Over the course of its five years of operations, Noida-based SHEROES has aimed to become synonymous with ‘the online career destination for women from all walks of life.’ It aggressively promotes gender equality and wants to enable women to navigate the career maze instead of the career leader. As stated by Sairee Chahal, co-founder, SHEROES, ‘the Women at Work’ story is very incomplete and she wanted to do something about it.
In an earlier interaction with Inc42, Sairee talks about the reason why she was compelled to start SHEROES. “The thing that compelled me the most was that we haven’t built scalable products in this space. A lot of work has been done but at a very basic level and somehow the coolness of tech had not crept into building products that will really benefit women. We are in India and broken in many ways, especially, in the gender disparity numbers.”
SHEROES has organised a pan-India event called Mia SHEROES Summit. The event is in keeping with this theme of enabling women to find work, stay at work, and address the various issues faced by the female gender. SHEROES even has a special grievance cell for those facing harassment at work.
“Mia SHEROES Summit is a space for the SHEROES community of women (one million and counting) from all age groups, economic stratas and vocations to come, together, listen to inspiring speakers, engage around conversations related to the #FutureOfWork in which they have a key stake, to network, and understand how they can act on their aspirations, no matter at what stage of life they are at, or what limitations hold them back,” said an official spokesperson, responding to an Inc42 query.
The Mia SHEROES Summit: Making Working Women Future-Ready
The Summit, which kicked off in Delhi today will highlight the ‘future of work’ for Indian women in the present business scenario. From AI taking over jobs, to businesses giving returning mums’ a welcome boost in the second innings of their career, the summit looks to answer future-ready questions in a day-long event. It also aims to mine the gender pay gap and whether women are ready to take on traditional male-dominated business domains through panel discussions, TED-style talks and more.
Discussions and speeches will be centred around relevant themes including best workplace practices, inspirational journeys of speakers such as Vijay Shekhar Sharma (founder and CEO at Paytm) and Cindy Gallop (co-founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn), socially conscious artists Gul Panag and more. Hot-button topics such as diversity and inclusion of women in tech will also be spoken about.
The spokesperson elaborated on the agenda of a panel called BestAtWork. “The BestAtWork panel is an exploration of how modern-day work ecosystems must realign their thinking and practices to tap into the full force of India’s working women population – from the stay-at-home mum and the corporate woman to entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, and millennial and Gen Z women.”
The summit will further continue on to other key Indian cities including Mumbai (July 15), Bengaluru (July 29), Kolkata (August 5), and Chennai (August 19).
The State Of Women In The Workplace: A Relevant Conversation For Women Entrepreneurs
Women and the workplace have always been a thorny issue. From the style of dressing to what constitutes sexual harassment, to being a women entrepreneur – a role traditionally associated with men – the definitions of what a woman can and cannot do has evolved over the years. With the serious push towards Digital India that the Indian government is making, women, especially in Tier II and beyond, have finally been able to achieve breadwinner status too – by starting up small businesses online.
Consider this- 2 Mn online women resellers have registered gross sales of $9 Bn, according to a Zinnov report. These small business owners are all homemakers. The report further goes on to state that these women will likely grab 5.4% of the total ecommerce pie, which is worth a potential $220 Bn by 2025.
Technology and the digital implosion (Internet penetration through affordable data plans, the advent of smartphones and tech awareness) has made these heartening numbers possible. Women are taking on the mantle of entrepreneur, job-maker, and executive with more and more confidence. Businesses too are making their workplace more women-friendly by allowing greater leeway during maternity leave, period awareness etc.
But, there is another side to this story. In recent times, global companies like Uber, the poster boy for successful startups has been alleged to have a misogynistic and old school boys’ club culture. At the same time, global industry stalwarts like Dave McClure and Justin Caldbeck have been called out for sexually harassing women in the workplace. Not only this, in India too, a score of issues abound for women in the workplace: be it sexual harassment in startups such as The Viral Fever, ScoopWhoop, lack of diversity in tech-specific leadership roles and more.
In times past, such matters were considered sensitive and not politically-correct were brushed under the carpet. Digital awareness has created a forum where women can come forward and discuss the implications of these issues. They can find ways to combat them and find a supportive community of like-minded individuals to help them.
The summit attempts to bring this conversation into the mainstream. It aims to create a safe and empowering space for women to share, discuss, and extrapolate on otherwise not-spoken-about issues. “Our aim is that every woman who attends, goes away with the will to persevere in the pursuit of her goals, but over and above that, we want to encourage women to re-imagine the workplace to be gender-equal and to move away from the old guard of doing things in one specific way,” added the spokesperson.
Just last month, The Angel Summit had attempted to talk about issues such as creating the women leaders of tomorrow and the kinds of issues women entrepreneurs, in particular, face when it comes to dealing with male investors. This summit and Angel Summit are but stepping stones towards creating a large-scale and inclusive conversation about the role of women: in the workplace, in boardrooms, in businesses and more.
Interested participants can register here for the Mumbai Mia Sheroes Summit, which takes place on July 15, 2017.