Graduate Studies Blog



In conjunction with International Women’s Day, the Women in Business club, co-chaired by Pavani Suryapalli and Vanshika Dixit at Nanyang Business School (NBS), organised a panel discussion on the theme – “Balance for Better”. The discussion was moderated by Vanshika and attendees were post graduate students from NBS. The session aimed to provide the “workforce of tomorrow” with actionable points for achieving greater gender parity at their respective workplaces.

The panel comprised  a diverse mix of accomplished leaders from both corporate and academia – Prof Christina Soh Wai Lin, Dean of Nanyang Business School and NTU alumna; Mr Vivek Nath, Managing-Director, South & SE Asia, Willis Towers Watson and NBS Alumnus; as well as Ms Mallika Gadepalli, Director of Strategy, PropertyGuru Group.

The World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report states that it will take us about 108 more years to achieve complete gender equality in the society. It is the need of the hour to close this gap sooner and reap the benefits of a gender-balanced world, both economically and socially. The panel discussion touched upon some major themes around gender parity like gender bias in recruitment, increasing automation in women dominated roles, lesser instances of women negotiating for salaries and how the role of men has evolved in achieving greater parity.

Deliberating upon a LocalCircles study conducted in India which found SMEs are not willing to hire women because of the maternity benefits that they are required to provide for, Mr Vivek Nath impressed upon the need of having a care infrastructure within organisations so that the overall work environment is conducive for both genders to contribute. While women need special assistance during maternity, men have been longing to spend more time with their family for quite some time now. Organisations must have appropriate policies in place (paternal plus maternal benefits) to enable their workforce in balancing personal and professional priorities better.

Emphasising upon the need to keep going, both Ms Mallika and Prof Christina advised the female attendees in the room to always keep looking out for one’s career. In case of times when personal priorities require greater attention, women must opt for a more flexible arrangement at work but never consider quitting as an option. This helps the woman stay relevant in the market and balance dual responsibilities better.

Mr Vivek highlighted the importance of having an inclusive education system wherein choice of subjects is a gender-neutral process and women are not discouraged from opting for STEM related courses. Such measures at the start will ensure equal opportunities for everybody to choose a career for themselves and hone one’s skills according to the changing market requirements. This helps tide through the wave of automation better.

On an ending note, all the panellists agreed upon the way women are more prone to underplaying their own capabilities and how the same is reflected in the way they apply for jobs or negotiate during salary discussions. They highlighted the need for confidence in oneself and exuding the same in every walk of life.

The co-chairs, Pavani and Vanshika, expressed their gratitude to the panellists for gracing the occasion and sharing their insights; NBS staff for helping us organise the event and all NBS students for being an interactive and patient audience. The Club looks forward to more of such events in future.



Panellists (L-R) – Prof Christina Soh, Ms Mallika Gadepalli and Mr Vivek Nath

Audience interaction with the speakers and guests.

Event organisers and Co-chairs of Women in Business Club (Vanshika Dixit and Pavani Suryapalli)
with panellists (Mr  Vivek Nath, Ms  Mallika Gadepalli and Prof  Christina Soh)