How Start-ups Are Empowering Women to Work From Home
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Today, there are too many success stories of women who are breaking the glass ceiling and emerging as role models for many.
But for every success story out there, there are multiple stories in the form of our mothers, sisters, friends who left their jobs only to take charge of domestic duties after marriage. Even though it might not be a decision enforced by their husbands or in-laws, women often end up letting go of their professional lives to cater to their families.
However, women are now changing the title of their story. Without stepping out of their homes, they are building up businesses through platforms like Facebook or WhatsApp. Stay-at-home moms are rejoining work with the option of work from home. The increasing use of technology has made it possible for women to work and earn from the comfort of their home.
Entrepreneur India spoke to a few experts from the industry about how start-ups are enabling women to work from home.
Start-ups: The Job Makers
A Nasscom report states that India has seen the addition of over 1,000 start-ups over the last year. Furthermore, a study by McKinsey Global Institute stated that India's GDP could increase anywhere between 16 per cent and 60 per cent by 2025 if more women participated in the workforce and contributed to the economic growth of the country. More and more of these jobs will come from the start-up boost in the country, believes Shilpa Rao, founder of v-pact.com, which empowers women by connecting them with the right recruiters.
Several startups leverage technology extensively, nurturing a culture of remote work believes Sairee Chahal, Founder, CEO of SHEROES (the women's community platform). She said that these start-ups are providing women with opportunities in areas like sales, recruitment, content development, lead generation, travel and customer service, to name a few, basically work that can be pursued independently with just a strong internet connection.
"Our own community has a large work-from-home force, skilled women on a career break. This propelled us at SHEROES to set up MARS - our enterprise product that bridges the gap between businesses looking to outsource work and our community members, seeking meaningful, authentic work," said Chahal.
Technology to Thank
Leveraging technology, start-ups are creating a more productive environment for women. Rao states that co-working incubation services for women-led businesses too are of great help. "With the help of technology, new and improved communication options have been developed. The same also helps in cost management for many women start-up founders," said Rao.
Meanwhile, Chahal said that communication tools like Slack and Trello have helped in making communication seamless, and they too use these tools to engage effectively with their own remote workforce. She believes that Internet and technology together has completely changed the game for women. "It has brought flexibility in regular work. It has galvanized remote opportunities. It has helped women build their business through social platforms, reseller platforms, and e-commerce platforms among others, making them financially independent and more confident. We have women even building careers through platforms like Instagram, where they themselves are the brand," said Chahal.
She added that another way in which technology is supporting women is through online learning/ reskilling programmes. At Sheroes, they did a campaign with Jigsaw Academy just the last year, to encourage more women to take up data analytics. The programme can be pursued online, and once you complete the course, you're eligible for a job that is both relevant and has a great scope for career growth.
Careers Driven by Passion
For most women, getting back to their respective careers after a break is often fuelled by passion. FoodCloud, a start-up that enables home chefs to have their own business, is a part of this revolution. Vedant Kanoi, the founder of FoodCloud said that it has been their mission to create an ecosystem that empowers the women of India with financial independence and a sense of self-derived from achievement. "We encourage women to seek creative satisfaction and are creating opportunities for those who need flexible working hours and helping individuals become business owners without making large capital investments. The number of verified and live chefs doing business through FoodCloud has grown 10X in just over 2.5 years," he said.
Women looking for work-life balance or flexibility in their work commitments now have the option to work from home through various start-ups. Technology enables them to manage their product offerings, orders and finances online. "Startups like ours are also attuned to the fact that their vendors are working from home and therefore build processes and systems that factor in their limitations to ensure ease of use," said Kanoi.