They rose to the top despite the cultural, professional, and social biases against women, but that’s not what they want to pass on to their daughters.
Four high-achieving women—Ivanka Trump, Chanda Kochhar, Cherie Blair, and Karen Quintos—took the stage at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad today (Nov. 29) to talk about innovations that can bring more women to the work front. Besides highlighting what they and their respective institutions were doing to improve the gender balance, the four spoke about the kind of work environment they’d like the next generation of women to inherit.
Ivanka Trump, advisor to the US president
I feel that the longer we can preserve the purity of a young girl and the lack of assumption around what her role is, what she should do, what she shouldn’t do, what she should like, and what she shouldn’t like, the better.
I’m always inspired by my daughter because she makes me realise how many ingrained biases even I have that I don’t realise I’m accidentally putting on one of my children—my sons or my daughters.
So, I think, look at our smallest children and see the world as much like they see it as humanly possible, and you know, hopefully Arabella grows up in a world where she’s never told she can’t do something because of her gender.
Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO, ICICI Bank
My biggest inspiration are my children. Why is my daughter my biggest inspiration? Well, because I think at her age I expected my mother to do so many more things for me than what she expects her mother to do.
I will say we just need three Es for women—education, encouragement, and empowerment. If we do that, sky is the limit for all women.
Cherie Blair, barrister, and founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
I think the most important thing is to marry well and choose the right partner.
When I talk about what I want to see for my daughter, I actually think more about my sons because as a mother of three sons and one daughter, I have to actually think how am I bringing up my sons.
My two elder boys are both married to very successful career women but the one thing I said to both of them the day before they got married was “I know you’re very proud of your wife and her career. But the crunch time will come when you’re prepared, sometime in your career, to take a step back in your career so that her career can flourish. If you constantly think ‘yes, she can have her career but it is always secondary to mine’, then it’s never going to quite work.”
Karen Quintos, chief customer officer, Dell Technologies
We need to see more women and girls in roles related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), whether they are entrepreneurs that are creating innovative technology or whether it is girls that are graduating with STEM-related degrees.
The number of women in STEM currently is really scary. Those are the areas where jobs are going to be in the future, the salaries are going to be higher, and job security is going to be greater. Technology is permeating everything and what I would love to see is a much more balanced set of graduate men and women that are in STEM-related fields. It’s going to be a huge business imperative for many companies and governments around the world.