International Women’s Day 2021: Celebrating women who overcame challenges, despite the pandemic

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Sheatwork takes time out on International Womén’s Day, to salute the progress made by women entrepreneurs during the pandemic; an inspiring picture has emerged – how they overcame challenges, played exemplary roles and survived!

Women are an integral part of our society – we know that. And, we have seen today that they are a force to reckon with – at all ends of the life’s journey.

 During tough times and easy times – at every level, they have reached out, matching steps with men. During the pandemic too, they have proved their mettle! Shaping recovery from the pandemic.

Women in business have pulled all stops out to help our country survive, revive and thrive in the post-COVID19 era. Interestingly, International Women’s Day –  March 8, 2021 is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage by brave women, who have played an extraordinary role in their communities.

Here’s saluting women who had exemplary narratives to share when questioned:  What has been your biggest challenge and most important learning during the pandemic as a woman entrepreneur?

  • Rashmi Pratap, Co-Founder, 30 Stades

As a woman entrepreneur it was definitely tough, because the lockdown hit us when we were only two months old! The biggest challenge I faced was managing my household work with 30 Stades, because the domestic helps could not come. Since my reporters and other team members were also facing this challenge, so we needed a lot more co-ordination. People were working late at night, like baby-sitting at home. How we overcame this was through – exceptional planning. That has become our motto at 30 Stades. We plan well, we plan ahead, keeping all eventualities in mind. Of course, something can go wrong, at any time! But, planning is key to working in exceptional situations. Secondly, I taught my children to be independent, and not rely on anyone. So, I think both these challenges worked well for us.

  • Radhika Garg, Member of the Board of Directors, Raj Darbar Group

In this globalised world and specially India, I feel Success and Ambition should be gender neutral words. The inter-generational belief of the predefined roles of men and women in society are holding us back. These roles need to be made as choices and not expectations and stereotypes. I hear women empowerment on repeat from all corners of our society, I believe empowerment needs to be replaced with realisation. Women don’t need empowerment, the society needs the realisation that capability doesn’t differ by gender, but by hard work and passion. I hope going forward we don’t have the need for a woman’s day, but everyday is a celebration of success of men and women alike.

  • Himani Mishra,Co-founder & CEO, Brand Radiator

One of the biggest challenges I faced during COVID times, especially as a woman entrepreneur, was – working remotely, meeting the clients’ requirements and, at the same time, ensuring that my team was motivated. However, there was something at the very start of my entrepreneurial journey that helped me during COVID times. I ensured that cost is controlled (costs like rent was on the lower side) and I did not go for a lavish and happening office. It’s like startup office, that we had set up, which helped me in ensuring that we not only retain our clients and employees and we did not go for any salary deduction.  So, this is a learning for life – things can be done remotely, and these are times when meeting are not required. If we invest more in our employees, good manpower, it can give long-term results! Happy Women’s Day!

  • Mohua Chinnapa, Founder MoodyMo

I think this an auspicious time for someone like me to start business, and I am in the content business. I started my business immediately after the lockdown, because there was a lot of enquiries happening. I was extremely insecure because I was used to meetings and meeting clients, where we would meet and discuss ideas. But the whole landscape for work and the entire environment changed. But, I must admit that initially I found that a big challenge! I was used to meeting people and discuss work across the table and that has changed overnight!  Now it’s through Zoom calls.  I think it’s been a great learning – that one can work out of your homes, one need not crowd the streets, and I stay in Bangalore, where the roads are very congested. Roads are less crowded, people are not occupying space like they did earlier. It has been a huge learning for the entire world, and I feel we are becoming new people, post pandemic. The learnings I had was that I joined a lot of workshops, and networked with people online and it was amazing!  Everybody learnt that life was fragile and we learnt humility, and that this is the moment, and you have to give your best! The pandemic has been a boon in many ways, my business grew, and I’m not complaining. But I am hoping for the world to heal, and the vaccine to take over; and people who lost their jobs, they need to get back to work.

  • Hema Mahajan, psycho-therapist, counsellor & DMIT consultant  
    In our field of counseling, sitting in our chamber with the client across was a basic necessity. This was greatly challenged during the pandemic. This adverse condition taught me and my clients that being able to connect on a virtual platform over video calls was a blessing. The mental block of the need to sit face-to-face with each other was easily overcome with the extensive use of digital technologies. Now, I have clients from pan-India. Thus I was able to convert a problem into an advantage!

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