Why “Leaning In & Lifting Up” is more important now than ever?

Lean In India sensed the need for more support for women and launched first-of-its-kind online mentoring program “Leaning In & Lifting Up."


It is well established by now that the coronavirus pandemic is not gender neutral. Instead, it is further worsening the deep-rooted gender gap in our cultures. Lockdowns across countries have revealed two major, rather disturbing trends. First – economies are shrinking, and job losses are widening, but the numbers are disproportionality higher for women. Second – there is heavier burden of housework, homeschooling and caregiving on women than men. Sherly Sandberg, Founder of LeanIn.Org calls it as “Double-Double Shift”. According to a recent LeanIn.Org and SurveyMoney findings - women with full-time jobs, a partner, and children are spending a combined 71 hours per week ─ 20 hours more than men. This has resulted in women maxing and burning out.

If these recent trends are any indication, this deepest social and economic recession of our lifetimes could severely hurt women’s prospects for years to come. Clearly, women need more support than ever.

Several progressive organizations are looking at ways to help women navigate through this coronavirus era. One such example is Lean In India. Lean In India is the official national chapter for LeanIn.Org in India. The team sensed the need for more support and launched first-of-its-kind online mentoring program “Leaning In & Lifting Up”. The program aims to connect women from India’s smaller towns to mentors from Tier 1 cities. These mentors are leading c-suite executives in their fields and have committed to dedicate time for online mentoring sessions spread across a period of twelve months.

According to Aanchal Makkar, Lean In India Leader - “We always felt that there was a need to provide formal mentoring to women from Tier 2 cities of India. With this pandemic and the increasing burden on women due to “double-double shift”, the need has further increased. Through this one-on-one program, we aim to provide a sounding-board for these women to enable better career discussions as well as support for their emotional well-being, when needed”.

The experience thus far has been very positive as the program has onboarded 6 women from different parts of the country. Per Shruti Bhatia, Program Lead for Leaning In and Lifting Up “This has been one of the most self-fulfilling programs for us at Lean In India. Our aim is to on-board 30 such women over the period of next 12-16 months. This would be a rolling-over program from the date of the first mentor-mentee meeting. To ensure a seamless experience, we, at Lean In India undertake a detailed mentor mentee competency assessment to ensure the right alignment”.

One of the mentees, Apoorva Joshi is an Industrial and Production engineer with a leading manufacturing firm from Mysore. As Apurva puts it – “I have been connected to a mentor who is a very senior leader from the industry. While she is also from a small town of India, but her career experience expands globally. Our first few meetings have been very effective where she guided me on various issues and provided enriching perspectives that I lacked. I must say that LeanIn India is doing some impactful work around women!”

Mentor Speaks:

“Very excited about this program as I get to contribute my part. I am confident that it will also help me enrich myself while working with these enterprising women! Vipin Gupta, India CEO of a global commodity trading firm.

“Big heartfelt thanks to Lean In India for starting this program during these tough times. It’s very satisfying to contribute when there is strong need to focus and help women around us”. - Sumit Rohatgi, CFO of a leading travel technology company.

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