Women in the diaspora


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The Indian diaspora has been the most effective window to promote India and its rich heritage to the world. Whether India will know how to transform the skilled component of the Indian diaspora's geographically-spread skills into a “Great Off-White Hope” for the new century; is a big question.

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Women in the diaspora

  2. 2. INDIAN DIASPORA SECOND LARGEST IN THE WORLD The Indian Diaspora is estimated to be second largest in the world, second to only China and has a much diversified global presence.  The Diaspora, spread across over 200 countries is estimated at over 25 million.  High concentration of the Indian diaspora is in regions such as the Middle East, the United States of America, Malaysia, South Africa  While the Indian Diaspora in Gulf and other countries is more of unskilled and semi skilled, the diaspora in developed countries – USA and UK is skilled and highly skilled  Source: Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs Report, 2010
  3. 3. DIASPORA THE WINDOW FOR WORLD TO INDIA’S HERITAGE & PROGRESS “Post-independence, overseas Indians have served as a bridge of friendship and cooperation between India and their adopted homes abroad. Regardless of whether they are successful professionals, traders and entrepreneurs, or second generation Indians, comfortably reconciling their two identities, or workers toiling hard to build a future for their families, they are at all times a most effective window for the world to India’s heritage and its progress” Dr. Man Mohan Singh, Prime Minister, Government of India in his speech at the 11thPravasiBhartiya Divas at Kochi
  4. 4. APPROACH ADOPTED IN THIS PAPER      While reliable data is not available on the constituent share of women Diaspora in the various countries and its bifurcation of skilled and highly skilled workforce. Only Web and Desk research has been used and very little field data has been collected for this paper. A Case study approach has been taken to highlight some women of Indian diaspora who have excelled in North America (USA and Canada). Some of the known knowledge transfer approaches taken by Indian women diaspora have been highlighted Some suggestions to take help of women diaspora to improve their engagement with India have been summarised in the end.
  5. 5. APPROACH ADOPTED IN THIS PAPER The women Diaspora can play a big role to bring about the reverse “Brain Drain” to their parent countries and ways and means of augmenting the same have been highlighted.  Paper tries to document the Diaspora associations and organizations that could add to enhance the level of engagement of professional women Diaspora.  Role of Skilled Women Diaspora in using ICT and Knowledge transfer to parent countries in a systematic manner has been examined in some depth. This effort can lead to a possible increase of a long/medium term engagement of the women Diaspora to initiatives and interest in the development of Indian women. 
  6. 6. SCOPE OF THIS PAPER The real world data of women diaspora living in North America in the category of Skilled and Highly skilled professionals, have been covered in this paper, examining some of their unique aspects.  Scope has been restricted to women in        Science and Technology, Information Technology, Medicine, Business Entrepreneurs, Politics & Legal Human Activists/Social Entrepreneurs. and Knowledge Professionals/Thought Leaders
  7. 7. INDIAN DIASPORA IN NORTH AMERICA   Diaspora is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary “as a group of people who live outside the area in which they had lived for a long time or in which their ancestors lived”. In our context, Indian Diaspora could comprise of People of Indian Origin (PIO) – Who have some ancestral roots in India  Migrants- People Living Overseas for work or business purposes  Emigrants - people leaving the country to a region with the intent to settle permanently in the other country.   The Diaspora can also be looked upon from their inherent nature of their reason of movement and their current status:   The Old Diaspora – before 60‟s The New Diaspora – after 60‟s, primarily to developed countries like the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.
  8. 8. UNITED STATE OF AMERICA Americans of Indian ancestry comprise about 3.18 million people, or about 1.0% of the U.S. population, the country's third largest ancestry group after Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans.  The major percentage of the annual immigration of Indian to America constitutes the Knowledge workers which are skilled or highly skilled.  The highest concentration of Indian community is in California followed by New York, New Jersey, Texas and Illinois.  The US Census Bureau estimates that 75% percent of all ethnic Indians working in the US hold at least a bachelor's degree, and 69% percent work in management and professional occupations. 
  9. 9. UNITED STATE OF AMERICA  The highly skilled new Indian diaspora, migrated to the North America through mainly after 60‟s   the employment route and the academic route– the „semi–finished human capital‟ A joint Duke - UC Berkeley university study revealed that Indian immigrants have founded more engineering and technology companies from 1995 to 2005 than immigrants from the UK, China, Taiwan and Japan combined.  The Indian-American community serves as a bridge between the two countries, promoting mutually beneficial links in education, commerce, culture, and people-topeople exchanges. 
  10. 10. CANADA According to Statistics Canada, in 2006 there were 962,665 people who classified themselves as being of Indian origin, including terms of "East Indian", South Asian or Indo-Canadian.  Out of this population, 42% are Hindu, 39% are Sikh, and the rest are Muslim, Christian, Jain, Buddhist. The main Indian ethnic communities are Punjabis (which account for more than half of population) as well Gujratis, Tamils, Keralites, Bengalis, Sindhis and others.  Most Indians choose to immigrate to larger urban centers like Toronto, and Vancouver, where more than 70% live. Smaller communities are also growing in Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal. 
  11. 11. CANADA  Indians in Canada are mainly Entrepreneurs, but are mainly in medicine, academia, management and engineering (professional workers).  Emigrants from India today enjoy success in all fields within the economy while there are some concentration in British Columbia in agriculture and forestry.  Since 1960s, many highly skilled workers and professionals have energized Canada‟s universities, the civil service, hospitals and high-tech industries
  12. 12. CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN DIASPORA IN NORTH AMERICA 1. CHANGE IN IMAGE While the earlier Indian women diasporas had an image of “a Docile Sari clad or other desi outfit, dotted forehead and a religious women"  The image of the new Diaspora which is emerging, is of a “dynamic, confident and highly educated women who is ready to take on the world and is hyper mobile”.  This new image, which comes with globalization and hyper mobility, modern communication means (telephone, e-mail, the internet, videos/DVD, TV, webcam, etc.) and the introduction of dual citizenship has lend the women a NEW IMAGE. 
  13. 13. BETTER FINANCIAL FREEDOM AND WEALTH  A research company, TNS, has unveiled the results of the biggest global study into the attitudes and investment priorities of the affluent. Fundamental social shifts found in the demographics of the world‟s affluent.  While men are the primary decision makers among affluent households in India is 80 per cent  Central Europe is 79 per cent  In North America it is more even at 45 per cent  (Source: The Global Indian)
  14. 14. CHANGING MARRIAGE PATTERNS A large influx of Indian immigrants in North America after 1960‟s, resulted in a mixed Caucasian & Indian backgrounds..  Out of 56,497,000 married couples  the overall the percentage of Indian males married to White females (7.1%) was higher than Indian females marrying with White males (3.7%);  Whilst for those who were US born the reverse was true with more Indian females marrying White males (39.1%) than Indian males married to White females (27.3%).   This changing marriage patterns has brought a change in their outlook of North American women of Indian origin, making them more inclusive to the cultures of the host country. Source: 2001 U.S. Census Bureau‟s publication
  15. 15. POLITICALLY AWARE AND SOCIALLY ACTIVE  Though women in North America have been politically active, but they gained recognition and notice able attention after the formation of Asian Indian Women in America (AAIWA) in 1980.  AAIWA, is the 1st Indian women's organization in North America, and was invited to attend the first White House Briefing for Asian American Women in 1983.  In the next slide some of the active women diaspora have been highlighted who are socially and politically aware and active.
  16. 16. WOMEN DIASPORA OF INDIAN ORIGIN IN US POLITICS AND HUMAN RIGHT ACTIVISM  Nikki Haley, an elected governor of South Carolina, is the first Indian American woman who is also the youngest governor of any US state.  Maya Harris, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California is Vice President for Democracy, Rights and Justice at the Ford Foundation.  Bhairavi Desai, founding member of the Taxi Workers Alliance in New York, a union representing approximately 15,000 taxi drivers in New York City.  Kavita Ramdas, former President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. She is currently the Executive Director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.  Urvashi Vaid, gay rights activist advocates for Boston's gay community.
  17. 17. WOMEN DIASPORA IN CANADIAN POLITICS  Narinder Kaur "Nina" Grewal is the MP of the Conservative Party.  Patty Sahota represented the electoral district of Burnaby-Edmonds in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from 2001 to 2005.  Ruby Dhalla represented the riding of Brampton Springdale in the Canadian House of Commons from 2004 to 2011 as a member of the Liberal Party.
  18. 18. ACQUIRING NEW KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS  As opposed to women in many countries, Indian women diaspora in North America have equipped themselves with the right education and skills to not just acquire another certification but make a mark in their professional and career work.  Taking sabbatical from work to further their education or acquire new skills is quite prevalent amongst most of them.  Continuing education has been a planned activity for most professionals – Bankers, Doctors, Lawyers and others.
  19. 19. HIGHLY SKILLED WORKFORCE    North American countries feature among the most competitive economies worldwide, with the United States occupying the 5th position and Canada the 14th position. One-third of employed Indian-born women in America worked in management, business, and finance and in information technology. Among the 384,000 Indian-born female workers age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 15.7 percent worked in management, business, and finance,  13.6 percent reported working in information technology.   Indian-born women were also concentrated in administrative-support occupations - 11.8 percent  sales - 10.6 percent. 
  20. 20. STRONG BUSINESS ACUMEN  The Indian women diaspora has exhibited great leadership qualities and strong business acumen in USA. Indra Nooyi, an Indian-origin American executive who hails from Chennai is the current Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.  Shefali Duggal, an Indian American was been chosen as the most powerful woman in California, by National Diversity Council.  Renu Khator is the Chancellor and President of University of Houston, who holds the prestige of being the first foreign-born President of the University.  Padma Lakshmi is a well-known internationally accepted personality who has proved her talent in diverse fields, being an actress, model, Television host and author of cookbooks. 
  21. 21. SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE  Indian Women Diaspora have not only proved their mettle as being socially responsible for their community, but also contributed to the host country and other countries in their endeavor.      Maya Ajmera - Founder of The Global Fund for Children and author over 20 children books MallikaDutt-Founder, President and CEO of Breakthrough (a global human rights organization) and Co-founder of Sakhi. Vijaya Lakshmi Emaniwas an Indian American social activist known for her work against domestic Violence, and civic leader Gitanjali S. Gutierrez,is a lawyer, who is defending Guantanamo prisoners. Maya Harris - Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern Californiais also the Vice President for Democracy, Rights and Justice at the Ford Foundation
  22. 22. CONTRIBUTION OF WOMEN DIASPORA IN PROFESSIONAL FIELDS  INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Padmasree Warrior is the CTO of Cisco Systems and past executive vice president of Motorola.  Rohini Kesavan Srihariis an American computer scientist and entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Janya Inc.   SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Sharmila Bhattacharya is the Head of the Biomodel Performance and Behavior laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center  Sunita Williams, a Female NASA astronaut 
  23. 23. CONTRIBUTION OF WOMEN DIASPORA IN PROFESSIONAL FIELDS  MEDICINE  SangeetaBhatia, is a M.D., Ph.D. Harvard-MIT doctor & scientist - engineer of artificial liver cells.  Anita Goel, Chairman & CEO, Nanobiosym is a physicist and physician in the United States.  Sheela Basrur, was a Canadian physician and Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Health.
  24. 24. ROLE OF ICT AND KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER BY WOMEN DIASPORA  Though, women Diaspora have been transferring some of their knowledge through direct and indirect methods, ICT (Information Communication & Technology) can aid in facilitating the knowledge transfer in a systematic, strategic and meaningful manner.  ICT also aids in remote engagements through virtual communities and improving interactions at a more regular interval in a structured manner.  To show desired results it is vital for all such initiatives to have a clearly defined strategic intent and measurable outcomes.
  25. 25. CASE 1 – SRAMANA MITRA- 1MBY1M PROGRAM  Objective: To Create 1 Million Entrepreneurs with 1 Million Turnover  Bio: Sramana Mitra has been an entrepreneur and a strategy consultant in Silicon Valley since 1994. Her fields of experience span from hard core technology disciplines like semiconductors to sophisticated consumer marketing industries including fashion and education.  Use of ICT to help Entrepreneurs Sramana has developed a well-regarded methodology or positioning which she has used repeatedly in different situations and across a variety of market segments.  She has authored : - Entrepreneur Journeys, books focused on demystifying entrepreneurship - Seed India: How To Navigate The Seed Capital Gap In India. - Vision India 2020, a futuristic retrospective on India  In 2010, she founded the One Million by One Million initiative to help a million entrepreneurs globally to reach a million dollars in annual revenue, build $1 trillion in global GDP and create 10 million jobs.  In 1M/1M, she teaches the Entrepreneur Journeys (EJ) methodology to entrepreneurs around the world. 
  26. 26. CASE 2 – NALINI SALIGRAM -MDIABETES  Objective: To create awareness for1 Million people on Diabetes in India  Bio: Nalini Saligram. Phd., is a global health advocate and founder & CEO of Arogya World. Her broad work experience in leading pharmaceutical companies and nonprofits solidified her personal desire to make a meaningful contribution to global health and led to the formation of Arogya World.  Use of ICT to help spread awareness on Diabetes  Sixty-plus million Indians live with diabetes and 1 million die from it each year. Moreover, Indians get the disease 10 years earlier than counterparts in the West, often in their 30s and 40s.  In 2012, Nokia Life helped Arogya World recruit 1,052,633 persons who opted-in to receive mDiabetes text messages. The participants came from all over India and a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
  27. 27. CASE 3 - DR. ANNAPURNA PANDEY - ODISHA DEVELOPMENT THROUGH VIRTUAL NETWORKS  Objective: To create a strategic framework on how to effectively use OSA voluntary systems and resources in support of Odisha Development through virtual networks.  Bio: Dr. Annapurna Pandey is a trained sociologist, anthropologist and teaches Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz as well as at San Jose State University.  Orissa Society of the Americas The Orissa Society of the Americas (OSA) in Chicago has recently conducted one of its biggest convention from 5th -7th July 2013 bringing together about 1300 participants from different parts of North America as well as Odisha.  During calmaties like the Orissa cyclone the diaspora helped to rehabilitate and reconstruct the structures caused by the damages in a very efficient manner 
  28. 28. ROLE OF ASSOCIATIONS AND CONVENTIONS  A successful, prosperous and politically influential Diaspora is an asset to India, for it acts as a vibrant bridge between two countries, adding sustenance to their bilateral relations.  Both India and the Diaspora have something to gain from the connection, in real as well as intangible terms.  To channelize the efforts of bringing the Indian Diaspora to connect with India and contribute to its development, many efforts have been made by organizing conventions with the help of associations through global conventions and conferences.  Some of them have been illustrated here.
  29. 29. PROMINENT INDIAN DIASPORA ASSOCIATIONS S.No. Category Associations 1. Cultural/Religious Associations Samband, Assam Association of North America, Telugu Association of North America, American Telugu Association (ATA), World Malayali Council, Bengali Cultural Association, Kenada Koota, Gujarati Samaj, etc. 2. Students/Alumni Association Mayur at the Carnegie Mellon University; Sangam at MIT; Ashoka at California University; Diya at Duke University; SASA at Brown University; Boston University, India Club, Friends of India, IGSA (Houston University)and Indian Students Associations at various universities. 3. Support Association MITHAS, Manavi, Sakhi, Asian Indian Women in America (AIWA), Maitri, Narika, IBAW (Indian Business and Professional Women), etc. 4. Professional Association AAPI, SIPA, NetIP, TiE, EPPIC, SISAB, WIN, AIIMSONIANS, AIPNA, ASEI, IPACA, IFORI, SABHA, and IACEF,etc. 5. Development Association Association for India‟s Development (AID), AIA, American India Foundation 6. General/ Umbrella Network GOPIO, NFIA, The Indian American Forum for Political Education (IAFPE), The National Association of Americans of Asian Indian Descent (NAAAID), and Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), etc. Source: India: Skilled migration to developed countries, labour migration to the gulf (Khadaria 2006))
  30. 30. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)  The PBD Convention is the flagship event of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, organized every year since January, 2003, with a view to connecting India to its vast Indian Diaspora and bring their knowledge, expertise and skills on a common platform.  In 2013, the PBD Convention at Kochi  Had four plenary sessions on- India's Growth: Greater Opportunities, Heritage and Diaspora, Engaging Young Overseas Indians and Investment opportunities in States;  Four concurrent sessions on - Innovation and Technology, Meeting of Diaspora Organizations, India's Growing Soft Power and Overseas Indians and India.
  31. 31. Global Healthcare Summit : Channelizing Diaspora expertise in healthcare  Healthcare industry forms the backbone of any nation‟s well-being.  India with its 1.2 billion population is expected to have a robust medical sector with a $100 billion industry by 2015 from the current $65 billion, growing 20 percent annually.  However, the challenge facing the industry is to make healthcare affordable, accessible to all and efficient.  Physicians of Indian origin are much sought after by patients and medical facilities around the world for their expertise, compassion and the quality of care they are known to provide to their patients.  Association of Asian Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) conducts the annual Global Healthcare summit, where a record number of doctors participate in a 2-3 day event.
  32. 32. Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing  The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing India is a program of the Anita Borg Institute and is copresented with the Association for Computing MachineryIndia.  It is the only annual conference exclusively for women technologists in India, and brings the research and career interests of women in computing in India to the forefront.  Presenters are leaders in their respective fields representing industrial, academic and government communities.  Anita Borg Institute seeks to: Connect women in computing and concerned companies  Inspire through our goal to increase the impact of women on technology  Guide women technologists and companies in hopes of increasing the positive impact of technology on the world‟s women  Source: http://gracehopper.org.in/)
  33. 33. S&T Professionals of Indian Diaspora – Website  "S&T Professionals of Indian Diaspora - Website" is Ministry of Science & Technology (Department of Science & Technology - DST) platform and is an integral part of the overall Indian Diaspora initiative of Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs.  This Website is aimed at capturing willingness and harnessing contributions of STIOs abroad in:      Human Resources & Research Capacity Development Technology Entrepreneurship India in international mega-science India as Global R&D Platform Alma Mater Source: http://stio.nic.in/
  34. 34. SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION IT & HEALTHCARE  IT and Healthcare professionals constitute strong professional Indian Diaspora.  Healthcare professional diaspora is over three lakhs doctors and many more paramedical professionals. However, transferring the expertise has been a huge challenge.    It is thus suggested to explore ICT driven or ICT supported mechanisms to define a series of programs to overcome specific challenges faced by India in the development process. Use of eLearning, Continuing Medical Education, Knowledge exchanges, etc. may be explored for knowledge transfer, which is driven by Women diaspora. The women wing of associations like AAPI may collaborate with an Indian counterpart or an IT firm that specializes in Professional Education and Workplace learning.
  35. 35. OTHER PROFESSIONAL WOMEN DIASPORA  Women Diaspora should be encouraged to actively engage with their Alumina Networks and contribute their time and philanthropy to upgrade the infrastructure and standard of the alma mater and the new students.  The returning Women Diaspora can help and support Indian startups by mentoring and angel funding them.  A few successful Women Diaspora who have returned have setup global benchmarks in both innovation as well as nurturing talent to provide risk capital to grow their startups, leveraging their contact and knowledge Vani Kola of Kallari Capital, who was earlier in Silicon Valley for 22 years.  ZipDial CEO Valerie Rozycki Wagoner created a Mobile analytics company  Rashmi Sinha, CEO of SlideShare. She focuses on product strategy and design to lead to acquisition by Linkedin . 
  36. 36. SUGGESTIONS TO INCREASE THE ENGAGEMENT OF SKILLED WOMEN DIASPORA To bring a strategic dimension to India‟s engagement;  Channelize efforts of skilled and highly skilled professionals of Overseas Indian community to India in a systematic manner.  Assist the transfer from the investible Diaspora communities in terms of knowledge & resources in diversified – economic, social and cultural areas through strategic initiatives.  Anchor women Diaspora and their skills for overseas employment initiatives in India.  Leverage ICT to aid knowledge transfer; by creating knowledge networks, virtual communities  Encourage Women Diaspora to remain connected to the alumina and home states, through virtual networks. 
  37. 37.  The Professional Women Diasporas‟ greatest achievement is to be able to discover their „Self Identity‟. “Professional IT women, whether or not they love their work, associate their ability to work with a sense of development of an individual self, whether in Bangalore or in Silicon Valley. This individual self is often understood to be a part of their global identity, while Indian-ness is associated more with collectivity and family solidarity” - Smita Radha krishnan The professional women diaspora, have found their self-identity, it is time for them to help the Indian Women to find theirs!
  38. 38. REFERENCES           Abella. 2006, “Global Competition for Skilled Workers and Consequences”, in Competing for Global Talent, Edited by Kuptsch, C. and Pang, E. F., Interna-tional Institute for Labour Studies, ILO, Geneva. Assisi, Francis. 2007. "News & Analysis: Skilled Indian Immigrants Create Wealth for America" INDOlink. 7 July. Government of India. 2010. Indian Diaspora. New Delhi: Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. “Global rich list: Indians one of the Wealthiest”. 2011. Rediff.com, 11 October. Government of India. 2013. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s speech at Pravasi Bharitya Divas Kochi. New Delhi: PMO Office Khadaria. 2006. “India: Skilled Migration to Developed Countries Labour Migration to the Gulf”, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Majumdar. 1994. “Old World is the New World”, The Telegraph, Calcutta, 8 August. Mishra. 2005. The Diasporic Imaginary and the Indian Diaspora. Accessed on 17 December 2013. https://www.victoria.ac.nz/slc/asi/publications/04-occ-diaspora.pdf, Radhakrishnan. 2010. “Globalization, Public Culture and South Asian Diaspora: Examining the „Global‟ Indian Middle Class: Gender and Culture in the Silicon Valley/Bangalore Circuit”. In Everyday Life in South Asia, edited by Diane P. Mines, Sarah Lamb, Indiana University Press Rao. 2013. TIE Global Website "The Indian Diaspora - Past, Present, and Future", Accessed on 17 December 2013. https://www.tie.org/article/indian-diaspora-past-presentand-future-ashok-rao.