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I write to you for the first time as Chairman of Tata Global Beverages Limited, and it is my privilege to address you on a very special and relevant theme. Even as our Company grows from strength to strength, successfully navigating multiple opportunities in natural beverages across four continents, our Annual Report this year focuses on a key segment of our workforce, who have been instrumental in driving such sustained success – the women in our business. We are fortunate to have in our global team several thousand talented, skilled and determined
women in business – a manifesto for our times women. Across areas as diverse as plantations, tea blending rooms, marketing or manufacturing locations, and in our Company's Board Room too, women have contributed very significantly. I thank them for their myriad efforts and contributions.
It is however equally clear to me that in our Company, as well as in most industry sectors across the world, we have a long way to go if we are to truly celebrate women in our businesses. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who most recently served as US Secretary of State, says "Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world. It is past time for women to take their rightful place, in the rooms where the fates of peoples are decided." Her statement holds a loud ring of truth for companies everywhere.
When women are insufficiently represented in the workplace, we lose out on fifty percent of the talent pool. In an environment where human capital makes all the difference between success and failure, this is a massive loss which countries and corporates can ill afford. Several research studies have established a strong correlation between GDP growth and empowering women in the workforce. While all of us hunger for faster economic growth, are we giving adequate thought to the subject of appropriate representation of women in the corporate world?
Women bring rich and diverse perspectives to the workplace. Often, they bring management styles which are quite complementary to those of men. Workplaces that celebrate women naturally benefit from better decisions, as a result of such diversity. That alone is reason enough for every Company to put this topic at the forefront of its business and human resources agenda.
Yet it is equally true that many talented women drop out of the workforce in several countries including India, creating a porous pipeline of talent. Therefore, companies need to do much more to retain, develop and grow their women employees. A safe and enabling environment for women employees is mandatory. It is also useful to raise the visibility of women in the workplace, their efforts and achievements, something that this Annual Report attempts to do.
The Tata group is an equal opportunities employer, and showing respect, compassion and humanity for our colleagues and customers is embedded in our value system. We have also launched some specific initiatives to promote gender diversity, for instance the Tata SCIP (Second Career Internship Program), launched in 2008. This is a career transition management program for women professionals who have taken a long break in their working lives, and wish to re–enter the professional space. It provides opportunities for such women to undertake flexi–hour assignments, and thus builds a bridge back to the workplace. This is only a small beginning, and there is much more to be done. I hope this Report makes all of us think seriously about the need to enlarge and enhance the roles that women play in organisations. In addition to women who are part of our teams today, several hundred million women are expected to enter the global workforce in the next decade, hence there is no doubt in my mind that this subject is both important and urgent.
Women have been and continue to be an integral part of Tata Global Beverages' business, across the world. I look forward to seeing women in important roles and positions of leadership in the years ahead, as our Company grows, prospers and transforms itself. I am also confident that this initiative will be increasingly embraced by other Tata companies in the years to come.
Please join me in celebrating women in our business.