Global Women in PR (GWPR) launched its' India chapter this week. A leading group for women professionals in communications, GWPR India's main focus is to encourage and support women in taking up leadership roles in the Indian communication and PR industry.
Research shows that although the global industry is two-thirds women, 64% of seats at the boardroom table are taken by men and the trend in India is similar.
Ipshita Sen, co-founder, Engendered and founder member, GWPR India says, "Our aim is two-fold, to help retain women in the workforce and support them in building successful careers; and to engage with the community to initiate and encourage discussions around improving the gender balance at leadership levels."
Speaking at the launch event of GWPR India, Bianca Ghose, chief storyteller and head of CEO communications at Wipro Ltd said that the Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte believes in not just being inclusive but going beyond to find ways to fix the leaky pipeline. Retention of women in PR so that they go on to lead is a major challenge for the communication industry.
Ghose added that she has a CEO who is willing to invest in women's growth.
Also speaking at the launch, Roma Balwani, senior director brand and group communication, at Vedanta Resource Limited, said that for women to get ahead mentoring is key as is structured programmes to support women leaders. At a personal skill level Balwani said in order to succeed communicators should focus on building a global mindset.
CEO of Futurebrands, and well known social commentator, Santosh Desai said, "Any kind of stereotypical thinking legitimizes things. It fosters that sense of comfort and familiarity which is dangerous and corresponds to deeply held beliefs. Which is why new entries ( nto the workforce and in leadership) are important to bring in a new reference point.
Desai added that, "The mindless and thoughtless advertisements which objectified women or perpetuated gender roles have changed in a very big way. That needs to be welcomed".
Commenting on the launch Melissa Arulappan, head, corporate communications, IQVIA and founder member GWPR India said, "In the pursuit of our mission, our stakeholders are a very wide canvas and beyond our women members, include those who are influencers in the careers of professionals in our industry, be they CEOs or HR executives. We are gender agnostic and recognise that no conversations about women’s careers can be had without having men at the table and so men are also an important constituent for us."
GWPR India will give women communicators access to mentoring, networks and role models while also facilitating exchange of knowledge and best practice.
GWPR India launches with 25 founding member drawn from both PR firms and brand side. The association is now open for membership applications.