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Women Entrepreneurs To The Fore
The road to success is not always smooth as there are mountains to be scaled and difficult conversations to be had. Despite the challenges, women entrepreneurs of today are able to successfully juggle between employees, clients and family
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Women leaders of today are doing reasonably well compared to their male counterparts with respect to the salaries they receive and positions they hold. As per the World Bank reports, women comprise 20.8 per cent of the workforce in India. Further, less than 10 of the over 50 unicorns in India have women as their co-founders and founders. While a lot is left to be achieved, India is at a good place from where we can take the story of gender inclusion ahead. With the societal mindset towards working women changing, systematic changes are expected sooner than later.
To acknowledge the contribution of women in the entrepreneurial space, BW Businessworld organises an annual summit titled ‘Women Entrepreneurship Summit & Awards’, where we celebrate women achievers across multiple fields and their achievements. Over the years, this has been a platform where we discuss the challenges women have faced, the stereotypical societal expectations from women, as well as the opportunities available today which did not exist earlier. This year saw the participation of women who all shared their struggles, failures and success stories.
Talking about the dual pressure women are facing in the work-from-home situation of managing the domestic and professional work, renowned lawyer Zia Mody, Founder and Managing Partner at AZB & Partners, shared the experience of women whom she has worked with: “There WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS TO THE FORE The road to success is not always smooth as there are mountains to be scaled and difficult conversations to be had. Despite the challenges, women entrepreneurs of today are able to successfully juggle between employees, clients and family By Urvi Shrivastav 94 | B W BUSINESSWORLD | 21 May - 04 June 2021 Photograph: Shutterstock are still some women I am anxious about - who may say ‘I am burnt out’ - and it is very difficult to give them a hug during the Covid and tell them it will pass. The system they have settled down with mentally gets them through this period.” This is not an uncommon story during the pandemic as reiterated by other women leaders (in one of the panel discussions) and also acknowledged the importance of domestic support from husband and inlaws. However, there is always a silver lining to any difficult situation. In this light, Mody further acknowledged, ”We need a young woman with a dream and who is willing to give her all along with people who believe in her because that is where the funding will come from.”
However, it is possible to achieve what one wants if one is driven and focused enough in the right direction. Talking about disrupting the sector-specific glass ceiling, Ruchi Deepak, Co-Founder, Acko Insurance said, “Neither me nor my Co-Founder Varun are from technical backgrounds; he did his advertising from MICA, I was in LSR and did law after that. When we started ACKO in 2015, the fact that we were not from a technology background was not a blocker for us. The important thing is to know your domain.”
Today, women entrepreneurs lead their teams towards efficiency while exhibiting resilience and are no less than their male counterparts. This is especially true for the present day-and-age given what we have been through in the last one year. The adaptability of companies and the flexibility shown by the women founders has been exemplary across all fields. For instance, Tanuja Gomes, Co-Founder, Furtados School of Music talked about the work they had to put in when a sudden transition was required from offline to online space, “In March, April, and May I was working crazy hours, making my teamwork crazy hours. We did not sleep till we went live.” The leaders agree that necessity is the mother of innovation and optimisation was one of the core talents needed to make a drastic shift.
The road to success is not always smooth as there are mountains to be scaled and difficult conversations to be had. These conversations are not just limited to gender but also extend to general business issues like taking pay-cuts or tough negotiations with clients. The woman entrepreneur of today is able to successfully juggle employee welfare, client requirement and business sustainability.
Talking about the nature of such discussions, Shreya Prakash, Co-Founder, FlexiBees stated, “There are bound to be difficult conversations because there are bound to be different perspectives, especially for entrepreneurs because they are going from zero to one and without any playbook.” The interactions with the entrepreneurs making a dent in their own fields were not just insightful for the audience but for all the other women leaders of the future