The WIBF team were delighted to hear that Neeta Mundra, WIBF’s Head of Senior Business Leaders Community was awarded an Exceptional Women of Excellence Award by The Women Economic Forum.
The Women Economic Forum (WEF) is an international platform enabling women and leaders from all walks of life worldwide with 1,50,000 members and inspiring women across 150 countries. The goal to empowering women’s entrepreneurship, leadership and enhance personal influence through networking across borders while being inspired by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, authors, thought leaders and celebrities.
WEF have a strong #SheforShe spirit, with outreach toward #SheforHe and #HeforShe. It is a movement of Gender Equality without Gender Divisiveness. WEF curates’ conversations, connections, community and collaborations toward our greater influence and impact through relentless inspiration and initiatives. It conducts editions globally encouraging local ALL chapters and widening networks to gather for peer exchange and networking enabling “Business Beyond Borders” in a spirit of support and sisterhood.
Neeta is a Banking and Financial Services technologist. Currently, Neeta works with Salesforce, however over the years, she has performed various roles ranging from building platforms, delivering large-scale transformation programs to top banks and insurance companies, outsourcing/offshoring, management consulting to heading regions. She has managed P&L to build successful, profitable and scalable business units and led strategic mergers & acquisitions.
Neeta is on the board of Healing Clouds, Citizen Shareholders, Young Women’s Trust (UK), on the committee of Women in Banking and Finance (Heading the Senior Business Leaders program), and a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation.
Last week Neeta travelled to India to receive her award from WEF. She told us “I spoke about the lesser known looming crisis of pensions due to gender pay gap. Per the World Economic Forum report, it will take 215 years to completely remove disparity around the world. My talk primarily focussed on raising awareness and a call for action to bring a change, so we don’t have to wait for 215 years.”
We caught up with Neeta to find out more about the award and her work.
Can you tell us more about why you received the award?
NM: I was nominated by my mentee, primarily for 3 things:
Firstly, for shining the light on gender disparity and its impact on economic growth. I often speak about the World Economic Forum report - that it will take 215 years to completely remove gender disparity around the world, if things were to continue as-is. The impact of gender pay gap is often thought of as the difference in wages whereas the impact of this much deeper and long lasting. The life expectancy of women is higher than men, they have to manage with less (due to gender pay gap and at times due to working for lesser years for family reasons) and for a longer time which leads to higher probability for women to live in impoverished state in their latter years.
However, this can change and must change faster, if we bring in more awareness, employers provide equal opportunities, equal pay, provide more education on the importance of the savings. Also, pension providers need to explore that women need different products with better saving options.
Secondly, I’m concerned about the lack of investments for women entrepreneurs- While we have been speaking about this and there are a lot of shocking stats on this (the Rose report is not only an eye opener, but for me personally an inspiration/calling to drive the change), I think we all need to help in drive a change. After engineering the exit of a company, I started investing in start-ups and I am biased toward women led businesses. I often coach entrepreneurs (especially women) on their business plans, pitches, investment and scale up journeys.
Finally, Mentoring and sponsoring- I am a mentor at Cherie Blair Foundation and Women in Banking and Finance and often micro-sponsor industry leaders.
What should companies be doing now to prevent the pension crisis?
NM: Life expectancy, gender pay gap, the different needs for men vs women in old age are some of the key issues that impact the pension crisis. Women live longer than men, often take breaks ( to take care of families) hence are left with much lesser pot which has to last them for longer life leading to impoverished conditions.
Companies/Corporates and government need to be mindful of these issues and understand the need to reduce/eradicate the gender gap. Pension funds need to understand the need to design different products for women to meet their needs.
Is there anything individuals can do?
NM: Yes. Most definitely. As per the World Economic Forum report published in 2017, it will take 217 years to completely remove gender bias. We as individuals, need to influence and sponsor to shine the light, build awareness.
Can you tell us about the awards ceremony?
NM: The awards ceremony was in India and attended by over 500 people who travelled from various parts of the world. The highlight for me for meeting Lt Commander Swathi, who led a team of 6 women who circum-navigated the world (the only all-women team who has done this so far) - it was very inspirational to hear her story and journey. She reiterated the key points on the importance of believing in yourself, being tenacious and courage.
How do you feel about winning the award and what’s next for you?
NM: I am very humbled and proud. This is for all of us. The work and focus needs to continue, there are many more mountains to climb and goals to conquer.
How did you get involved with WIBF?
NM: WIBF is a phenomenal organisation focussed on bringing women in banking and finance together. The combination of core values, enabling, empowering women at all career stages clubbed with thought leadership and shining light on topics that matter makes it a great organisation. My work at WIBF is leading a team of Senior Business Leaders to build more thought leadership and industry peer sponsoring.