“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” -Dolly Parton
Who is a true leader? A person who isn’t condescending and feels responsible for not only their own actions but also for the actions of the subordinates they are working with. Leadership is not about the position it is about action and the leadership qualities in a person doesn’t depend on gender.
Although from time immemorial India has seen many leading ladies in different spheres like the First Lady Prime Minister of India- Indira Gandhi (politics), The CEO of ICICI bank- Chandra Kochhar, Arundhuti Bhattacharya – the retired chairman of State Bank of India, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – the chairperson and managing director of Biocon limited and the list continues.
But still, there is a problem which needs to be fixed. According to a global survey carried out by Global Thornton – Women in business: New perspectives on risk and reward, Women in India hold only 17% of senior roles, the study further revealed that the women in India hold only 7% of the senior manager roles like CEO or Managing director.
Radhika Jain, the director of Global Thornton correctly stated that “Embracing diversity is no longer a feminist notion but an essential on the corporate agenda as it helps drive efficiencies and effectiveness within teams, functions and organizations.
The low 7% representation of women in senior management roles in India clearly indicates a need to fix the leaking pipeline and this requires a change in the mindset of all stakeholders – business, community, and government.
We tend to talk about the changes required to be made in and by organizations and by society. But at the same time, women themselves need to be more vocal about their ambitions and raise their hands up for the right roles and projects if they aspire to progress into senior management positions.”
The lack of women at the forefront has prompted the beginning of various programmes to encourage women in achieving their dreams with the gusto of being in the forefront.
Let’s talk about different women leadership programmes that help women to hold a position of prominence in different spheres…
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India Women in Leadership
This is a certificate programme for women, encouraging them to become political leaders in the future. The survey done by the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index (2009) shows that India holds the 24th position in 135 countries with respect to the political participation of women.
It is unfortunate that in the world’s largest democracy the women hold only 10% of seats in India’s parliament. To correct the situation, the Centre for public policy (CPP) collaborated with the Centre for Social Research (CSR) based in Delhi to launch this one of its kind certificate programme.
This programme aims at providing the required knowledge, experience, and training to the aspiring women politicians thereby making them capable and skilled politicians ensuring their active participation in elections (contesting with other candidates) and governance.
These women one day will help the country to flourish.
You can find out more about this interesting programme on their official website the link is given below –http://www.womenleadership.in/
This is pretty interesting because it helps women entrepreneurs in India to achieve their dreams. So if you have a start-up idea this programme is for you. They uplift and help women to take up various leading roles in different industries.
They believe in discovering the various talented women who want to come in the forefront but lack of means pose a threat to their desires. They bring these women one step closer to the venture capitalists who provide them with the required fund and help them to start or scale up the businesses.
The perception of the investors prove to be one of the most potent threats due to which women find it pretty difficult to raise fund.
This is 21st century yet maximum people including the investors think that women are unworthy and are not ambitious enough to be the vanguard of a startup and also believe that women-led businesses are not scalable but that’s a completely wrong notion; Joules to Watts has been funded by SAHA fund.
This company is responsible for providing the best talent solutions; they help their clients with Business and technology consultation and come up with new, innovative and perfect solutions that are required for the industry.
They provide multi-faceted solutions to difficult challenges that a client faces in order to achieve palpable and sustainable values of an enterprise by successfully executing customized business strategies. Preeti Sawant is the CEO and founder of JoulestoWatts business solutions Pvt Ltd.
To know more about SAHA fund you can visit their official website the link of which is given below – http://www.sahafund.com/.
Indian women are not quite vocal about their accomplishments and cannot gather up the courage to put forward their thoughts, talents, and achievements which is one more reason why they remain veiled.
In this context, it should be mentioned that investors tend to fund founders who have the confidence and take pride in stating their startup convictions.
To bridge this gap between the investors and potential future women entrepreneurs another customized mentorship programme is brought to the women of India by SonderConnect.
This facilitates startups to prepare business pitch decks and provide them insights into how they can effectively engage with the investors. Professional marketers, legal advisors, HR personnel and chartered accountants are responsible for training the women to achieve what they want.
The group of mentors from very reputed companies provides their sapiens; senior executives from Microsoft, Deloitte, Ernst, and Young, etc. are few of the mentors. SonderConnect is responsible for supporting the first organic food brand and grocery store in India, HappyHealthyMe.
HappyHealthyMe aims at providing a one-stop solution to all grocery need not only do they try to provide groceries to your doorstep in Bangalore but also they have plans to start the shipping of their products on pan India basis.
In order to reach out to more people, they have launched their products in Amazon as well. Co-founder of the company Namu Kini said that “Mentorship for an entrepreneur is underestimated. We are getting targeted assistance from the right industry experts.”
Anita Borge Institute
If we take Technology into consideration then it is a fact that a number of experienced Indian women in this vertical are pretty less.
The survey revealed that only 25% of the technology workforce in India is formed by women, which is pretty less as compared to other countries. To change the scenario, Anita Borge Institute is leading the contest which is titled Women Entrepreneur Quest (WEQ).
This aims at increasing the participation of women in the tech verticals. The ABI collaborated with India’s Department of Science and Technology and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum to provide women with the required tech knowledge and they also encourage women entrepreneurs to apply for this.
The selected ten finalists are then taken to California for further interaction with and training from the reputed tech companies, hacker-spaces, and other tech start-ups.
It is quite an interesting way of engaging potential women entrepreneurs in the field of technology so that they can get the proper advice and mentorship of knowledgeable people so as to become future leaders in this field.
The most intriguing fact is that in 2011 when this programme began only 40 applications came in but the recent data shows that at least 329 applications came in.
What does stop women from accomplishing their dreams? Well, it can be social factors. A survey showed that at least 80 to 85% of women in India discard the tech workforce owing to the responsibilities like eldercare.
It should be noted that balancing the personal and professional life is the key to the accomplishment of dreams and in this field especially, commitment and diligence towards work are very much needed.
The IIT Bombay and Stanford alumnus, Neha Singh is one of India’s successful women entrepreneurs. She is the co-founder of Tracxn, which is a research analytics platform.
Her startup is a success owing to the strength of the product she is providing, her commitment towards scaling up the business which is why investors can confide in her and are ready to invest, some of the investors among many are; Ratan Tata, Mohandas Pai, Vice-president of WhatsApp- Neeraj Arora, etc.
Investors invest in a company only when they see that the company can make their money grow, so who leads the business is immaterial but the prospect and scalability of the business are of utmost importance to any investor.
The IIM Calcutta also has its women leadership programme. This is a step towards the empowerment of women in India so that they can move forward and take up managerial roles and then can be the leaders of their respective organizations, the programme is titled as Transitioning into Leadership:
A Programme for Women Executives, to know more about the programme click on the link; https://www.iimcal.ac.in/ldp/TLPWE