In an effort to remove entrenched attitudes towards women in the workplace and society in India, Bank of America and Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international NGO founded by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, began a ‘mentoring’ forum here on Wednesday.

“Women are the biggest emerging market and no country can move forward without investing in them,” said Alyse Nelson, CEO & President, Vital Voices, at the meet, attended by six women mentors from across industry, such as Wal-Mart Stores, Bank of America, Quantum Leaps, Oxygen Media and Hewlett-Packard.

The forum is being held in Delhi and Mumbai as it feels that the most evident challenge for women in corporate India is the “leaking talent pipeline”, especially at the junior and mid-levels.

In 2011, women’s representation at these two-levels slid from 28.71 per cent to 14.9 per cent across companies headquartered in India, says a survey by Catalyst.

Called the ‘Global Ambassadors Program’, the mentoring forum aims at providing mentorship to women to take up leadership roles and get involved in the decision-making process in their countries, said Nelson.

Candace Browning-Platt, Global Research Head, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said the bank believes that economic progress is not possible without a strong leadership. She said programmes, which are also conducted online, give an opportunity to a woman in a Muslim country to share her experiences anywhere in the world, without having to move out.

(This article was published on October 17, 2012)
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