As per a recent Women’s Leadership Research conducted by OD Alternatives, almost 100 percent of the male respondents acknowledged the need to create a conscious pipeline of women leaders in organizations. However, 84 percent of women said that they have faced stereotyping at workplace, highlighting the struggles women often face when it comes to climbing up the ladder.
To help emerging women leaders cope with opposing roles and gender expectations and help them navigate the complexities of workplace, OD Alternatives has launched Advanced Women Leadership Program in partnership with the University of Chicago.
The workshop includes a 4-day program in Delhi followed by 3 webinars focusing on practicing the concepts and dealing with real-life dilemmas.
The Advanced Women’s Leadership Program focuses on two dimensions:
- Personal Presence (Relationship with self and how an individual come across)
- Building social capital (The connections or the network)
Santhosh Babu, founder of OD Alternatives shares, “We have an interesting scenario in India. Many of our financial institutions were and are headed by women leaders. Something that is not common in the west. At the same time, if we take a larger view of number of women in CXO roles in Indian organizations, we see that the percentage is low.”
Lack of women in senior leadership teams calls for more initiatives and policies not only from the organizations but government, educational institutions and other firms as well.
There are many ways in which the entire community can contribute can together create an ecosystem that allow the women professionals to also climb up the ladder and take on senior roles.
“These efforts can be broadly divided into three areas: Policy, Awareness, and Empowerment”, says Babu.
He goes on to explain how policy related initiatives include a relook at hiring, people management and promotion policies to help increase the diversity quotient and lead to empowerment of women.
“The second part is holding sensitisation workshops and creating organisation wide awareness about bias and the ways in which they show up. Finally, to empower and equip women leaders to take on larger roles, learning interventions could be provided focusing on new mindsets, identities and skill sets,” he adds.
Learning and development firms like OD Alternatives can take on the responsibility of introducing skilling interventions focused on women leadership in particular.
Such programs allow the emerging women leaders to create their personal compass of growth. For instance, the participants of this program can practice the concepts learnt in the workshop to translate new behaviours in their workplace.
With research in the area of women leadership development and programs dedicated to foster their growth, OD Alternatives seeks to help women leaders to build more Conviction (in their aspirations), Connections (with allies), Creation (of own script of success) and Compassion (towards self) to help them soar.
The latest initiative, called The Advanced Women’s Leadership Program, uses a blend of theory and application to make a difference and impact.
Sharing more about this program, Shweta Kumar, CEO of OD Alternatives said, "The Advanced Women’s Leadership Program will prepare women to handle the unique set of challenges they face and help them boost their confidence and unleash their creativity at the workplace."
"It will equip them with resilience and grit. The program is designed to give participants a space to reflect and hone their best capabilities as well as explore new ways of being to give shape to their aspirations,” she added.
Joining as instructor is also Professor John Burrows PhD from University of Chicago, who shared, “I am thrilled and honoured to be part of this program The University of Chicago and ODA is launching in India and I cannot wait to co teach this course with Santhosh Babu from ODA on the topic of Advanced Women Leadership."
ODA has also in the past conducted women leadership programs for RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) and has also conducted workshops for FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) members.
Given that Diversity & Inclusion is fast becoming a key concern for CEOs, Kumar hopes that many more such initiatives will be held in India leading to a change in workplaces becoming a more inclusive space.
But these initiatives are only a part of the solution. To be able to create an ecosystem where more women leaders could evolve, a shift in the mindset is required among all genders. From the lessons learnt at school to the conversations that take place at home, everything shapes the behavior and attitude of individuals. Therefore, while interventions and training programs are necessary to help the emerging women leaders cope with peculiar challenges they face at work, they are not enough.