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Telstra is calling for nominations for the second annual Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award with an expanded criteria to include female entrepreneurs and women from not-for-profit and social enterprises operating in Asia.

Cynthia Whelan, Telstra’s Group Executive New Businesses and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Alumni, said the inaugural Award in Asia in 2016 had been a great success in celebrating brilliant women in the region and the Award in 2017 was going to be bigger and better.

“We were thrilled to receive hundreds of nominations of inspiring female business leaders from across Asia for last year’s Award. Profiling and building networks of successful women is critical to overcoming barriers to equality in the workplace and we are very pleased to have welcomed last year’s cohort into the Telstra Business Women’s Award Alumni network,” said Ms Whelan.

The recent Women in Business report by Grant Thornton revealed that, although there is a slight increase in the proportion of senior roles held by women, it was still only at 25% globally and in many Asian countries it was even lower. For example, only 7% and 17% of senior roles were held by women in Japan and India respectively.

“It is clear we still have a long way to go when it comes to achieving equality among business leadership in Asia, and we hope the Award can play a role in achieving this goal,” said Ms Whelan.

This year, female entrepreneurs and women from not-for-profit and social enterprises residing in Asia are also eligible to be nominees of the Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award, a category of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, alongside women from corporate or private sectors.

“As a champion of innovation through our startup accelerator program muru-D and our investments in emerging technology businesses through Telstra Ventures, we are excited about the opportunity for female entrepreneurs in Asia to be recognised as part of the Awards,” said Ms Whelan.

Coming from India, 2016 Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award winner, Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-Founder of TeamLease Services Ltd, sees women as playing an important leadership role to drive change.

Reflecting on winning the Award, Ms Chakraborty said, “If I’m able to inspire a single woman to break all kinds of ceilings, I would be really pleased and happy.”

TeamLease has a vision of “Putting India to Work” and has transformed the labour force of India by influencing a change in labour laws in the country to enable apprenticeships.

Entries for the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Awards open Wednesday 26 April 2017 and close on Thursday 15 June 2017.

Nominations for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards are open all year round and can be made on https://www.telstrabusinesswomensawards.com/nominate/