Eleven Indian Women Win Women Icon Award

Eleven Indian women are among the 25 Asian ladies who have won the Women Icons award in Singapore for dedicating their lives to social work.

Vandana Sharma, who served for a decade in the Indian Armed Forces, broke several stereotypes around Women in Uniform and ventured into the corporate world.

Speaking after the awards, Sharma said she mentors a lot of young start-up founders on building effective organisations.

The aim is to drive a more productive environment and culture within constraint environments at startups, said Sharma, who is currently the chief people officer at HolidayIQ and comes from a family of officers in the Indian Armed Forces.

Keeping with her Women Empowerment campaign is Revathi Siddharthe Roy, who holds a Masters in Economics degree but drove taxi for 10 months in Mumbai to support her family after her husband died in 2007.

Roy now runs a training school, Zaffiro Learning, for women to learn to ride two-wheelers and serve as “last mile” delivery person for e-commerce companies.

Other winners were: Dr Aparna Hegde of ARMMAN, Deepshikha Kumar of SpeakIn, Kanika Gupta Shori of Square Global, Minal DRozario of Ideosphere, Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan of PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust, Saloni Mardia Kothari of Mtlexs Online, Sonia Kulkarni of Ketchum Sampark PR, and Swati Nathani of Team Pumpkin.

Entrepreneurship program for women from IIM Bangalore

In an effort to boost women entrepreneurship in India, NSRCEL is running several programs for experienced women entrepreneurs who do not have a formal training in entrepreneurship. These programs are going for the last ten years and have benefitted several women in honing their entreprenerial skills. 

IIM has announced a brand new program for women who desire to get into entrepreneurship but do not have any idea of how management and entrepreneurship works. 

“The programme will be conducted in three stages, designed to develop both entrepreneurial as well as managerial skillsets. By leveraging social media, the Bschool hopes to get on board an initial 1,000 women for a five-week MOOC (massive open online course) to help them understand various aspects of entrepreneurship, including idea identification and valuation. The top 50 from the online course will come for a three-week classroom interaction that includes sessions for developing the business id .. 

Women will present their business ideas in the final stage where a selection panel will identify 10 ideas. These women would be offered incubation facility at NSRCEL, along with a monthly fellowship of Rs 40,000 for 12 months. Especially for the woman cohort, NSRCEL will be conducting a number of capability building workshops, mini demo days along with mentoring sessions. Besides regular NSRCEL mentors, Goldman Sachs’ senior leaders will also mentor and share their insights with the participants.”

This is a great program that addresses a big gap in our educational system. Kudos to IIM Bangalore for launching this. 

Work life balance (or the lack of it)

In an upscale lifestyle boutique in south Mumbai, the concept of work-life balance is a bit of a joke.

“So much so that when a friend who works there announced to her colleagues that I was looking for someone to interview for this story, ideally someone who felt that their work-life balance had been compromised, the entire group burst out laughing. That’s because they all had horror stories to share, stories of working overtime for no extra pay or giving up their days off with little to no notice at all.

“I would say it is very difficult to have work-life balance working in retail… there’s probably no work-life balance at all,” my friend, who is 25 and has worked at the store for around nine months, said. She asked to remain anonymous to protect her job.”

In India, where the work-life balance is a crucial issue despite the changing attitudes of men towards housework, this is a sad news. The traditional cooking methods, the lack of proper childcare facilities, longer and more stressful commutes put a lot of stress on families where both the partners work.

“Indeed, five of India’s biggest cities —Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi—rank extremely low when it comes to work-life balance, according to a recent study of 100 cities around the world by the Amsterdam-based consultancy Arcadis. While Bengaluru, Chennai, and Kolkata ranked in the 70s, Mumbai was at number 86 and New Delhi at 87.”

This is indeed a bigger problem in the larger cities where all the problems listed are more severe. The stress that just surviving in those cities puts on families is tremendous and striking a work-life balance is crucial. It is high time we start thinking about this.

‘She Walks, She Leads’, a book chronicling lives of inspirational Indian women

This book is a tribute to all the women in India that achieved success despite several obstacles in their path. The author Gunjan Jain says “I did not write the book because I wanted to be an author. I became an author because I was compelled to write this book,” And yes indeed, the subject is very compelling. How in a male dominated society reeling under traditional prejudices, these women crafted their path and busted the usual misconceptions about what women should and can do.

From Sudha, then not Murthy,shooting off an acidic missive to JRD Tata, telling him to desist from advertising jobs with ‘not for ladies’ tag, to Priyanka Chopra saving ’45 minutes’ of her day for family, a book chronicles myriad aspects of India’s women achievers.

Whittling down from an initial selection of 200 names, Jain finally zeroed on to 24 women, but it is an eclectic mix. Narrating the enduring tales of Olympic medalist Mary Kom, Actress Kareena Kapoor Khan, MD Biocon Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Media Baron Shobana Bhartia and others, the book invites the reader to become a part of the ongoing conversation about women in India.

This book may inspire several other women who want to become “Samradnis” of their own field.

You can buy the book here.

To conclude “They have organised their lives and routines in a manner that allows them to pursue their goals and yet manage to strike the necessary work-life balance. They do not indulge in self-pity and instead think positive and look for solutions,” said Jain.

Read the original article here.

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