Women Entrepreneurship Day: Women breaking norms | The Financial Express

Women Entrepreneurship Day: Women breaking norms

Women entrepreneurs are no longer a myth; rather, they are shattering the traditional barriers created by a retrograde, male-dominated culture.

Women Entrepreneurship Day Women breaking norms
Women entrepreneurs today are influential personalities making their mark in different fields such as- healthcare and wellness, music, education, construction and gems and jewelry industry.

The antiquated patriarchal myth that led women to believe they could not be successful founders, co-founders, or managers of firms has long since been disproved. In addition to dominating the economic world today, women are now showing up as a strong force controlling the startup environment, just like their male counterparts. Women entrepreneurs are no longer a myth; rather, they are shattering the traditional barriers created by a retrograde, male-dominated culture. Women entrepreneurs today are influential personalities making their mark in different fields such as- healthcare and wellness, music, education, construction and gems and jewelry industry. It takes lot of courage to follow your passion against all odds and achieve success through the hard work. 

Here are examples of women who chose their passion and have carved their way to victory:

Aanchal, Founder, an independent artist- Aanchal, Founder, an independent artist- Aanchal is a pathbreaking independent artist creating music that inspires thousands of people. She said, “I create songs that connect with the people, and this unique identity of mine has helped me gain the name and respect in the independent music industry. I am assertively making my presence in the industry by creating my own Originals & Folk Recreations. Struggle to make a mark and be differentiated from the rest can be never-ending sometimes, but I am all about Living the struggle and loving the struggle. I try to incorporate an element of mine, that could be Husk, could be folk, could be her earthy lyrical sense. Enjoying every bit of my journey, I have just begun & am happy to walk alongside music till my last breath. The struggle in the music industry for women is immense, but, despite the gender and beauty stereotypes and constraints, I believe the uniqueness of my music will help me stand out in the crowd.” 

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 Shabnum Khan is the Founder of Mandrake Mydia and 750AD Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., and is a versatile entrepreneur in many ways. She says, “I have always wanted to serve the community, and thus, channeled the process of transformation through 750AD Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, India’s healthcare review platform. I am set on a journey to create transformation in the healthcare space, which is often and mostly dominated by men. I conduct awareness drives and strongly believe that it is the work that matters beyond the gender biases. I am no less than my male counterparts and so be it field visits or working round the clock, I do it all. I am committed to remove the stigma around working limits for women.

Anu Khanna, Director, Gem Selections & Khanna Gems Group- She manages both her personal and professional life like a boss lady and says, “Women in the entrepreneurship sector may thrive but at the same time also have to survive through the hardships of maintaining the balance between personal and professional life. I am an entrepreneur who has a significant part in expanding the business but with a more women centric approach. I manage my venture as a leader while also maintaining the balance of my personal life. A woman has innumerable roles to play within her lifetime and I am focused on being everything I can be! Be it a mother or a wife or a business woman.”

Swetha Guhan – Co-Founder, Director – Product Development and Government Programs, Key Education Foundation- Swetha is the Co-founder at Key Education Foundation [KEF] – a not for profit aimed at ensuring quality early childhood education for children from low-income communities in India. She also works closely in designing the organisation’s strategy, leading monitoring and evaluation and executing government programs at KEF to impact over 30,000 young children in India. On Women Entrepreneurship Day she said “What makes me excited today is women in leadership are not rare. When I see many of my peers leading organizations , I see a new kind of leadership evolving. These amazing women lead from within the circle instead of ‘from the front’ and that’s the kind of leadership we need in society today – Inclusive, empathetic, unafraid to be transparent and with ever-growing aspiration ! Lead like a woman, I say!”

Swetha is a recipient of the Wipro Applying thoughts in School and InnovatED fellowships. She is also a member of Gratitude Network, a silicon valley based enterprise and the Karnataka State Steering committee for Early Childhood Education at the Women and Child Department.

Radhika Chaudhary, Co-founder & CFO, Ricron Panels Pvt. Ltd.- Radhika Chaudhary is the Co-Founder and CFO of Ricron Panels Pvt Ltd, a startup on a mission to disrupt the multi-billion dollar building materials industry by replacing outdated building materials like plywood, cement, and steel boards with a far superior product with a positive environmental impact. As the CFO, Radhika heads finance, administration and compliance at Ricron. With a strong focus on growth, she’s responsible for the strategic direction. Under her, Ricron has grown from a boot-strapped startup to India’s largest funded sustainable building materials company that’s utilizing Multi Layered Plastics (An extremely hard-to-recycle plastic).

She said, “Whether it is a women-led startup, a shortage of women in senior positions in companies, or unequal remuneration, the ecosystem as a whole is becoming aware of the gender bias and gender gap in the business field. Due to increased awareness, the government has also introduced programmes and subsidies to support women-owned enterprises, albeit it is yet too early to tell whether they will be effective. Funds are more concerned with gender diversity as FDI rises, and many of these funds keep tabs on the gender diversity measures of the companies in their portfolio. In turn, this encourages more women to participate in the business sector. Even though tracking these indicators and the introduction of subsidies have been made possible by knowledge of gender bias, more insight and genuine encouragement are still needed.”

For her contributions to the waste plastic recycling industry, she has received recognition from the United Nations through the Women Entrepreneur’s WE SDG Challenge Award for the Asia Pacific region for advancing the UN’s sustainable development goals in 2021. She has also won WWF’s Climate Solver Award and is also a speaker at the Ascent Conclave 2022.

Sashwati Banerjee, Founder, Top Parent: Sashwati is a social development professional with over three decades of experience in organizational leadership, media, & communication for change. Incubated under the Entrepreneur in Residence program at Central Square Foundation, she has recently founded Nudged Trust & Humanitus Learning Solutions to provide an open-source, free mobile app to help low-income community families support their young children’s development at home. Citing the Global Gender Gap report 2020, she said, “It will take another 100 years to close the gender equality gap of female entrepreneurs in the ecosystem. It took a pandemic to disrupt the ecosystem where women challenged the status quo and demonstrated that women-led start-ups not just thrive but also positively impact growth.”

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Since 2006, Sashwati led Sesame Workshop in India as the Founding Managing Director and was responsible for establishing the organization and its flagship project Galli Galli Sim Sim (Indian Sesame Street) which helps prepare children for school & for life. Sashwati has worked on large global projects and led award-winning campaigns to further the cause of reproductive rights and increase the basket of contraceptive choices in India. She has been a speaker at UNESCO MLE, Brookings, TED India and serves on the Boards of Point of View, Katha & Breakthrough.

Mugdha Pradhan, CEO and Founder, iThrive who has dedicated her life to make diseases disappear from this planet, said, “For the longest time, the kind of work a woman could do was limited by societal constraints. Women are anyway conditioned from childhood into being subservient and are often less likely to break rules and defy norms. However in the recent decades we are seeing more and more women entrepreneurs emerge into leadership roles in traditional male dominated industries and creating a whole new paradigm in the start-up world. These are women who know themselves well, who have strong core beliefs and internal value systems and who are not afraid to ask for what they want. These are women who have broken all preconceived norms around women in business and may we see more of them.”

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First published on: 19-11-2022 at 11:56 IST
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