The Tanishka Foundation is one such initiative, whose main goal is to empower women and change the perception of their roles within the society. Tanishka provides a peer-to-peer platform for women to connect, share and champion the cause of socio-economic transformation by addressing emotional, physical and financial security.
- Emotional security is based on an integration of self-acceptance and self-confidence, social and political understanding and a personal ability to take a significant part in decision-making and in control over resources in the environment.
- Physical security centers around fundamental human rights, including equal protection under the law, freedom from all forms of discrimination, access to the highest standard of physical and mental health, complete freedom from abuse at the domestic or community level and zero level tolerance for any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- Financial security reflects the critical need in society, that in order for women to have a dignified life and fully harness and galvanize their potential, it is paramount that they have stable incomes on par with men in their socio-economic strata. Additionally, they must be provided with the skills and education required to earn secure and continuously enhanced incomes, with rights to optimal control over land and other critical monetizable resources and equal access to all entitlements and services available in society.
Below, Pawar, who joined YPO in 2004 and is a Global Impact honoree for his work through Tanishka, recalls some of his favorite achievements, stories and life lessons.
1. What is one thing you know now that you would teach your younger self about business and leadership?
If I were to teach my younger self, it would be the following: I know now that you should start with thinking of society’s challenges and issues, and when you do, your own individual problems become insignificant and the ability to reach out to people increases. This in turn creative business opportunities to solve that greater issue. Usually people start with the business objective and link to a social issue but if you start with that purpose, that opens business opportunities.
Today, I have an integrated model where philanthropy and social enterprise is at the core. I made a conscious decision to follow this model about five years ago when I decided to use my resources and skills for helping solve social issues, as part of the business. I thought I would lose money but it resulted in the opposite. It opened up more business opportunities. The privileged one percent of the population have to introduce change to make the world a better place. They can do it and have the responsibility to do it.
2. What is your favorite achievement?
The creation of the ‘Rally the citizens of Pune’ by Delivering Change Foundation. Seven million citizens across a wide spectrum of backgrounds including politicians, NGO’s, industries, judiciary, schools, colleges and the disadvantaged traveled by bus for a day to raise awareness of public transportation and ultimately help reduce pollution, accidents and traffic. Every stakeholder of the society was united, and we all traveled together in a bus for one day on 1 November 2012. We celebrated this as the Pune Bus Day.
3. What is one of your favorite transformative stories about the women you’ve worked with?
The Tanishka women’s group is the Matori Village story. The Matori village is one of the poorest villages in India. A 78- year-old woman, who is a Tanishka member, took the initiative and rallied other women in the village to ensure that they got 50 percent of the land transferred to their names, as many of their husbands were alcoholics and they indulged in gambling (therefore many men would lose their belongings and land). Not only this, but they also rallied to stop physical and domestic violence in their homes. They further moved on to make the village drought-free by working on the desilting project. This was all done by a group of Tanishka women, many of whom were illiterate.
4. How has being in YPO positively affected your business or leadership?
Being in YPO has allowed me many opportunities to meet members whom I can trust, and with whom I can partner in business. Some members helped us to verify information of companies or individuals with whom I was looking to either partner or take help from in social as well as business projects.
5. What is one must-read book for business leaders?
“Citizenville” by Gavin Newsom. This book has many innovative, interesting and practical ideas and initiatives, which can be easily replicated across many cities of the world.
6. How do you make time for ongoing learning in your busy schedule?
I don’t dedicate a specific time for learning. Everything is learning. It’s a state of mind and a full-time activity. I cannot not be a student.
7. What are three insights you would like to share?
- The world truly has become small. Increasingly, people across borders are connecting with one another in an unprecedented manner. The problem one faces in his country might be similar to problems faced in another country, especially when it comes to women’s issues, family, lifestyle, culture, etc. Problems today can be solved through the digital world by almost anybody on the planet who has the capability and inclination, therefore, people of the world are increasingly relying on each other. It is now evident that the digital world is a reality and either you embrace it and take off and fly to a better future or else the possibility of falling off the cliff is very real. The digital divide will increase substantially if proper steps are not taken by the government. The global equations of the world will drastically change.
- Change is constant. We can help deliver change by collaborating with each other, learning from the best and sharing.
- Women must play a significant role in helping build better societies. This is being demonstrated in every field of life when they receive more opportunities.