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New Delhi, Sept. 7

If companies do better with gender-diverse management teams, as some surveys suggest, then why does the 100-highest paid CEOs list in India not have a single woman?

This and many other issues related to women as an economic force, in political leadership and public life and her human rights are slated to be hammered out in a regional summit next week.

Organised by Vital Voices, an NGO, the regional leadership and training summit is a collaborative effort between Confederation of Indian Industry, the US Government and a slew of private sector companies including Standard Chartered Bank, Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil, Tata Group, Abbott, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Thomson Reuters, DLA Piper/New Perimeters, Wal-Mart and Eranda Foundation among others. Asia Foundation, Global Fund for Women, and UNIFEM are also involved in the effort.

“As we will explore over the course of this summit, challenges once marginalised as ‘women's issues' are moving into the global mainstream, especially with the world's attention focused on economic recovery and development.

“In societies where women's equitable share in political, social and economic opportunity is both possible and likely, prosperity is increased for all. Increasing opportunities for women in Asia will contribute greatly to the region's development overall. It's not that women need our help. We need theirs,” Ms Alyse Nelson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership, said.

“The reality is simple — women's progress means global progress.”

The summit, to be held in New Delhi from September 14-17, endeavours to bring people together from the Asian region to build and strengthen a powerful network of regional women leaders across sectors, cultures and generations to help advance the regions of South Asia and East Asia-Pacific socially, politically, and economically.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 8, 2010)
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