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Women's Day 2024: Founders, CEOs On What It Means To Them And Their Trials The campaign theme for International Women's Day this year is 'Inspire Inclusion,' which means to inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, which will ultimately lead to a better world.

By Kabir Singh Bhandari

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The campaign theme for International Women's Day this year is 'Inspire Inclusion,' which means to inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, which will ultimately lead to a better world.

The first Women's Day was observed in March 1911, over a 100 years ago. What is important for us to remember is that it is the stories of women from all over and from different fields which are important to be heard. Their struggles, tribulations, triumphs and the way ahead.

This is why this year we spoke to some women leaders who told us about what the day means to them and the kinds of challenges that they have faced in their journeys. Read on to know more:

Naiyya Saggi, Co-Founder, Good Glamm Group

While I'd wish for an equitable world where everyday is Women's Day, reality is that its not. Which is why I think Women's Day is important since it ensures a dedicated day in which it brings focus to stories of women from all walks of life.

When I found out I was pregnant, there were some very practical questions that would pop up in my head on being a leader and a mother. Very few women in the public domain had talked about their journey of being mothers and entrepreneurs/leaders so there were hardly any role models out there or stories of women who had made both happen and how they did it. More importantly, the narrative on mothers being leaders was not mainstream.

That was the paradigm we set out to change with the The Moms Co Mompreneur Show which is today one of the world's largest platforms to support Mom Entrepreneurs at scale bringing together communities of top leaders and entrepreneurs who are mothers alongwith emerging mom entrepreneurs. More than 1 lakh mothers have registered to be part of the platform and with the partnership of The Indian Govt (Startup India), Whatsapp, Strides, Ficci Flo and others, we have created both a podcast and a have signed up to support create the world's largest platform to support the potential of mom entrepreneurs through Access, Awareness and Aspiration. Most importantly, I am hoping this platform mainstreams discourse and role models around motherhood and leadership going hand in hand for not just other women but also men across India.

Shruti Malani, Co Founder Beddy, by Centuary Mattress

Women's Day is a reminder that, even with all of our accomplishments, there is still more work to be done in the direction of gender equality. We have to keep appreciating and acknowledging the tremendous achievements made by women and make sure that young girls everywhere have access to a variety of role models that represent their potential.

Finding a balance between my personal obligations and business pursuits was one of my first and biggest problems as an entrepreneur. It took careful time management, prioritization, and occasionally painful sacrifices to balance the demands of growing a budding business with attending to family responsibilities, relationships, and the needs of small children. However, managing this precarious balance gave me priceless insights into flexibility, resilience, and the critical role self-care plays in maintaining long-term success.

My experience as an entrepreneur highlights how important it is to accept losses as necessary growth experiences and draw valuable lessons from them. It demands that wise choices be made while maintaining a laser-like focus on long-term goals, all the while clearing the path for the following wave of female entrepreneurs. Even with all of the prejudices that women face on a daily basis and the constant attention that they receive, especially when it comes to issues like maternity leave, I would advise women to remain steadfast in their commitment and make advancing progress in their career. In addition, this experience made me more aware of the difficulties female employees could have to balance their home and professional life. As a result.

Swati Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro and EarnKaro

On International Women's Day, we honour the incredible achievements of women worldwide, celebrating their resilience and accomplishments across various spheres. For me, this day symbolises the ongoing journey towards gender equality and empowerment. Throughout my entrepreneurial path, I've faced the challenge of thriving in male-dominated environments, where I've had to break through stereotypes and biases. From being selected for a prestigious scholarship as a young girl to navigating through male-dominated sectors like finance and tech, I've learned the importance of perseverance and self-belief. Despite the hurdles, I'm proud of how far I've come and remain committed to pushing boundaries and inspiring others.

Aditi Shrivastava, Co-Founder and CEO, Pocket Aces

Women's Day is an important day to celebrate because it's a reminder for everybody to evaluate what they're doing for the women in their organization, and what they are doing for the women in their consumer set. Are they going out of their way to understand their preferences, which might be different than the preferences of the men in those sets? I think most importantly, it's a reminder of all of these things.

One challenge in my journey as a woman entrepreneur has of course been, and I've talked about this before, especially when you're a woman who looks young. When I go to meetings with my male colleagues, this used to happen before, but it doesn't happen anymore. The attention that the male colleague gets is that much more, regardless of the other party knowing that I'm the founder and they are a very important head of a department, but report to me. Earlier it used to bother me a lot, but now I've been kind of unfazed by it and of course, as we grow older, we start looking older and so I think this challenge kind of goes away.

Definitely during my fundraising process, I've been asked once, thankfully not more than that, whether I want to start a family. Basically, they were asking whether, if, and when I'm going to have kids and it took me aback a little bit because the question was asked by a woman, a very senior woman in a very renowned family office. Thankfully, we were in a position where we didn't need to take money from them.

I answered her question in the most roundabout way because while I knew what she was asking, I wanted her to ask directly if she wanted to know. So I told her and she was like, oh, so, you know, what about your family? And I told her everything about my family, parents, in-laws, siblings, etc. Then she had to be like, oh, are you planning to have kids? And so then I answered the question. So I think that's just been one such incident. But otherwise, I've been pretty lucky, you know, to not feel discriminated against in a large part of my entrepreneurial journey.

Panchami Ghavri, Casting Director

Honestly I've never really believed in celebrating one particular day. I think they were marketing gimmicks for Hallmark back in the day! But the idea of celebrating women in general is something that's very close to my heart. I'm so proud to be one, I wouldn't have had it any other way. I have surrounded my life with impeccably powerful women. Of course, it starts first at home from my mom and sister to my mother-in-law, sister-in-laws and an army of girlfriends who keep me so grounded. There are women at work I have met that continue to inspire me. So celebrating them should not be centred to just one day. They have in one way or another influenced who I am today.

I think my parents separation at a young age was definitely a big challenge- Adapting to a new normal. I was very inspired but what a power mom I had. She took it all in her stride and rose like a phoenix! Gave me and my sister some very important core values. Taught us early the importance of being financially independent specially as a woman.

Celebrity Chef Sarah Todd

Women's Day is an incredibly special time, not just because it's a day to celebrate the incredible strength, resilience, and beauty of women worldwide, but also because it shares a date with my son's birthday.

Throughout my journey, I've encountered my fair share of obstacles, each teaching me a lesson and shaping me into the woman I am today. However, one of the most significant challenges I faced was navigating the complexities of opening businesses in a field that is, unfortunately, still predominantly male-dominated. As a woman, and more so as a mother, the journey wasn't just about breaking through the glass ceiling; it was about shattering stereotypes, balancing the demands of motherhood with professional aspirations, and proving that my culinary passion and vision had a place in this competitive industry. The challenge tested my resilience, dedication, and ability to stay true to myself. This challenge wasn't just mine alone; it reflects the hurdles many women face in various fields, fighting for their voices to be heard and their talents to be recognized. Yet, this very challenge reinforced my belief in the power of women to overcome, innovate, and lead with grace. It taught me the importance of perseverance, of embracing my identity as a woman and a mother, and of paving the way for future generations of women to follow their dreams without boundaries.

The author can be reached at bkabir@entrepreneurindia.com and Instagram.com/kabirsinghbhandari

Kabir Singh Bhandari

Former Senior Assistant Editor

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