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the European Union, our efforts to empower women in the corporate sector have strengthened many times”.
“Gender equality is not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do,” said Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the EU delegation to India. “When more women work, economies grow and the positive effects benefit everyone.”
During the ceremony, Deirdre Boyd, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in India, said “The hard work of shattering glass ceilings for women is essentially, at its core, human rights work. Empowerment is the guarantee of freedom and dignity to make choices, avail equal opportunities and make socio-economic contributions to society.”
Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, Chief Guest and one of the WEPs Awards judges from India, spoke about the importance of WEPS. He stated that, “The Women’s Empowerment Principles framework is an important initiative in the context of mainstreaming gender equality. The measures under the framework will not only help level the playing field, but will also have a cascading impact on the larger economy.”
Deepak Premnarayen, Chairperson of the Business Sector Advisory Council of UN Women India, said, “Gender equality is the backbone of society. Any intervention and strategy employed towards creating sustainable platforms and inclusive economies and societies, is a must.”
Shabnam Siddiqui, ED at UNGC India and the Guest of Honour emphasized on the importance of private sector partnerships in achieving gender equality. “The United Nations Global Compact in India is calling on corporate efforts to increase women’s representation and leadership in businesses, create inclusive business models and invest in women’s economic empowerment programs.”
The full list of WEPs Awards winners for each category are as follows:
Winner: Divya Hegde, Founder, Baeru Environmental Services
1st Runner Up: Radhika Ramesh, EVP & Head of Global Delivery Centre-Cloud & Infrastructure Services, Capgemini Technology Services India Pvt. Ltd
2nd Runner Up: Jaya Virwani, D&I Leader, Global Delivery Services, EY India
SME Champion: Namita Vikas, Director and Founder, auctusESGLLP
Winner: Pallavi Sherring, CEO, Epicentre Rural India Pvt. Ltd
1st Runner Up: Kanika Ahuja, CEO, Conserve India
2nd Runner Up: Devyani Mehra, D&I Lead, Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd
Winner: RBS Services Pvt. India Ltd
1st Runner Up: Capgemini Technology Services India Pvt. Ltd
2nd Runner Up: Dr. Reddys
Winner: Gajam India Pvt. Ltd
1st Runner Up: AspireforHer Management & Consultancy Pvt. Ltd
2nd Runner Up: Sony Pictures Networks
Community Engagement & Partnerships
Winner: The Very Group
1st Runner Up: Sterlite Technologies Ltd
2nd Runner Up: Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd
SME Champion: Conserve India
SME Champion: Simply Suparnaa Media Network
Transparency & Reporting
Winner: Biocon Ltd.
1st Runner Up: ZENSAR TECHNOLOGIES
Suhela Khan, Country Programme Manager, WEA India
WeEmpowerAsia is a UN Women programme funded by and in partnership with the European Union that aims to increase the number of women who lead and participate in business in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Launched in 2019, its purpose is to advance inclusive and sustainable growth and build more gender-sensitive trade and supply chains between European and Asian markets through a focus on the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
About UN Women
UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, the organization was established in 2010 to accelerate progress on women’s rights worldwide. UN Women’s efforts are based on the fundamental belief that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving global development.
About the European Union
The European Union is made up of 27 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms.