Browsed by
Tag: women

Insights from an empowering event for women

Insights from an empowering event for women

“I never dreamt of success. I worked for it.” ~Estee Lauder

Over the last many months, I have made it a conscious effort to attend several events related to professional growth and networking, in particular, women focused. Just two weeks back, I attended an exciting event for women entrepreneurs by Zone Startups India at the iconic building of the Bombay Stock Exchange. The event saw the launch of their accelerator program called ‘Empower’ for women entrepreneurs in India.

There is so much to gain from such gatherings that are abuzz with talent and experience galore. Lots of encouragement, knowledge, contacts, advice and many other intangible goodies to go home with. What matters is how much of it you absorb there, lingers with you long after the event. And I find the one way to ensure that the inspiration stays on and prompts action is to put down in writing the highlights of all the learning.

So here goes my take-away from half of the event I attended:

Our work reflects our state of mind The keynote by Ameera Shah, Managing Director of Metropolis Healthcare, was a heartfelt honest account of her entrepreneurial journey. Of how her self-belief was put to test in her struggling days. And when she was balanced in her mind, her company found balance too. The work we do is often the mirror image of our heart and mind.

Women have it harder than men Women entrepreneurs take time to earn respect and credibility. Often they are questioned about their commitment levels, which is not the case with their male colleagues. They have to go that extra mile to prove themselves and their capabilities.

Rural and urban women – There is no stopping women in pursuit of their dreams and goals, whether they come from rural areas or metro cities. As one of the panelists remarked that rural women are not as interested in advice or seminars like urban women take the effort to. They only want to know ways to earn and be self-reliant. Financial independence is an enormous driving force for all.

Communities help us grow – To be a part of a community or communities that you can relate to has many benefits. Communities are a great networking platform. They help widen our perspective to work and life as a whole. Attending their invigorating programs foster our professional and personal growth. Moreover, the sense of belonging is a huge source of moral support for women at all stages in life.

Support for women With the onset of the start-up phenomenon, the women now have numerous support platforms to launch their careers or companies. Government initiatives toward better funding schemes, enhanced network connectivity, innovation policies, etc. has encouraged many women-led ventures in India. Mentoring is a huge game changer too.

Women, its time to give wings to your dreams. Go for it!

 

Accelerating Women Entrepreneurship 

 

 

Domestic violence is not just physical violence: #ALetterToHer

Domestic violence is not just physical violence: #ALetterToHer

“Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.” ~unknown

Just happened to read this quote as I begin to write this post for the Womens Web Blogathon on domestic violence: What letter would you write to a woman subjected to domestic violence? My letter to ‘her’…

Dear Me

Here you are, writing about the subject that you have discreetly kept under wraps. Something that had occurred in your life and yet you had no clue about it. How could you have known? Coming from an aristocratic family background where values and ethics were strongly entrenched right from your early days. You belong to a family known for its religious and cultural heritage. You had such a protected and shielded upbringing. Yes, you had heard about atrocities and injustice meted out to others. In books you had read and movies you had watched and stories you had heard. Aware yes, but seen anything personally in close proximity, no. How blissful were you in your state of ignorance and innocence. Where marriages around you were examples of loyalty and longing in relationships. How beautiful did it all seem, the love and the romance between couples. Then why would you even think of the term ‘domestic violence’ in your life?

Little did you know then that just by thinking ‘this could never happen to me’, does not mean it cannot really happen to you!

For domestic violence did take place. Of course, you were caught completely unaware. There was no physical violence, sure. But you were subjected to emotional torture. There was verbal assault. You were deprived of your financial rights. There was unjust criticism thrown at you for no reason. You felt a sense of alienation creeping in your own home. You didn’t know why all this madness was happening. So caught up were you in your thoughts to save your marriage and shield your kids from it all, that you were ready to bend over more than you could. Or should. Engulfed in self-doubt, you questioned your own actions. Only to realise that there was no way you could save your marriage if your spouse is hell bent on breaking it.

It was much later when you found out that domestic violence does not mean only physical violence, as is the common notion. It includes emotional and financial abuse too. You were shocked to know that you were a victim of domestic violence. We Indian girls are taught about our responsibilities but not so much about our rights. By then, you were out of that house and in a safer environment. But the trauma remained with you. You had two choices in front of you then. One – to file a legal case of domestic violence against the people who had done you wrong. Two – not to file against the folks you called your own for more than a decade.

It was no easy decision to make, a battle of the mind v/s the heart. You had to think of the repercussions of both choices and face the consequence on your own. Much though it seemed against the raging emotions of the logical mind, you went by your heart and chose the latter. Your decision stemming from a space of love for your kids than hatred for the rest. You were not willing to have your little ones linked in any legal rigmarole. By then you had decided you did not want to waste any more time over what had already happened. You chose to channelise your energy and emotion on enhancing your well-being and that of your children. It meant a choice of not pushing any action against the wrong doers and let karma do the rest.

You silently bore the brunt of it all and decided to move one. You took a huge leap of faith in making all the choices you did back then. With conviction in your heart and your spiritual fortitude, you only wanted to look ahead. You let go. Gradually, bit by bit, you let it all go. The hurt, the injustice, the anger, the pain. It seemed effortless to those around you, as you kept the bitter currents under your calm countenance. It was hard to believe you came out of your troubles unscathed. But you hid your tears and saved them for your solitude. You were all broken inside but managed to maintain a fortress of strength in front of your little children. For them, you had to quickly pick all your pieces and rebuild your life. You chose to follow the spiritual path of healing.

You survived the storm!

Ever since, see how far you have come after leaving it all behind you. Look how much you have grown in surmounting all obstacles. You came out so much stronger and resilient, nothing in life can break you anymore. You dived into your innards and pulled forth all the courage and wisdom to keep going. In doing so, you have earned the respect and admiration of many. You are one powerhouse of nerves. And you know that karma is doing its job after all.

Here you are, writing this wonderful blog to express all that you have learnt from your life story…so that those who face similar challenges find hope to survive….to inspire and to thrive. Life is still not easy and nor does it look all sorted. Yet you keep moving and facing it all in good faith.

Go girl, and give yourself a pat on your back!

Yours truly!

 

This blogpost is my contribution to the Womens Web Blogathon – an initiative to speak up about domestic violence and not keeping it hushed. I am intrigued to read Meena Kandasamy’s book ‘When I hit you‘ as anything related to women and women empowerment is a subject close to heart. The journey of victimhood to victory is always an interesting one.

Why it is important for women to be financially savvy!

Why it is important for women to be financially savvy!

“To be a financially savvy woman, you don’t have to like tracking your numbers. You just have to do it.” ~ Patti Fagan

We are almost at the end of this financial year (31st March in India) as I sit to pen this blog post. Last few weeks I had to ensure all taxes are paid, income tax returns are filed, tax-saving deductions are done under Section 80C….Its time to review my investments. How are my mutual funds looking? The stock markets are high and volatile so have to plan well. I am in the midst of preparing my personal budget for the new financial year. Have to factor inflation rate plus increase in school fees….

Few years ago, all this would have been completely Greek and Latin for me. I barely had any idea about the financial jargon. When you have never handled your money on your own and are left-brain challenged, personal finances can seem daunting. Most of us Indian girls coming from a sound economic background are usually raised in way where the money matters are completely looked after by the father (and brother if there is) and after marriage by the husband (and the father-in-law if applicable). Traditionally, men have always taken care of the financial aspect in a relationship. No questions asked, all in good trust and faith.

Flash back to the time when I was faced with my divorce. And with it came all the challenges of handling not only my own finances but also that of my minor daughters. The girl who had mainly worked with paintbrushes and pens was now compelled to look at numbers and excel sheets, big time. A single woman and a single mom put together in a situation where there was no choice but to take control.

Learning the ropes of everything around money did not come easy. It continues to be a process of constant education till date. But I am so glad to have been thrown into the situation, else I probably wouldn’t have learnt as much. A lot of women I know have no clue about their own finances simply ‘cos there has not been any need to learn. One of my aunts had no idea about the medical policy details when my uncle was hospitalised in an emergency. A close friend does not know how net banking works. An older mom I know was clueless about her income tax statement and regrets not learning.

I believe it’s very important for every woman to be financially savvy. Here’s why:

  • Self-respect: When a woman equips herself with financial knowledge, she is able to control her money well. That fills her with self-confidence and puts her in charge. It is critical for her own survival skills when crisis befalls. When she can hold her own in a financial situation, her self-respect takes a huge leap.
  • Key decision-making: It is generally the woman in the family who knows the family spends. Home management, paying for the children’s education and activities, shopping requirements, bills, etc. are usually in her domain of responsibilities. If she is financially smart, money management will be easier and it will augur well for better decision-making.
  • Sense of ownership: You know your money well, you own it, you have a sense of responsibility. The onus is on you – to save, to lose, to spend. Even if you make mistakes, they will serve as lessons. But the sense of complete ownership is wonderful. No one can take you for a ride or cheat you when you know how things work.
  • Exercising your choice: There are several modes of investments to allot your money. It helps you to make an informed choice when you are aware of your funds and financial needs at different stages. Organising and systematic planning comes very easily to women, especially mothers. She can use these skills effectively for taking important financial decisions.
  • Sense of freedom: In most cases, money is the tool that allows us to enjoy the varied pleasures of life. If a woman is financially smart about her money choices, she need not wait for anyone’s permission or approval. She can indulge in whatever her heart desires. Now that feeling can be truly very liberating!

You must ask yourself – how well do I know my money?

 

%d bloggers like this: