"Women leadership must be encouraged at all levels so as to achieve gender equality and for ensuring diversity and inclusion," she said, while virtually launching the Women Leaders' Forum, promoted by the Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA).
Expressing concern over the low level of representation of women in senior management positions, she emphasised on women representation at all levels, and especially at decision-making levels.
The Governor suggested that senior women leaders in industry and business sectors must mentor the young women entrants so as to help them build a meaningful career and scale new heights in their chosen fields.
"Women entrepreneurs constitute less than 20 percent of the total entrepreneurs in our country. Women have immense potential to contribute to our GDP. We must make more number of women part of economic and other productive activities and help them reallise their full potential," she added.
Soundararajan pointed out that though many male-dominated bastions were broken, women have a long way to go before they break all the glass ceilings so as to achieve a true gender equal society.
HYSEA Women Leaders' Forum will consist of accomplished women leaders and also men leaders from across the industry who will provide not only thought leadership but mentorship to young and upcoming women leaders of the IT/ITES industry.
The forum will also serve as an important networking platform for women leaders. It will work towards identifying the challenges, develop programmes and initiatives for the women leaders to effectively manage them, create mentoring and counselling platforms, set quantifiable targets to create leaders at different levels and continuously improve these numbers over a period of time.
HYSEA President Bharani K. Aroll said HYSEA leadership has always focused and created interventions to improve opportunities for women to move into leadership positions within the industry. An exclusive woman focused Leadership Development Programme, launched in 2009, tries to bridge the wide gap between the number of women in the workforce and those in senior positions and sensitises them and widens their business horizon to take up challenges in senior roles. This programme trained more than 1,000 women leaders from 200 plus companies in the last 12 years and is considered a must attend programme by all women associates from member companies.
Mamatha Madireddy, the Centre Director, GSC Hyd, Chennai, Kolkata, Vizag, HSBC will be the first to lead the forum. Manisha Saboo, AVP and Centre Head, Pocharam SEZ & Indore DC, Infosys Ltd & Treasurer HYSEA will also play a key role in the forum.