Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman of State Bank of India (SBI), is making sure women get their due. International Women’s Day will be an action-packed day at the country’s largest lender, headed by a woman for the first time in its 208 years of existence.
The celebrations, which began on March 3, will culminate on D-Day on Saturday with a host of events including a cultural programme and the felicitation of five prominent employees in each of its local head offices across the country. On the menu is a lecture on work-life balance for career women by an expert.
In the run up to the day, SBI conducted medical camps where women employees were free to consult a dermatologist, get a dental or an eye check-up and check their bone density. During the week, the bank also organised a talk session on gender diversity for its employees at the Mumbai headquarters.
Women form less than 25% of the total work force at SBI. As on March 31 last year, the bank’s total workforce stood at 2,28,296, of which only 46,833 were women.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated for the last 106 years to commemorate the achievements of women across various fields. SBI will felicitate Rani Bang, a medical professional who has been working towards improving healthcare facilities in the tribal villages of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra.
Bang's efforts have helped to reduce infant mortality rates in the villages.
Renu Luthra, a noted academician and the pro-vice-chancellor, administration, at Galgotia University, will be delivering a lecture on work-life balance for career women during the programme on Saturday.
Bhattacharya, who joined SBI in 1977, took over leadership at the bank in October last year. She now shares the space with the likes of Chanda Kochhar, Shikha Sharma and VR Iyer, who are leading their respective banks.
During her first media interaction after becoming chairman, Bhattacharya had stressed the importance of women employees in the bank and how it was required that certain administrative rules for them be made malleable and more accommodating. The 57-year-old veteran banker had then proposed to allow three long sabbaticals for women employees at the bank.