Arkish Jewels

Practicing regret-free life

Founder of Sheroes, Sairee Chahal is proud for having been able to bring jobs to more women. She is determined to remove all obstacles and help women become self-reliant and confident by taking employment opportunities to them instead of them having to wait around for one to come by.

 

I have been an entrepreneur more than once and experienced corporate life as well. At 21, I co-founded Newslink Services, the world’s first newspaper for mariners, and worked with large organisations such as Heidrick & Struggles and the Confederation of Indian Industry. I have seen, first hand, how women don’t only struggle to keep their jobs, but are mocked for breaking glass ceilings.

India has the largest number of female graduates in the world, and yet only 17 per cent of them are part of the formal GDPed workforce, only five per cent of them are in positions of leadership, and 48 per cent quit their jobs before reaching mid-levels. Most of that 48 per cent never go back to work. A lot of these women battle with their identity, confidence and the lack of opportunities to be able to make conscious decisions with respect to professional lives. I intend to change all of that.

Sheroes was set up to support women so they can continue on a career path of their choosing and excel in it. It is built on the principle that you can have multiple jobs over the course of your life but your career is forever. We are a complex nation – women have ownership and, for the most part, single-handedly run the caregiving sector of family life (from the children to the elders, family obligations and duties and the list goes on) and while they are wrapped up in all of that their professional lives stop being a priority for others, and sometimes, after a while, even for themselves. The few women who have made it to the top of the corporate ladder are paid a lower salary than their male counterparts. Women in the corporate world need more opportunities, but how many companies actually look at flexible work options and non-standard business hours? Not many.

Today, I can say that I am proud of having helped a lot of women across the country, women who call us for career advice, jobs information and service queries. Their stories are truly inspiring and that, in turn, fuels us to work harder for them and others like them.

This one time, a woman called from a village near Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, she had found our number in a local newspaper. She had a Master’s degree and soon after receiving it she was married into a traditional family. All she did was look after her husband, his family and the kids, she wanted more. She got in touch with us because she was looking for a way to be able to follow her dreams, put her skills and education to some use and find work that would fit her life. We were able to find her something she could do from home. And that desire, dream became a reality. There

are many women who use our platform and community as their support system, giving them the confidence and chance to pursue their interests and dreams.

Our latest project, SEW (Support Every Women) aspires to touch the lives of those women who do not have access to online platforms. Our next step is to reach out and help women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

But before Sheroes, there was Flximoms.

Women’s career growth is significantly affected by family life, pregnancies or decisions to take some time off to attend to the family’s or rather the children’s needs. It is, therefore, difficult for them to maintain a steady growth curve. I felt a tremendous need to do something for those women, but I needed to first find a way to tap into this incredible reservoir of talented professionals and provide them with options that would be right and fair to both them and their families. And that’s when Fleximoms came into existence. With it I could bridge the gap and bring women into the workforce, keeping their needs in mind.

It is a travesty that because of social conditioning women tend to have a lot of regret since they have always been expected to put the needs of everyone else before their own. In my opinion, to be able to live a life without regret we must work at doing what needs to be done all the while making sure that it is fair to ourselves and all others, by teaching ourselves to make decisions that way we will help hardwire the no regrets policy into our conscious and subconscious mind.

Hits and misses are a given and if we learn from our failures, every misfire will turn into a stepping stone to success. Regrets only result in negativity, an energy that can’t possibly have a worthwhile outcome. There is no sure shot solution or strategy to stay true to your aspirations and family commitments. But you must try to keep reinventing and strategising along the way. For me, it is a dynamic process, and I keep experimenting to see what works best for me and does not put me in a fix. I also believe that we should not, we need not be, so hard on ourselves for not staying true because things do not always work as planned. It is ok to give in to the madness of the moment.

BY Nidhi