The history of International Women's Day dates back to 1908, when some 15,000 women marched on New York City in the name of better working hours, fairer pay, and the right to vote. Three years later in 1911, the first official IWD was celebrated throughout Europe as more than a million women walked challenging stereotypes for their right and equality.
Women in India have not only stepped into the corporate world but have also begun to make a mark in entrepreneurship. Fast forward even 2020, Women Entrepreneurs comprise 11% of all entrepreneurs in India, which means there are only about 550 women-led companies out of more than 5,000 startups (NASSCOM reports). The number is small and growing slowly, the with all the policy and most importantly mindset change coming up, we will soon see a rise in the same.
March 8 marks International Women’s Day 2020, and we at StartupTalky, also wanted to celebrate the spirit of womanhood with the entrepreneurs who have come out breaking all the barriers to and lead and change the world for the good! let's learn how these women are changing the entrepreneurial landscape and how!
Here is our small interview with Ishita Yashvi, co-founder at Cross Border Kitchens.
ST - Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur? If not entrepreneurship, then what?
Ishita Yashvi - This is a very long list of reasons which include: the desire to make a larger more positive impact on people around me, for the opportunity to work on something I loved, with the people I love, for greater stability and freedom to make something of my own, for the chance to utilize my skills better.
If not an entrepreneur then a marketing professional working my way through newer challenges.
ST - What Challenge did you face as a woman entrepreneur and How did you solve it?
Ishita Yashvi: The challenges faced were more entrepreneurial in nature than being specific to a gender.
Startuptalky: What policies your company has adopted to support women at your workplace?
Ishita Yashvi - We provide equal opportunities for men and women alike. Cross Border Kitchens has a woman as one of the founding team members and so is our Head of HR & compliance. We have natural inclination towards ensuring woman sensitive policies. Towards working mothers - we provide them with work flexibility with maternity benefits. Mothers who go through complications during childbirth receive an additional maternity benefits. We also ensure safety of travel for any late work sitting. As part of our policies an ombudsmen is always available to resolve escalations.
ST - How can working women manage both, home and work?
Ishita Yashvi - Short answer is - very successfully. One must create a balanced infrastructure that works for you - it could be your house help, nanny, family, etc - the key is to be collaborative and not carry any guilt for managing both together. The idea of getting equal opportunity at work extends to getting equal opportunity at home. That is, it applies to taking equal responsibilities for both the genders.
I would advise working women to not carry the guilt of being a lesser homemaker / mom / person. It's important to have a partner / family & friends who fuel your dreams. An understanding support system helps immensely.
ST - Do you think there must be at least one female co-founder, why?
Ishita Yashvi - It's not imperative to have a female co-founder as important it is to have equal opportunity provision in all levels of workforce. Being a Co-Founder is a matter of being at the right place at the right time. It's about the first eureka moment. Anyone can have it. However, I strongly believe that the top management of all organisations should have equal representation. If by having a female co-founder helps ensuring equal opportunity for woman workforce then I would highly recommend.
ST - As a women entrepreneur, What kind of support have you got from the government? What would you like to suggest?
Ishita Yashvi - We have ourselves registered with government as MSME. Other than that we have dealt with the same challenges as any other F&B tech start up.
ST - Why do you think still women’s contribution is too less in the Indian startup Community?
Ishita Yashvi - It is a matter of time that woman will start getting their due. Traditionally we have been a patriarchal society, and therefore men have had a head start. Having said that women are catching up. We need to win battle by battle and ensure woman get equal representation in the workforce and equal opportunity. From thereon it will be the natural next step. Just how we as a society have ensured education for women, soon more and more female driven start ups can be launched once we ensured equal opportunity for women in workforce.
ST - If someone is stopping women to become an entrepreneur what advice do you have for her?
Ishita Yashvi - If the business plan is conducive then I would strongly advice the person to take a plunge. It's important to have faith in oneself.