CA Divaz League (2019-2024)

Women CAs have always played a pivotal role in the Chapter right from the beginning, as volunteers and committee members. CA Yujita Chaudhri served as the chairperson of the Chapter for the term 2014-2015. CA. Vanessa Menezes, Secretary of the Chapter (2016-2017) took initiative and organised the first International Women's Day event of the Chapter on 8th March, 2017. The event was well received and inspired the female members to come forward and play an active role on the professional front. IWD 2017

Thereafter, CA. Dhwani Tanna (Committee Member), CA. Pooja Kamath, CA. Bindu Mathews, CA. Divya Bangra, CA. Ankur Chaplot and many other females actively contributed to the Chapter's activities. In 2019, Sheetal Khona and Prashant Barad took lead in organising the Diwali event of the Chapter. One of the highlights of the event was a group performance by female CAs and spouses of male members, showcasing folk dance from different regions of India. This created a bond amongst the participants truly aligning with the theme 'Unity in Diversity'.

In spite of various initiatives, the participation of females in regular Chapter events was not satisfactory. Most of the females had young families to look after and so could not attend the CPD or stay for the networking time after CPDs. Some felt conscious due to their career breaks, were unsure of their career paths or needed guidance to move ahead. Some girls faced the superwoman syndrome or guilt of not being with their young kids. Others were doing well but found it difficult to move up the corporate ladder.

In 2020, Ankur Chaplot, then Secretary of the Chapter initiated 'CA Divaz League' - a platform where female members of the Chapter could share their learnings, achievements, challenges, concerns and more. The motto was to create an informal yet professional space where the girls would feel comfortable to open up and learn, grow and have fun together. This was to enable more group discussions and one on one talks for mutual benefit. The initiative got support from Navita Agrawal (Treasurer), Sonali Sahu, Safiya Khapra, Meenaxi, Meghna, Nehal and others. The group started having small meetups in cafes, parks and even at Chapter events. The moms were allowed to join with their young kids, if no alternate arrangement was possible.

Later that year, Subbu Subramanian, Chairman of the Chapter suggested the group should organise International Women’s Day for next year. Ankur influenced the Committee to have it in Panel Discussion format, so the members get more time and space to have answers to their unresolved questions. Ankur and Navita led the event and it turned out to be a huge success and inspired the female members to work on themselves and grow as leaders. Break-glass-ceiling-panel-discussion-international-day-of-the-icai IWD 2021. The event also revealed important insights on how men and women network and lead differently.

During Covid lockdown, 'Experience Sharing' sessions were introduced, where the members would share their journey, challenges and lessons. Renjeeta, Navita, Priya, Julie and others have addressed the members till now. The focus of these sessions was on getting insights on respective role requirements and industry knowledge from the speaker. This also enabled getting tips on putting the foot in the door and answering interview questions. The group also conducted some interview preparation and mental/physical health sessions. The group kept growing bigger with the active involvement of admins and the support of the Management Committee.

In 2022, under the Chairmanship of Subbu Subramanian, the International Women’s Day event was organised as an online event due to Covid restrictions. The event had esteemed panellists from Australia and India - Rachel Grimes, CFO, Challenger Limited, Stella Petrou Concha – CEO, Reo Group, and Akanksha Sharma – Global Head ESG, Sterlite Technologies Limited to brainstorm on how to ‘Break the Bias’. Ankur, Navita and Tanuja led the event and Ankur moderated the panel discussion. IWD 2022

The 2023 IWD event was led by CA. Tanuja Bissa, Secretary of the Chapter and had the theme as ‘Embracing Equity’. With high profile speakers like Jodi Mckay, Veena Sahajwalla and Natalie Thomas, the evening left us feeling empowered and stronger about our responsibility towards gender equality and equity. The event brought the realization that the story of women's struggle for equality belongs to all of us, and it is our collective efforts that will bring about the change we seek. The event was hosted by Tania D’Souza and the panel was moderated by Shilpa Kulshrestha IWD 2023 Photos

Later that year, the group reached the strength of 75 members and was formally made a part of the Chapter under the leadership of CA. Samir Mehta, Chairperson and CA. Tanuja Bissa, Secretary of the Chapter. On 25th June Women’s Wellbeing Workshop was organised as the first formal event of the Chapter, which got huge accolades for the choice of speakers, networking opportunity and sumptuous platters. WWW 2023 Photos.

CA. Tanuja Bissa, Secretary added more value to the group by introducing ‘Divaz Book Club’. The group picks a book every month and meets over coffee to discuss the learnings and insights from the book. The group meetups continued, Ankur led the organisation of ‘Falguni Pathak’ Garba event for members and Madhushree Tapre led the ‘Wellness Retreat’ event in Blue Mountains. The year ended with a bang as the group organised a badminton meetup to celebrate the coming holidays.

2024 has become a special year for CA Divaz League as CA. Tanuja Bissa took the responsibility of leading the Chapter as Chairperson. The International Women’s Day event started with her motivating welcome speech. The event was hosted by Bhavna Goyal and the panel was moderated by CA. Priya Kannan. The panel emphasized on building sisterhood among women and encouraged them to promote and back other females. The Chapter also recognised the contribution of Ambika Girglani and CA. Ankur Chaplot. IWD 2024.