In "Step Up", Anju Jain, founder of Chai Pe, a platform for developing professional women, explains why gender disparity is an issue both at home and work, and how that can be changed.

 

She presents practical techniques in a simple matrix for women to use to become successful. According to Jain, an uncommitted leadership is the biggest reason for fewer women in organisations.

 

"You would agree that it is the top leaders, the ones in position of power, who can set the direction for the rest of the organisation to follow. For when the leadership wants something, it becomes a mandate and magically, all things fall in place.
 

"There is strong governance, people are held accountable, progress is monitored and there is an avid communication and recognition for a job well done," she writes in the book, published by Penguin Random House.

 

She says as a developmental psychologist and having dabbled in subjects of anthropology and sociology, and now as a business professional, she looks at women leadership contextually within the environment, they are embedded in.

 

"You would agree that we cannot look at women in isolation of their upbringing, their family and social circumstances.

 

"The book presents a holistic picture that explains how societies and role divisions have evolved, their impact on the present scenario and what can be done to enable a change going forward. I deliberate on the significant change agents and the partners to address the current scenario of missing women," she says.

What are the critical strategies and the how-tos that women and their key partners can adopt in order to succeed?

Women, men, families, companies, media and the policymakers are integral to this discussion. All have to work in tandem if one truly wants a sustainable change.

"Much of the insights in the book are gleaned from my work experience and from the last four years of work at my company called Chai Pe, which offers a platform to develop professional women," says Jain.
 

"The name of the company in Hindi means 'over tea'. The intent of the name was to connote informality; learn and share with women and men over a cup of tea in a non-threatening environment, where you can be yourself and not worry about the repercussions of being honest and fearless.  "As part of it, I hosted interactive conversations with leaders, facilitated case studies especially curated for Indian women, and conducted immersive hands-on workshops to role-play difficult situations," she writes.


Collectively, these interactions gave Jain the foundation to her book.  "The participants included middle to senior management professionals who candidly shared their challenges, fears and
learning. Their insights were critical to my holistic understanding of the missing women scenario," she says.