For a lot of women, mid-career is a challenging time. That’s when many women begin families, which start taking precedence over work. Some prefer to look for work from home opportunities, others seek part-time employment and many others take a few years off before returning to work.
But all this is easier said than done. The danger is that in the absence of choices, many women may end up permanently leaving the workforce, depriving them of a fulfilling career and the industry of talented workers.
To bridge this gap and empower women, Sairee Chahal in January 2014 co-founded Sheroes.in, which curates work from home jobs in India, is building a community of working women, helping them find mentors and resources. The focus is on women who are seeking a career along with a work-life balance.
Sairee Chahal also co-founded Fleximoms, India’s go to for flexible jobs and returning professionals.
“ I realized the need to address what looks like a reducing peer group as you grow into your career. SHEROES.in was set up with the view of converting the ‘talk’ about diversity into ‘action’ about diversity,” says Sairee.
Sheroes has since launched the Campus SHEROES program, the SHEROES Report, expanded the SHEROES community to 1100 locations and created many wins for members and corporates. Coming up next is the first SHEROES summit, to discuss key issues related to women at work.
Sairee says, “There are over 10,000 women who have found a work-life fit using our initiatives.” These include returning professionals, work-from-home freelancers, entrepreneurs, interns and corporate employees.
Apart from the job board, there are community meets, job fairs, special workshops and programs, coaching, mentoring, community reosurces to help women professionals.
There are over 300,000 women who are part of the network and have been associated with it. Interactions with the community include offline events, mentoring opportunities, program building and hiring interactions along with over a million member service touch points the network has generated.
“The response from women has been great and is constantly getting better as more and more women benefit from it. It took a little time to share the category and concept of a career space for women. Word of mouth, online and social media have been significant ways to reach women.”
The SHEROES report that the team compiles gives us great insights into women in the workforce. For instance, India has only 17 percent women in formal GDP workforce, only 5 percent women in leadership roles and our gender ranking globally is at 113 out of 136 countries. India also produces the maximum number of women graduates in the world, so there are more women who study and far less who work in formal workforce.
-Almost 48 percent women drop out of work before reaching mid levels and most do not come back. The loss of financial independence and loss of GDP value is both immense.
Today, over 1000 companies have experienced SHEROES.in and some of them have deep integration with their business plans now, Sairee says.
For example, Cleartax uses the SHEROES.in platform to build its remote customer support teams, women who are CAs and can help customers resolve complex tax filing queries. Other companies, including Principal Advisors, and Honeywell use SHEROES.in as a go-to for women professionals as partners, and employees.”
SHEROES.in team includes majority women, but a few good men too! The team includes engineers, coders, operations, digital marketing, and recruiters among others. It is still a 2-pizza team! We practice what we preach and there are many people who work from remote locations but still anchor large responsibilities.
There are many community members like that who use the platform and community as their support system as they pursue their choices and dreams.
“An amazing team, a vibrant community and a goal worth chasing – giving every Indian woman a dream of the career of her choice, that is our mantra,” says Sairee.
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- Social philosophy
- Sairee Chahal
- Gender studies
- Principal Advisors