The W Suite | Indian men get approx 30% more pay than women: Tina Garg

Diversity in the workforce has become a necessity today, and more so in the leadership positions. It can’t be denied that women bring a high level of creativity and empathy while solving problems and handling crises. Women leaders bring to the table a different level of dexterity. 

AdGully’s ‘The W-Suite’ series features interactions with influential women leaders in India, who share some deep insights on what being a woman leader means in India’s business landscape, the mantras to succeed, achieving work-life balance, pay parity and much more. 

Tina Garg is the Founder and CEO of Pink Lemonade, a full-service, Integrated Marketing & Communications agency headquartered in Bangalore, India. Pink Lemonade delivers services in the areas of Content, Design, Web, Video, and Digital. 

As CEO, Garg is the firm’s key strategist and planner, working with CXO-level and senior leaders across client organisations to develop effective market strategies and communication. 

How would you define today’s woman leader?
I certainly think today’s woman leader is well informed and well travelled,  besides being someone who handles a number of things in her life – home, work, growth of herself and her team, hobbies, fitness, finance, etc. And if someone is not all of this, I think they should look at how they are managing their time because a smart leader of today can certainly make time for all this. 

If you don’t learn, you will become irrelevant very soon, if you don’t make time for networking inside or outside of the organisation, there’s no personal branding. Making time for things which are a priority is not an option for a woman leader. 

What are the foremost attributes that women leaders in today’s business ecosystem must possess?
I am a firm believer in leading with empathy and love. So that’s something I would certainly advocate. HBR will also qualify that some of the most remarkable examples of leadership are seen in such an environment. 

Apart from this, it is a must to be emotionally secure, socially aware, curious, be a good conversationalist and it is imperative to build skills in areas like counseling a team, being a good listener, time management, and strategic thinking. 

While most of these seem like a dhobi list, what one does not realise is that these are inherent and underlying in most people who have reached a position of leadership. They may be dormant due to some situational factors, so they must be consciously sought out and honed. 

Over and above this is the mindspace for meditation and exercise, which is non-negotiable in my book. 

Despite the qualifications, aptitude and experience, why do you think we don’t see the expected number of women business leaders, especially when it comes to boardroom decision-making?
To my mind there are two reasons for this:

  • One is obvious — life stages which are not well planned set you back. Some adversities can also derail one’s growth and set you back. Traditionally, caring for the elderly, children’s education, pregnancies are such stages for which women take a break and once they drop out, the comeback doesn’t lure as much unless a life situation calls for it.
  • Secondly, I think women are not as focused as men when it comes to identifying what the traits and skills needed for growth are. We are comfortable letting someone else take the call when it comes to finances, decision-making, difficult choices, speaking up, and so on. If we constantly sideline our own selves, how will we find a seat at the board room table? How will we find sponsors who will be willing to bet on our skills and abilities to lead? 

What more do Indian corporates need to do to encourage and groom women leaders?
I think women leaders need opportunities to grow and fail. An organisation must invest in their learning and development internally and via external mentoring and coaching. Once their skills have been enhanced they must be trusted to deliver. And more often than not, I have seen those we trust deliver. 

Another thing that organisations can do is to let their women employees represent them at various forums – as mentors, leaders, speakers. When you allow them to take the onus, they deliver. Of course, the brand messaging and statutories must be taken care of. 

According to you, what are the Dos and Don’ts for today’s women to break through the glass ceiling?
Be a true contributor. Play at a level playing field. Don’t be willing to have exceptions made for you. When you are true contributor at work, there’s only a very thin glass ceiling which will crack in no time. 

Don’t be willing to pander to male colleagues because you think they will take you ahead. Win respect on your work and not on your ability to be a hanger-on in a team. 

How acute is the gender pay gap issue in India today? What needs to be done to address this in an effective manner?
Despite the same qualifications, Indian men get approximately 30 per cent more pay than women. 

Maybe this will only change when more women rise to the decision-making tables and when women continue to prove themselves on merit, which is why a woman should stay in the game for longer. Dropping out is detrimental, not just to one’s own career but also to the ecosystem at large. Also, it would help if equal pay for equal qualifications was made part of company policies.         

Do you think the leadership effectiveness of women is higher than men? Why?
Human leadership is the key in today’s world and I think women rule that space (in fact, the entire leadership team at Pink Lemonade are all women!) They are quick to feel empathy and relate to another’s need. However, they also know how to bring in the right level of firmness needed to deliver on work. Given our social milieu, we still do a lot more in one day than I see men do (this, of course, has its exceptions), and this makes women highly efficient multi-taskers. 

What are the five most effective lessons that you have learned as a woman leader?

  1. Emotional well-being is as critical as intellectual and physical well-being. Invest in that.
  2. Your organisation will not grow unless you do. Plan for that.
  3. Growth is not always related to numbers – look for quality of output, new areas of work, etc., as validations too.
  4. Innovation is key to survival – for example, Pink Lemonade has moved into digital, tech and production, from being just creative, years ago.
  5. Your growth is linked to your people’s growth – work towards building better performers and leaders from within.

How challenging has it been for you to maintain a balance between career goals and family responsibilities? What is your mantra to maintain that balance?
It’s not been heavily challenging, if I leave out the huge burden of guilt. And the reason is only because my husband, who is an entrepreneur, too, decided to set up a home office. Therefore, with one parental unit there, things were not as chaotic – and this, to me, is the mantra for success – I don’t believe men or women can do it all by themselves, they have to lean on each other to make a good holistic support system. When this collective unit is broken, is when one starts to lean on other systems around them. 

How prevalent are the instances of sexual harassment in work places in India? What should the industry collectively do to tackle such a serious issue?
There is certainly more sensitivity around this now and women are beginning to speak up on instances of harassment – which do exist unfortunately. Sensitising organisations and bringing the wrong-doers to justice is the key. I also think that organisations tend to blacklist the women who file complaints, so there must be a conscious effort to mandatorily bring back such courageous women. 

Policies and practices at workplaces to de-risk women in various situations is another one. For example, safe cabs for late hours, a POSH policy and strict adherence to the same are a few things we have incorporated at Pink Lemonade.


News in the domain of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Business of Entertainment