At ET Women's Forum, FB India's Ankhi Das gave some advice: Ladies, see yourself as economic assets

Facebook India's public policy director wants women to set goals for themselves.

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Ankhi Das, public policy director, Facebook, India, South and Central Asia
The Economic Times Women’s Forum 2019 took forward the mission that it launched last year — to collaboratively and urgently build a sustainable culture of empowering India’s half a billion women — through a scintillating day of conversations and debates about encouraging greater participation and reducing gender inequality in every sphere of life, work, and play.

Economic power is the basis of political power and social power, and education is the key to economic power, said Ankhi Das, public policy director, Facebook, India, South and Central Asia.

“The entrenched powers do not want to share their power, so it will be a struggle. Women need to see themselves as economic assets. We then need to set goals for ourselves and systematically work towards achieving them,” she said.


Speaking at the ET Women’s Forum in Mumbai on Friday, Das said she is a firm believer in the power of mentoring as a means of development. She invited the women gathered at the forum to sign up as mentors for Facebook’s Going Online as Leaders (GOAL) programme, which aims to help young women from the tribal regions of India achieve their goals and become leaders of tomorrow.

Under this initiative, Facebook plans to link successful urban women with expertise in business, education, health, politics and entrepreneurship with tribal women online. “The idea is to inspire, guide and encourage these young women to gain confidence. At next year’s ET Women’s Forum, we hope to present a room full of young tribal women who have benefited from the GOAL program and succeeded in their chosen fields,” she said.

The wage gap between men and women in the workplace is an issue worldwide and Das gave salary negotiations as an example of how mentoring can help.

“We have to research the market value for our skill sets before we go in for the final negotiations, but many of us don’t do that because we worry that we will come across a money-minded. What you need is someone you can give you this knowledge, with whom you can have a conversation on this subject,” she said, in a chat with ET Now’s Sonali Krishna.

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ET Women's Forum: Shikha Sharma, Diana Hayden, Aditi Mittal Reveal How To Prioritise Oneself
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Eminent women suggest what you should do to put yourself first.

In pic from left: (Shikha Sharma, Diana Hayden, Aditi Mittal)

Eminent women suggest what you should do to put yourself first.In pic from left: (Shikha Sharma, Diana Hayden, Aditi Mittal)

Shikha Sharma, Former MD, Axis Bank

My advice for women has always been, ‘Believe in yourself.’ Do not overcompensate by being aggressive or being like anybody else. You never win by playing someone else’s game. You only win by playing your own game. So, play to your strengths. Make sure you are learning every day.

Shikha Sharma, Former MD, Axis BankMy advice for women has always been, ‘Believe in yourself.’ Do not overcompensate by being aggressive or being like anybody else. You never win by playing someone e..
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Diana Hayden, Miss World 1997

To put yourself first, you need to change your thought process. It’s all in your head and that’s where it starts. Understand and truly get self-confident. You need to treat yourself well. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Diana Hayden, Miss World 1997To put yourself first, you need to change your thought process. It’s all in your head and that’s where it starts. Understand and truly get self-confident. You need to tre..
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Namita Thapar, Executive Director, Emcure Pharmaceuticals

We need to learn to be a bit more selfish. We always tend to put others before us and I think we need to take the time out to pamper ourselves. Whether it’s going to the salon or going to watch a movie, do certain selfish things and schedule it. And also, choosing the right man to marry is important. While you can use your head and heart for other decisions, I would recommend going with your gut for this one.

Namita Thapar, Executive Director, Emcure PharmaceuticalsWe need to learn to be a bit more selfish. We always tend to put others before us and I think we need to take the time out to pamper ourselves..
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Namrata Joshipura, Founder, Joshipura Designs

Never feel guilty. As working women and mothers, we do our best. When my daughter was much younger, I would often feel guilty that I’m either in the office or when I was with her, I would feel guilty about not being in the office. Today, I feel I gave my child, my home, and my work as much time as each needed. I did and am doing my best.

Namrata Joshipura, Founder, Joshipura DesignsNever feel guilty. As working women and mothers, we do our best. When my daughter was much younger, I would often feel guilty that I’m either in the offic..
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Rashmi Shukla, ADGP, Maharashtra Police

If you want to maintain a balance (between work and life), be mentally prepared to accept responsibilities. In my case, I had tremendous support from my late husband. What is important is to know your limitations. Once you know your limitations, they can become your strengths.

Rashmi Shukla, ADGP, Maharashtra PoliceIf you want to maintain a balance (between work and life), be mentally prepared to accept responsibilities. In my case, I had tremendous support from my late hu..
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Aditi Mittal, Comedian

Women are often conditioned to think that the needs of others come before their own. So, put yourself first. We normally put other people first at the cost of ourselves. Like the emergency mask on the flight, you need to put yours on first before you help the child. That’s so you can breathe enough before you empower the child.

Aditi Mittal, ComedianWomen are often conditioned to think that the needs of others come before their own. So, put yourself first. We normally put other people first at the cost of ourselves. Like th..
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Fawzia Koofi, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan

The first thing is setting goals for yourself. And the second thing is to stay committed to what you believe in. Often for women, it’s not easy to stick to what they believe in and what they want to achieve. During times like these, you need to keep your focus.

Fawzia Koofi, Member of Parliament, AfghanistanThe first thing is setting goals for yourself. And the second thing is to stay committed to what you believe in. Often for women, it’s not easy to stick..
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Vidya Shah CEO, EdelGive Foundation

It is this feeling of ‘I am no different’ and seeing humanity in yourself, not just as a woman but as a person. We are no different from anybody else, so I don’t know why we (women) get into the thing that I’m a woman so I won’t be able to do this or won’t be able to access that. That is vital. A lot of us on the panel were raised in ordinary homes but we were raised to believe that we are no different.

Vidya Shah CEO, EdelGive FoundationIt is this feeling of ‘I am no different’ and seeing humanity in yourself, not just as a woman but as a person. We are no different from anybody else, so I don’t kn..
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