What a great
way to connect with leaders who are intent on Diversity & Inclusion! It has been 18
years and we have made the anticipated impact in more ways than one, in our journey to
create organizations such as
yours’ intentional about D&I. As you know, we are called AVTAR – We have
the logo of a butterfly.
So you will
agree if I call my story “The Butterfly effect”
Like 48% of
Indian women, I took a break within the first 3 years of my career. Marriage, Motherhood
and Mobility (or the lack of) were the key reasons. But I wanted to return to the
I approached a
recruitment consultant who was convinced that I would make it back. But the company that
she sent me to – more specifically, the hiring manager of that position - the Marketing
head of a telecom company
– was not convinced. He – like a lot of men in the workplace at that time believed that
women themselves were a bad bet at the workplace, married women – worse, and a married
woman on a break – the very worst! It
did not help that I ticked all 3 boxes!
But my talent
could not be doubted, so he gave me the job – but at a 40% cut down from my previous job 2
That was the
point that this Butterfly effect began.
possessed of an energy to make sure that I would do everything in my power – not only to
create a company that would hire only women, but also women on breaks! More than that, I
also decided that the environment
needs to be changed.
I named our organization – AVTAR – The power of Change.
Yes, over the
past 18 years, we have changed many things!
changed the way hiring managers see the resumes of women on breaks – today over 66
organizations in India have formal second-career programs for women, hiring a reported
7000-8000 women on break, each year!
corporate India's habit of tracking and monitoring gender diversity metrics - not one, not
a few, but over 400 metrics through the cross section of gender inclusion initiatives that
provide enough power for
the Business Case! The Working Mother and Avtar Best Companies for Women study enters its
fourth edition this year, with a million diversity metrics behind it.
We changed the
perception that young underprivileged women cannot be skilled and brought into the formal
workforce. Our Project PUTHRI – Puthri means daughter in many Indian languages – is
working on skilling a 10,000
deeply underprivileged girls to make them employable in white collar jobs
be a better representative of change and metamorphosis than the Butterfly. That my own
story – “the Butterfly effect” which stands for creating change should impact the work
that we do and the millions
of lives, as a result. Thank you, leaders, for being who you are!
importantly, thank you for believing that an organization built on the premise that WOMEN
– privileged, underprivileged, marginalized, young, old, on a break, working and
entrepreneurial – are all important in
a developing economy like India – is worth listening to!