‘Equity is the conversation to have going forward:’ Kausalya Nandakumar | Autocar Professional

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The COO of Mahindra Electric Automobiles wants the women’s conversations in workplaces to move from equity to equality, ‘so that we get what we need, to progress’.

Speaking at the Autocar Professional Women To Watch webinar, Kausalya Nandakumar says that when women go into an equality debate, it is about giving the same things to everyone, whether it is skill or access, irrespective of the contextual realities of where they come from. “Equity is a much more important conversation because there are social and economic realities from where people come into the workforce,” she adds.

The conversation is now pivoting to how we give different things to different people, in order to bring everyone up and get the economic indicators moving up, and there, an under-represented part of society maybe, should be given something more proportionate to start with, to get them to the same level as ours.

 Talking of women in the workplace, she says it is a pipeline issue. “It’s not just about women in leadership, which is important. It’s about constantly nurturing the pipeline, right from the engineering STEM talent, all the way up to the CEOs and leadership positions.”

I think equity is the conversation to have going forward, which is, what do you need in order to be successful. Because there are certain roles which are really native to women, how do you create policies and guidelines and infrastructural support to enable that, she adds.

As public policy frameworks come in, Nandakumar is of the opinion that the private sector also has a big role now, to play in terms of how they nurture the talent pipeline across this spectrum.

This generation is pivotal from the point of view that there is a whole set of women who are looking to come into the workplace as equals. The female labour force participation that we talk about is definitely on the uptick, Nandakumar notes.

“We have a set of policies and, as much as training programmes are required for women to own our space, there can be some for men also. It is also about acknowledging that when you are in a room, everyone has to be included in a conversation, and how do you create those kind of safe environments for people to speak up and to be heard,” she notes.

Also read: ‘Organisations need to convey clearly to women that they have everything needed for success’: Anju Bhadoria

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