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Centre for Gender Equality and Inclusive Leadership

Since 2018, the XLRI Alumni Bangalore Chapter has organized many UP! Conferences (seminars, interactive sessions, discussions). The conferences were aimed to promote developmental opportunities for women professionals, both for XLRI alumni and others. Several alumni of XLRI who were participants and organizing team members came together to form the XL for Women movement (XL4W) to craft programs and broad-based interventions to help increase workforce participation of women and to support women in leadership positions.

The Founding Team of XL4W approached XLRI with the idea of establishing the XLRI Centre for Gender Equality and Inclusive Leadership. The Alumni Co-ordinator organized a meeting between the CfC team and some faculty members who had shown interest (Profs Smitu Malhotra, Shreyashi Chakraborty and Manish Singhal) to discuss and refine the idea. Another meeting was followed up by the XL4W Team and Prof Shreyashi Chakraborty to arrive at a detailed project outline. Based on the above, this proposal documents the purpose, scope of activities, audience, location, and funding for the XLRI Centre for Gender Equality and Inclusive Leadership.

Purpose Of The Centre

The trigger for the Centre's genesis is India's escalating gender gap which was highlighted in the World Economic Forum's 14th Global Gender Parity report. In terms of economic opportunities for women, India is ranked 149th out of 153 participating - also supported by ILO-estimates. This worrying trend is further exacerbated by India's poor gender ratio of 92% (2% below global avg.) due to the issue of "missing girls" and disparate gender-specific access to healthcare. Thus, the Centre will aim to improve gender equality and workforce participation of women in industry, government and social sectors. It will achieve this through promoting research and dissemination of gender-related issues and best practices, developing programs and interventions to promote inclusive leadership across corporate and social segments, and building awareness through advocacy to influence and shape policy and practices.

Activities Of The Centre

The Centre will work with students, women in the industry, corporates and other employers, policymakers and other stakeholders to create momentum for change through a multi-pronged approach. The Centre will focus on short-term deliverables (on-going basis yearly) and simultaneously focus on long-term goals.

In the next six months, the Centre will be engaged in the following projects:

  • Deliver the C-Suite Bootcamp program aimed at corporate women managers and early-talent to enable them and accelerate their career-paths to executive leadership
  • Deliver the Readiness program for XLRI women students to better prepare them for their corporate careers
  • Deliver the first "Annual State of Working Women" Report through original research done by the Centre
  • Develop the technology platform essential to program execution

On a long-term basis, the Centre would create the overall 3-year operating plan with staffing needs, funding support, alumni engagement, programs and research etc. The long-term objectives of the Centre will be realized through three streams of work: research (knowledge creation), teaching/ training/ education (knowledge dissemination), advocacy, policy and advisory work (knowledge application). The scope of activities will include but not be limited to:

Research Initiatives Teaching & Education Policy & Advocacy
  • Generate funding to research projects focusing on gender gap, parity issues, women leadership development etc.
  • Noteworthy & acclaimed publications e.g. Annual State of Working Women Report
  • Idea-Lab for faculty & industry professionals
  • Supporting and facilitating collaboration initiatives with Centres for Women's studies in foreign and Indian universities
  • Dedicated library
  • Programs aimed at various segments: XLRI students, undergraduate & graduate students (possible XIth/ XIIth as they make defining career choices), young professionals, women in informal sector
  • Develop essential competency stack (technical & soft skills) for each segment
  • Expert Speak: Webinars, talks, conferences, seminars
  • Mentoring & coaching initiatives
  • Awareness programs for male managers, and other stakeholders
  • Industry & govt. partnerships to drive mass-scale change
  • Collaborating with international bodies like UN Women for knowledge sharing and application
  • Advisory services to corporates and orgs trying to create gender parity programs
  • Curate & award efforts of individuals and companies
  • Nurture a network of students, alumni, faculty, professionals, thought leaders
  • Advocacy for an inclusive future

Core Team Members

  • Anu Sharma (87PMIR) - Co-founder, MoveMyCheese & Independent Board Director, Gokaldas Exports Limited
  • Aparna Ponnappa (00 PMIR) - Founder, REDD Network
  • Madhavi Lall (91PMIR) - Managing Director & Head-HR, Deutsche Bank, India
  • Maya John (00PMIR) - Chief People Office, Daily Hunt, India
  • Meenakshi Krishnan (02PMIR) - Doctoral Researcher in Women's Economic Empowerment & Unpaid Care Work at Institute of Development Studies, UK
  • Nirupama Subramanian (94BMD) - Co-founder at Glow
  • Anuranjita Kumar (94PMIR) - Founder WiT-ACE, ex MD & CHRO of Citi & RBS
  • Roshni Venkatesh (99BMD) - Lead, Accenture Global Corporate Citizenship, Singapore
  • Sangeetha Rajan (00PMIR) - Founder-Director at The Arts Quotient
  • Shabari Madappa (92PMIR) - Partner at Anekataa & Vistas Consulting
  • Suchitra Rajendra (92PMIR) - Country Head India and Global HR Head COO at Colt Technology Services
  • Sudakshina Ghosh (06BMD) - Digital Business & Industry Director at SAP
  • Dr. Vasanthi Srinivasan (87PMIR) - Professor at IIM Bangalore
  • Upasana Kaila (02 PMIR) - Senior Consultant in OD, Learning & Performance, Leadership Coaching

The Centre for Gender Equality and Inclusive Leadership (CGEIL) is partnering with XLRI for Women (XL4W), to significantly increase the participation of women in the workforce to 50% within the next decade by driving strategic interventions at scale to improve economic opportunities & workforce participation for women through a 3-fold approach: Research, Intervention, Awareness & Advocacy.


Ms. Alka Raza.