My Journey and Background
I am Renu Tandon and I live in Pune, India. I come from a progressive family and am a third generation working women. Our family has had women who have aspired, inspired and broken traditional stereotypes and it has had men – who believed in the potential and talents of women and encouraged them to step up and move waters. My mother is a teacher (now retired) and my father is a scientist.
My Initiatives and Contributions
In one of my previous jobs, I worked with the WILL Forum India (Women in Leadership) as an Executive Partner. My role was to engage with senior business leaders in the Corporate world to help them create the right eco-systems for women professionals to grow and emerge as leaders, conducting research on Public Policy in India, conducting seminars, conferences and leadership workshops.
I am also a Business Mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and working with a visionary entrepreneur in South Africa to help her achieve professional goals. As a 2015-16 Global Champion @Empower Women (a UN Women initiative), I am contributing to the larger cause of Women Economic Empowerment(WEE). My project under this program focuses on engaging men in the dialogue of WEE, making them aware of (un)conscious biases and traditional stereotypes of women and their roles , helping them create the right ecosystems in their companies and communities which help make WEE a reality.
My Biggest Challenge and for the Women Around Me
Research has showed that Corporate India sees 40% women at entry levels, this is reduced to 20% at mid levels and this drastically comes down to less than 5% at senior leadership levels. This skewed representation of women in leadership roles has a social impact and a much larger business impact. When organizations exclude 50% of the talent base then their competitiveness and innovation is restricted and this in turn impacts sustainability. I see my women peers and friends drop out of the workforce for varied reasons – some personal, most professional. They are frustrated with lack of development, opportunities to learn, grow and contribute.
Actions to Take:
It is time to move from advocacy to action. There has been enough talk on what and why should WEE be encouraged, I believe that as a society we are at the stage where actions are critical and the time to act is now. We need concrete commitment and steps which organizations can define for women to recognised and represented well at leadership levels in their organizations
Some countries like Norway, Germany have made the commitment, defined actions and are takeing concrete measures to achieve women representation on corporate boards. I believe countries like India can replicate several of these practices.
Through my project and initiatives with Empower Women, I have begun my contributions to this movement.
Skills and Resources required.
We need to gather critical mass to make this movement successful and there is a need for disruption as the current ways will not bear fruits for several decades to come. Digital today is the only way to gather this critical mass and get the collective voices to be heard, best practices to be shared and the right stake-holders to support. I will use my digital training and skills which I learn through this program to gain a global voice and momentum to get the men involved in this change of WEE.