#SheLeads: 'I Developed Interest In Politics Very Early & Today I Serve Society On Ground'
Harshitha Venkatesh Reddy is an alumnus of US State Department Legislative Fellow Exchange 2018.
The best things happen in life in the most unexpected ways. My journey has been no different.
Unplanned and unexpected entry in a new sector changed my life and the direction in which I planned to serve society.
Born and brought up in Bengaluru, I had the advantages and disadvantages of city life. I come from a family that ensures that women get educated but do not think that working and being independent is necessary. Unconditional love does not always mean unconditional support for professional goals/achievements.
I started my journey in the social development space when I realized that I can serve my society better on the ground than from a laboratory. With that initial bit of freedom, I was able to explore so much in my city in various lenses that I never got to see owing to the protective life I had led for the first 20 years.
A senior from college helped me open my eyes to all that can be done in the development sector through his career.
I developed an interest in politics very early on in life, I would follow politics however much I could understand or grasp at the age of 12-13. This came in handy for me to get employed at political consultancy without much training in that field.
A very close friend of mine pushed me to take up a job in political consulting when my heart was set on social development. That push was the first step to make me realize that I had a flair for social development through politics.
After all, our politicians and elected representatives hold the highest place for social and societal service.
I got endless opportunities to work on diverse projects and build my skills from scratch.
My journey with Bengaluru Political Action Committee (B.PAC) started with this same notion and passion. I have had the privilege of working alongside great people, and I have been constantly inspired by the strong women that are at the forefront of leading this organization and working alongside me.
I had never experienced what it means to know women who never at any point had anything but faith in my skills and my potential.
My role model, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was someone I was in awe of from early on but I started to know more about her when I studied Biotechnology and knew all about Biocon, aspiring to work there one day.
As luck would have it, the missed opportunity of working in the biotechnology sector made it up at B.PAC. She is an inspiration, her kind words always make me aspire to do more for Bangalore in my own way.
Our CEO at B.PAC, Ms. Revathy Ashok, is a constant reminder for me that as long as you set your mind to do something with the right intention, nothing can stop you. Ms. Mimi Parthasarthy always pushes me to strive for better and stay strong no matter what the situation might be.
I work on the B.Engaged Program -- participatory democracy program vertical at B.PAC. It aims at engaging with the elected representatives, government institutions, and citizen groups to provide a platform in order to promote good governance practices that further enhance the economic, political, social, and environmental factors of our city.
The vision of this programme is to enhance the quality of life of the citizens by advancing good governance practices like accountability, transparency, efficiency and equity among the representatives of our city which will eventually lead to the goal of 'Participatory Democracy', ensuring the engagement of all the stakeholders
Bengaluru has so many women leading in the forefront. B.PAC's B.CLIP program has women leaders from all walks of life. They keep the hunger to do better and be better alive in me.
The many strong women leaders from various countries I have met through the fellowship programme are working to make the lives of their citizens better. Women leading other women is the one of the most amazing ways to ensure we make equality more accessible.
My dream is to see more women in positions of power, leading the change from elected offices that can ensure the spirit of democracy and governance is upheld.
The statistics on the number of women representatives are depressing, but I see this change happening at the grassroots, and in the coming years, the playing is definitely going to be more equal.
May our tribe grow and affect change at all levels.
Note: This series #SheLeads is in collaboration with the US Consulate General Chennai as a commemoration of Women's Equality Day on August 26.