As Australia strengthens its relationship with India through the Quad, Free Trade Agreement and strategic partnerships, SBS Hindi spoke to leading figures in Victoria about how women in business can leverage, nurture and enhance bilateral opportunities.
Removing the constraints to women’s economic opportunities is critical for global prosperity, according to Ravneet Pawha, President of Australia India Business Council (AIBC), Victoria.
“We will not reach our full economic and development potential while half our population remains underutilised and lacking equal opportunities at work,” she explained, while addressing a roundtable discussion on Victoria-India Women in Business.
The event was held to mark the International Women’s Day by the AIBC Women in Business Chapter and Deakin University in collaboration with Global Victoria.
A diverse group of individuals from fields like science, academia, education, health, business and governance came together for an interactive session on the important role of women in business.
The event acknowledged and celebrated women business leaders who have contributed to the bilateral relations between India and Australia.
On the back of the Quad relationship, with both governments focusing on productive partnerships post-COVID-19, the event centered on how and in what way women can contribute towards enhancing these ties further.
According to Reet Phulwani, chair of AIBC Women in Business Chapter, Victoria, the aim was to create a white paper with recommendations to the government on women’s equal participation in the bilateral space.
Participants were invited to provide sectoral insights on international education, health, fashion, science and technology, as some of the segments which have been most interrupted by COVID-19.
The leaders were unanimous on the power of networks – unleashed through individual mentoring – as an integral part of building personal resilience.
According to Ms Phulwani, mentoring has the power to accelerate women’s self-development, career progression, and overall confidence.
The discussion continued to focus on forward-looking strategies to prioritise women in COVID-19 recovery.
Rohini Kappadath, Director of Immigration Museum and winner of the Telstra Businesswomen of the Year Award, spoke on the role of AIBC and other leaders in supporting the next crop of young female entrepreneurs trying to set up new ventures.
“The pandemic has given us the gift of the ubiquitous use of technology, the fact that everyone is utilising technology is a huge game-changer for the Australia India business opportunities,” said Ms Kappadath.
“From a woman’s perspective, we need that additional flexibility,” she said, citing the example of a young woman returning from maternity leave to rejoin the workforce and trying to find the right, commercially viable opportunity.
Ms Kappadath felt this was the ideal time for exploring opportunities in the Australia-India corridors and she urged young women to take the risk and ‘go for it.’
Concluding the discussion, the moderator Ms Pawha said she was confident that putting words into action would be AIBC’s top priority.
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