Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership

Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership (GCWL) is an emerging force against gender inequities that mire the Indian workforce. Using research, academic excellence, human centred design, policy dialogue and leadership involvement, GCWL designs programmes that can potentially change workplace equations for women.

Conceived as an ‘Industry–Academia’ partnership, GCWL is a collaborative undertaking of Ashoka University and Genpact . It combines global expertise in the field of gender equality, rights at workplace, and corporate leadership.

We hold an unapologetic-yet-non-combative view of the underlying gender biases that affect leadership potential for women. We provide thoughtful solutions that can work in the real world. Through these pragmatic solutions, we are working to challenge, erase, and invalidate hurdles that millions of women face to manage work, home, help retain their careers, and make their way to bigger leadership roles and responsibilities.
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To steer the global thinking on ‘Women, Workplace & Rights’ and to design cutting edge programmes that enable millions of women to lead with equality and dignity.

The Centre aims to achieve its mission through specific, measurable, and actionable objectives by:

  • Enabling women to develop and realise their full professional potential, further career goals, and successfully contribute to workplace and business alike.
  • Challenging leadership to design workplaces where gender equality thrives.
  • Promoting gender positive policies and practices through collaboration with policy makers.


February 2014, Ashoka University was gearing up to welcome its first undergraduate batch at its new campus at Sonepat, Haryana. As a pre-launch initiative, few philanthropists and CEOs were invited for an official tour of the project. This was an opportunity to share Ashoka’s vision which was (and continues to be) focused on transforming higher education in India.

Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact Ltd - a global professional data and digital transformation firm - was among those invited. He had been previously associated with Ashoka through the Young India Fellowship programme. Ashoka’s innovative vision left a lasting impression on Tyagarajan and sowed the seeds of a possible partnership. Days later, Venkat Eshwara, Vice President, Development at Ashoka, received a call from Genpact with the idea of forging an industry-academia partnership.

With Ashoka on board with the idea, things moved quickly leading to the formation of a centre of excellence---a clear way forward for a partnership of this magnitude. A common goal was to build knowledge, drive advocacy & research, through work with academicians and practitioners. Varied focus areas were on the table. Multiple brainstorming sessions later, both organisations found common ground on leadership, which is mostly viewed through a male lens. It was a mutually understood vision and challenge worth accomplishing: Transform leadership to a gender-neutral state bringing women’s leadership to the forefront.

By August 2014, the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Leadership began taking shape. After multiple engaging conversations, a focused scope of work emerged. In November 2014, a strong foundational plan was set in place and the centre found a home at Ashoka’s Sonepat campus. On March 23, 2015, the Centre was officially inaugurated, rechristened as the Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership (GCWL). Since then, the Centre has adopted a more global scope to its work. The focus, however, continues to be on empowering women to lead.

Theory of Change

GCWL’s Theory of Change (ToC) captures the journey we are engineering to regender the norms that marginalise women at workplace and in leadership. Our strategy for designing programmes is rooted in qualitative and quantitative data about the core issues that affect women’s staying power through recruitment, promotions, marriage, childbirth, elderly care, and leadership.

We have considered socio-structural issues such as gender norms and women’s safety, workplace issues such as gender pay gap, as well as gender biases in recruitment and promotions. Additionally, we are also considering individual issues such as lack of support system during pregnancy, childcare, and elderly care.

Our stance on women’s equality at workplace is not limited to a philosophical or ethical argument. Instead, it is rooted in human rights and economics. An increase in women’s participation from the existing 27% to the same level as that of men could boost India’s GDP by 27%, said International Monetary Fund's chief Christine Lagarde.

To that end, we are using three primary strategies through which we hope to contribute to the goal of 50-50 by 2030 through a new generation of ‘women leadership.’ These strategies are:
(a) Advocacy to create gender equitable workplaces.
(b) Programmes to empower organizations, women in workforce, and future leaders.
(c) Social networking approaches to create new narratives around gender norms.

The GCWL Team

Bendangtula Pongener

Deputy Manager

Dr. Harpreet Kaur


Isha Sharma

Programme Manager

Anushuka Rathour

Senior Communications Manager