The Ladies Study Group delegation headed by Madhulika Kanoria set off for Vienna on the 3rd of September. We were a group of twelve ladies.
we met the Indian ambassador Ms Renu Pal for tea at the historic Imperial hotel .The ambassador spoke about unique experiences of her career spanning three decades. She said that women of India were exceptionally empowered and could stand out at the international level. Ms Pal then went on to enquire about the background and story behind each member of the delegation.It was indeed a rather candid and enlightening session.
On the 6th of September, we gathered for a study session over breakfast. Then dressed in traditional Indian attire we reached the Federal Chancellery of Vienna in the afternoon. The high point of the trip was meeting the dynamic Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s youngest Chancellor. He welcomed us and our president invited him to speak to our delegation. On our question about Vienna being considered ‘the best place to live in’, he spoke about the various steps Austria had taken, in areas of safety, social security, health, food, water, education etc. The Chancellor also said that Austria was an export oriented nation , and with a 3.2 % GDP growth rate it was one the fastest growing countries in the European Union with very low unemployment rates. He ended by saying that he looked forward to visiting India in 2019. Chancellor Kurz also obliged us by standing in for individual photographs with each LSG delegation member!
The Chancellor was accompanied Ms. Juliane Bogner-Strauß, Federal Minister for Women, Families and Youth and Ms. Margarete Schrambock , Minister of Digital and Economic affairs.The two ministers stayed back for an extended session with us.
They said that 50 % of the Austrian parliament was composed of women . Bogner-Strauß emphasised that many women completed university but relatively few rose to senior corporate positions thereafter. Hence they were specially focussed on supporting women through paid leave after child birth and excellent child care programmes to encourage them to return to workforce and work full time . Shrambock stressed that Austria was working towards making Austria a highly digitised nation, starting with a digitised education system. She said they had achieved high employment numbers due to an unique apprenticeship system that was introduced at the school level. In the programme corporations collaborated with the government offering skill based internships to young students in tandem with school .The minister indicated they were willing to collaborate and help India replicate this system. She also said the Austrian corporations were encouraged to take in a diversified workforce and their diverse contribution often improved the rating of the company. Overall the positive energy was overwhelming!
This Austrian trip will always remain meaningful, significant and colourful in our memories.
– Sreela Mitra