Saundarya Rajesh has helped more than 8,000 women get back to work.
Her inspiring story, and advice to women who want to take a mid-career break:
First, a few startling statistics.
- India is ranked 123 when it comes to the female-male ratio at the work place.
- 48% per cent of women in India abort their careers midway; this is 20% more than the global average.
- The Indian woman’s contribution to the national GDP is 17%, which is much lower than the global average of 37%.
- If the participation of women in the Indian workforce can be increased to 41% by 2025, it can add an estimated Rs 46 lakh crore ($700 billion) to the GDP.
No wonder then when someone like Dr Saundarya Rajesh helps women restart their career after a break, the effort is considered significant.
Saundarya was recently selected for the #100Women Initiative started by the Union ministry of women and child development, in collaboration with Facebook, to recognise and acknowledge women who are making a difference in their communities across the country.
These 100 women will meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Union Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi in Delhi on January 22.
Saundarya’s journey as an entrepreneur began in 2000 when she co-founded Avtar with K Umasankar. Avatar then had five employees.
In 2005, she started Avtar I-Win to help women find a second career after a break. Ten years later, they have 42,000 women professionals in their network.
More than 8,000 women have re-entered the workforce because of Saundarya and her team.
In the meantime, she completed her PhD on women’s work force participation. In her own words, Saundarya shares her story of how she decided to help women find a career after a break.