This article sheds light on the dynamic female entrepreneurs in India and how they have chose to make choices that have been socially relevant and highly impactful.
To everyone who is still blissfully ignorant about what double burden is, I suggest you take this time out to get attuned with the reality of women. Of women and their stories that display triumph, courage, persistence, kindness, love and above everything, passion. When we talk about women in India, we mostly ignore the second shift (another name that double burden is commonly given).
Unpaid labour is a social construct, a very typical one at that and in most cases, grossly called “a women’s duty”. For if you don’t shackle yourselves to the social conventions of domestic oppression, you get accused of being “unladylike” (the horror) and we all know that’s not a label that Indian women should strive for.
This is an ode to women, of women who have consciously chosen to overcome those struggles, past all the accusations, flying above all the offensive comments and more importantly, constantly giving the Indian society an existential crisis. Don’t be mistaken, this is not just for the women who have successfully become entrepreneurs.
It is for the women who have been employed and unemployed, for the financial independence and for battling financial oppression, for the change of social norms and for the struggle, for being amazing by not just choosing to exist, but actively living, seeking, fighting and winning.
1- Aditi Gupta
How many times have you felt ashamed for menstruating? How many times do you check your “that area”on “those days?”. Aditi Gupta has answered our prayers. Menstruation is as taboo as women’s rights in India, in that it’s better off pretending like both of them don’t exist. Aditi Gupta has made it her mission to clear the darkness surrounding this common issue by introducing Menstrupedia.
It is a friendly guide for women to stay active, healthy and aware during periods. It aims to explore this issue from various standpoints- hygiene, awareness, feminism and culture, to talk about a few.
2- Anu Sridharan
Anu Sridharan had this unquenchable thirst to combine technology and society in order for us to be able to harness the full potential of staying informed. She founded NextDrop with a simple vision- “we want to rid the world of its water problems”.
With rapid urbanization and development constantly resulting in water scarcity, her tech savvy platform helps people stay aware of the access to water, the quality and the quantity associated with it. They use real time data to disperse information about status of water services, inconsistencies with the supply pattern and the time of supply etc.
3- Padmaja Ruparel
Padmaja started Indian Angel Network in 2009 and it has grown to be an integral part of the entrepreneurial ecosphere in India, ever since. Back in 2009, she saw an opportunity to tap into a culture that did not support nor finance the entrepreneurial spirit.
“VCs started investing in startups in India over a decade ago but they always invested money raised overseas. The trend is changing but still VCs raise money predominantly overseas. This amount was huge and as an early stage startup, it wouldn’t know what to do with those huge sums of money and VCs wouldn’t even invest. Hence I thought investments in the early stage to be a gap and hence started IAN,” says Padmaja.
Prukalpa founded SocialCops along with Varun Banka in the hope of using data to solve critical global challenges. Having had a background in investment banking, she realized how impactful data was when it came to financial banking. However, she kept drawing parallels about how healthcare, education, crime, environment and in general, the development sector didn’t quite have relevant data to be leveraged in the same way. Interestingly enough, crowdfunding helped this project to become a reality.
We hope that these 5 women have started inspiring you already. Being your own boss was never an easy job, additionally with the society clamping you down on all fronts, the journey will definitely not be an easy one. Nothing worth having comes easy, let’s all strive to beat the odds and stay rooted to our vision.
“We learned that governments and other organisations have been collecting a ton of data from citizens across the country on different issues. The problem is not that there’s no data; it’s that the data is really hard to access and use. It exists on numerous government websites, which are difficult to locate and navigate. Once you access the data, it’s difficult to use because it is inconsistent and unstructured. One big component of our work has been finding all of these obscure government data sets, cleaning them, and matching them with other data sets to make them reliable and usable,” she notes.
5- Elsa Marie D’Silva
If every 20 minutes, someone is raped and not all rapes are reported, can you imagine the number of women who get harassed on the streets everyday?” questions Elsa Marie De’Silva.” It is this horrifying thought that made Elsa, Surya and Saloni set up safe city. It is a GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping and uses open source technology to facilitate crowdmapping of information. It is a platform that documents that translates personal experiences of abuse and and sexual harassment in public places into hotspots corresponding to location-based trends. Women can choose to stay anonymous while reporting, the primary focus lies towards reportage and awareness.