Vidushi Garg: ‘The youngest woman chancellor of a university’ in Asia’
WOMAN OF POWER: AN EDUCATION LEADER WHO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Since the last decade the world has witnessed that women are becoming toppers in each section of society. It is also fact that the number of women at top managements is increasing with a great rate. As compare to global average (24%), women comprise about 31percent of senior management positions in India. This data is fair enough to make us clear about efforts of women, but in the overall workforce, it lets our head down when India is measured as one of the countries with less number of higher leadership in higher education. Across the vast majority of countries women are a significant minority in senior academic positions. Among very few names, The CEO Magazine has recognized a leader in the field who has old head on young shoulders. The lady’s instant grasp, depth of knowledge, and maturity have always amazed us. This story via an interview is focused at ‘Youngest Woman Chancellor of a University’ in Asia. Ms. Vidushi Garg, Chancellor of Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University, sets a new parameter for leadership in the field of education which could be a benchmark for not only women but men also.
Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University, is dedicated to create women empowered society by putting its efforts to illuminate the minds of students. The Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University, Jaipur has been established and incorporated under the Act 17 of 2008 passed by Rajasthan State Legislature and notified by the Government of Rajasthan through its official Gazette Notification No. F.2 (23) Vidhi 2/2008 dated April 21, 2008. Its Chancellor Ms. Vidushi Garg is the ‘Youngest Woman Chancellor of a University’ in Asia.
Prior to its inception no such institute existed, as it takes immense courage and investment to establish such an institute. It also involves high risk to establish a Women’s University in technical and unconventional fields. It is also amazing that Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University is the only private Women’s University among 14 Women’s Universities in India. Ms. Vidushi is handling administrative and academic activities of the University and taking care of more than 2500 students studying and residing in University per year.
Abhishek Dubey – Senior Editor (The CEO Magazine), in the lounge with Ms. Vidushi Garg
What was your dream as a business lady?
As a woman, it was hard to stand back and just watch women not strive for greatness. My dream was to encourage and facilitate women to showcase their talents, skills, experiences and energies across sectors and verticals of the economy, for a truly inclusive economic growth trajectory. And for this education was the only weapon. The educated women are empowered to exercise their civil, social, political and economic rights. This will help improve the overall condition of women in the society. We can hope for better days while all women of our country will be enlightened and educated. JVWU not just aims of women empowered society, it also provides an opportunity to women employees to lead and excel, as both academic and administrative aspects decision lies in the hands of a women. Now, University is aiming to offer all the programs under one umbrella for female candidates so that we can become Asia’s first private Women’ University to offer all the programs. We are in the process to start modern medical programs like MBBS, BDS and Veterinary Science.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
One of the greatest accomplishments till date is that our students are showing their talents, skills and experiences across sectors and verticals of the economy and setting an example for the society. At JVWU most of the key positions are hold by women and they are the decision makers. This breaks the stereotype thinking of the society and establishes their position in their families also. They are empowered to fend off domestic violence also as education leads to higher social standing, more independence, and greater autonomy in women’s lives and in the household.
Have you ever failed in your initiatives? What have you learnt from your failures?
Due to the orthodox mindset of the society and family pressure regarding the marriage of the girl, University is getting low enrollments and high dropout ratio in integrated courses as well as professional courses. This is our greatest failure. Due to long span of time of integrated courses, the dropout rate is increasing. To reduce the dropout rate we have planned to help the students of long duration courses to place and success so that they can become example for other girls and they do not drop their course in between.
What are your ideals?
A woman in Indian society has been a victim of humiliation, torture and exploitation. There are many episodes of rape, murder, dowry, burning, wife beating and discrimination in society. Men predominant the Indian society, hence women are a victim of male domination in the respective sphere of life; especially in economic life, over decision making on resources, on the utilization of her earnings and her body. The male dominated society where women are often seen as subordinate & inferior to men and the stereotype views of society for female education were my inspirations. Women belong to kitchen and men belong to earn money- this kind of thinking was my ideal. I always dreamt to do something for the community and especially for the women to empower them, to educate them and help them to achieve their place in the society.
How many hours a day you work on an average?
I work round the clock for the University as I am the single key officer who is responsible for education and safety of the students. I am whole heartedly dedicated to my students and always work for the betterment of the University physically or mentally.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made?
The first and foremost priority of this University is women empowerment along with community development. This is evident from the fact that University is managed by women administrators at all levels. Keeping in view the vision and mission of the University we not only aims of women empowered society but also provides an opportunity to women employees to lead and excel, as both academic and administrative aspects decision lies in the hands of a women. More than 80% of the positions are handled by women administrators very efficiently. All the other academics and administrative domains are also headed and managed efficiently by women administrators since inception. This has proved be to one of the best decision we’ve ever made.
What stimulated your ideas to start a new business venture or to bring significant changes in an existing business/ at work place?
Women form about half of the population of the country, but their situation has been grim. They have been deliberately denied the opportunities for growth in the name of socio-cultural practices. Women are also suffered from the denial of freedom even in their homes and domination, an unequal and inferior status. Social institutions have a deep bearing on the role and status of women.
Women do not belong in the kitchen. Men do not belong in the business world making all of the money. Women are quite capable of being just as successful as men when given the chance outside of the house. Women are capable of doing more than you think. Women could be more successful than men.
When I got a chance to start a venture, a thorough environmental scanning was done and it was found that all the government policies for women empowerment were blank words and no one was literally interested for the upliftment of this section of society. Due to heavy investment and unconventional field there was no private University catering to women that time and till now too. So we thought to tap the opportunity to establish a Women’s University and provide best of education in a safe and secure environment.
What effective strategies you have implemented/ initiatives you have taken to achieve success?
The only strategy we have implemented to achieve success is hard work and dedication. Our committed management and team have proved to be our greatest strength to achieve our goals and success.
How do you define success? What is your take on the ways to achieve long term success?
Some people find that helping people brings them the most joy, and therefore success looks like a life given to others. Some realize that building a business or product brings them happiness. Some prefer isolation and others prefer constant activity.
The simple yet profound truth is that what makes me happy doesn’t make someone else happy, and vice versa. My vision of success probably looks nothing like yours, and that’s how it should be.
Success is both a goal and a journey. When we reach certain milestones that is an element of success. But we don’t stop there. We push higher and harder, striving for more and to bet better. And that is actual success is. My idea of success is not to stop and go miles and miles to achieve the vision and mission of the University.
To achieve long term success we focus on:
- Skilled, educated and open minded professionals
- Providing growing environment to our students and teachers
- Enable our professionals and students to prove themselves as role model to the society.
Please tell us about your future plans.
We have offered programs in almost all the disciplines like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Yoga & Naturopathy, physiotherapy, Medical Lab Technology, Optometry, Radiation Technology, Pharmacy, Arts & Humanities, Education, Journalism, Food & Bio Tech, Law, Engineering, Science, Commerce, Management and Poly technique Diploma Education. We are planning to start modern medicine programs like MBBS, BDS and Veterinary Science, so that we can become Asia’s first private women’s University to provide all the courses under one umbrella.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
The women icons at leading positions are our inspiration. We want to see all my students achieve that success and present a role model for this society. We want to provide skilled, educated and disciplined candidates for the positions which are not offered or open for women.
Whom do you attribute your success to?
I would like to attribute the success to all the parents and their family members who have faith in us and who allow their girls to live their dreams and opt for professional education. We are thankful to those parents who stand against their own society who believes that women are only for taking care of the home.
Do you think your personal life is affected by your professional life? How?
No! Not at all! My personal life does not get affected by the professional life. I don’t have high expectations from my personal life as well as professional life. I am maintaining work-life balance to the maximum extent and facing no problems in managing both the fields.
What do you think is the biggest challenge to female leadership?
A female has to encounter more resistance than a male at workplace. Her biggest challenges are:
- To prove her capabilities to the world where most of the people are against her.
- To establish herself and live her dreams.
- Defying social expectations