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Why Women In India Want To Work At Startups Flexibility, growth opportunities and the feeling of ownership lures women to start-ups

By Sneha Banerjee

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The Meera Kaul Foundation

The start-up space in India has been a blessing not only in terms of creativity and encouraging young talent but it has also been a boon to the number of jobs that it has created. Everyone today wants to work for a start-up and be a part of its mission to accomplish itself as the next Flipkart or Ola of India.

On the occasion of International Women's Day, Entrepreneur asked a bunch of women employees in the start-up domain as to why they chose to be a part of this space versus being part of a bigger establishment.

Flexible organizations

Start-ups are often considered more flexible in terms of their timings, work location and leaves amongst other things. Women say that there are times when they can't travel to work and in such cases their bosses often allow them to work from home. Start-ups often encourage virtual workspaces which gives women the liberty to work from home and yet feel a part of the organization.

More learning

Joining a start-up gives a lot of exposure at a very nascent stage in one's career. A start-up employee works closely with her seniors and this helps accelerate growth. It's more like being a big fish in a small pond. You can be a part of a two-member team today and very soon you will end up managing a 15-member team.

Talent matters, degrees can come later

Many of the start-ups are very keen on hiring people with varied skill set. They don't stress on the need of a graduation degree and value different skill set. Knowing different languages, computer skills or even people management skills can help you get employed at a start-up.

Who's the boss?

Coming from a call centre background at a MNC, Meenaz was pleasantly surprised to find a friendly and approachable boss at In most cases, the senior management is very approachable and treat you as an equal at a start-up.

Your opinion matters

Most women we spoke to said that in a start-up every individual's opinion matters. For any decision that is taken, every employee's suggestion is considered, says Malvika Mayur of Byond Travel. This in turn instils a sense of ownership and responsibility in employees who then automatically take charge of bigger tasks at work.

"Here you automatically have a lot on your plate to do," says Swati Ailawadi of Livspace. Swati, who has been a part of this space since the very beginning of her career, said working in a start-up one naturally develops entrepreneurial skills which then motivates an employee starting his own venture.

Decision making is a lot simpler and faster at a start-up. One does not have to deal with a string of executives before finalizing something. "In a start-up you roll up your sleeves and get to work," Shonali Deokule of Farm Taaza said.

How can start-ups attract more women work force

Very often start-ups find it difficult to hire the right people. There are several women out there who want to participate in something different and innovative but don't have the right means to get there. Start-ups need to start collaborating online, Swati Maheshwari of Holachef said.

The lack of sustainability often keeps women away from this space. If an employee is willing to take challenges and responsibilities, the employer must make sure that she is timely rewarded. This helps sustaining talent.

When should you not join a start-up

Most of the women agreed to the fact that working at a start-up requires a lot more energy, commitment and passion from the employee's side. It's not a 9-5 affair. At a start-up one ends up being a part of day-to-day affairs like procurement, security and hiring to monitoring the balance sheet of the company. One needs to treat her workspace as her home and nurture it with care.

For full coverage of International Women's Day 2016 click here (

Sneha Banerjee

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

She used to write for Entrepreneur India from Bangalore and other cities in South India. 


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