From inspiration and controversy, to celebs and how-to's, here are the top 25 stories that HerStory showcased that touched hearts and caught our readers' attention in 2018.
It’s December and everyone is talking about plans for the New Year and their goals for 2019.
'Where did the time go? There was so much going on and the time just flew by,' - every year we hear this very expression from almost everyone and well, I feel the same way. To address that, slow down, take a moment and reflect upon the year that was - with its highs and lows. More importantly, look back at what you learnt this year.
That’s exactly what we did at HerStory. We went down memory lane to capture some special moments - events, conversations, milestones, and stories. We looked at everything we did and how some of the conversations - like #MeToo - were life-changing. We opened our inboxes to stories of sexual harassment, abuse and stood up with the sisterhood.
We cheered for Priyanka Chopra for not letting anyone tell how to live her life, we poured over books by Sudha Menon and Michelle Obama - from talking about sex at 50 to Becoming who we are meant to be. We also looked at women around us, working hard, chasing dreams, spreading their wings to fly, fighting for justice and being there for each other.
And of course, as storytellers, we captured some of these and shared them with our readers. Here are the Top 25 stories from HerStory our readers loved this year. The list includes everything from habits, and advice to travel and robotics.
1) Why every girl must be educated
A girl who has education can change the world. And this year, we could not have found a better example than 24-year-old medical student Shahnaaz Khan. She became the youngest and the most educated woman her village had ever seen. As the village Sarpanch, Shehnaz used her own example to show why it is important for every girl to be educated. Find out more about this HerStory champion here.
2) The winning habits of women entrepreneurs
Success is not just about hard work, and perseverance but also about habits. Habits are a key to success. Find out what are some of the winning habits of these women entrepreneurs. As you look forward to 2019 you can take a leaf from their book and cultivate your winning habits. Read more here.
3) Wow! Wealth via WhatsApp
Other than the good morning messages and forwards that WhatsApp is mostly used for, Shanmuga Priya shows how it can be used to make money. And if you thought Saree is passe, she has shown that Bharat is into tech and sarees, both. Sitting in Chennai she has been making millions by selling sarees via WhatsApp. She has hundreds of resellers in her network and her business is thriving. Find out how she did it and you can too.
4) These 20 somethings are inspiring
Age is no bar when it comes to starting up. These 20-somethings have a risk-taking appetite that would put most of us to shame. They are embracing the daily challenges of entrepreneurship and falling up and getting back on their feet to make their dreams come true. Get inspired!
5) How to be your own knight in shining armour
If something that women in the 21st century do well, it is to not wait for knights in shining armour but bring out their own swords and head into battle. No wonder then they have some great advice to share and impart. Five women showed HerStory how you can make it and ace it. Find out how you can your their advice to be your own gladiator.
6) Wovoyage shows you can travel alone
Ensuring the Incredible in “Incredible India” for women travellers, entrepreneur Rashmi Chadha is on a mission. The 32-year-old is the Founder and CEO of Wovoyage, a travel startup that’s making sure women travellers travel safely and free of stress and hassle. Heading out for a vacation this December? Find out how Rashmi can help you make the most of your travel.
7) Women entrepreneurs shining in Bihar
Breaking the tag of the ‘backward state’ these women entrepreneurs from Bihar have shown that despite taboos, perceptions and challenges, women can thrive anywhere. While the mindsets continue to be an impediment, these women are definitely clearing the road for others to rise and thrive. Read the story here.
8) You can be bootstrapped and profitable too
Chinu Kala started her career by selling knife sets door-to-door and now her company has a turnover in crores despite being bootstrapped. She started her jewellery business with a small investment and has shown that where there is a will, there's a way. VC money is not the way to grow and if you have a great plan and are focused, you can succeed in a competitive market too. Read more about Chinu’s bootstrapped business here.
9) An app at 16!
Find out how a 16-year-old from Saharanpur quit school to build an app - and not just any app but a top one. We have heard of numerous entrepreneurs dropping off from college but this one tops it all. Harshita Arora is not your average teenager and that’s what makes her story unique. Read her story here.
10) The bold and the inspiring
On Women’s Day, HerStory shared a list of entrepreneurs who embody the new India, which is bold, willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes. These are women who have carved a niche for themselves and are role models for many aspiring entrepreneurs. They are truly the GirlBoss.
11) It's the code, The Friday Code
Digital marketing is not everyone's cup of tea. You either know it or don’t. With a decade of experience in the field, Mansi Khanna decided to start a digital marketing company and like with most entrepreneurs, she dived in after discussions over cups of coffee. And the rest, as they say, is history. The Friday Code is bootstrapped and Mansi is finding new ways to scale. Find out more about her journey here.
12) Robotics for children
Most times mothers know what’s best for their children, but at others you can trust the techies too. Chaitali Shah co-founded RoboKart which allows children to explore, experiment and learn robotics in the right way, and thereby develop STEM in the country. She started off while she was still in college but plans to make it big. In her words, she wants to “be the next BYJU’s.” Here’s her story.
13) Fintech for everyone
As a young girl, she wanted to change the world, and create an impact. Today she is doing just that. An Economics graduate from Yale University, Priyanka Kanwar is helping people spread their wings and fulfil their dreams through her venture Kite. The fintech company provides Indian businesses accessible, secure and modern finance. Find out more about Kite and what Priyanka plans to do here.
14) Trailblazers of India
Google Doodle opened to us the stories of women who, way before social media and tech disruption, were trendsetters and path breakers. One such name is Anandi Gopal Joshi. India’s first woman doctor, she was married at the age of 9 to a man three times her age. The loss of her child at the age 14 fuelled her desire to become a physician. Find out more about her inspirational journey here.
15) Wedding bells calling
Social media has been buzzing with the wedding pictures of Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas. People can’t seem to get enough of weddings, after all, who doesn’t like to be a part of wedding festivities. Manvi Gandotra loves to chronicle weddings and has travelled widely to make sure people have their happily ever after moment captured for eternity. Find out what Manvi has done as a wedding photographer.
16) From corporate to entrepreneurship
Many people quit their corporate jobs to start up, including some of the very successful women in the ecosystem today. You will be surprised to see some of the names on this list and leading entrepreneurs who left a corporate career. Well, we at HerStory aren’t complaining. Find out who they are here.
17) Deep learning for health tech
Using deep learning, Mumbai-based Pooja Rao's venture Qure.ai is addressing the need for affordable and accessible diagnostics. A doctor-cum-data scientist, Pooja aims to make X-rays and MRIs affordable.
18) Women scientists we love
While we keep harping that we need more and more girls to study STEM, the truth of the matter is that it was saree-clad, gajra-wearing women scientists who were the force behind ISRO’s Mars Mission. Women have for decades thrived in the field of science and have done great work. We may not hear about them or their achievements but here are a few whose work has truly been inspirational.
19) A bodybuilder in a hijab
Your choices define you. Bodybuilder Majiziya Bhanu chose to participate in the women’s category of a Mr Kerala bodybuilding competition and she chose to do so wearing her hijab. Standing beside other women, she won in the category making a point that we can be who we want to be. This 23-year-old has shown that nothing can stand in the way of something that you truly desire. Read her inspiring story here.
20) Making it count
If you want to succeed, you need to sweat it out. Amisha Vora knows a thing or two about scale. After all, she grew the institutional business of one of India’s top stockbroking firms 36-fold in six years. Find out how she did it. Click here to read her story.
21) The organic way
Kanika and Kushika Sharma took the untrodden path and set an organic resort up in the hills in Uttarakhand on their ancestral land. Not just that, they encouraged locals to adopt organic farming methods too. Find out how they transformed a piece of land into an organic wonderland. Read their story here.
22) For the love of the tiger
This is the story about the “Tiger Princess”. Latika Nath holds a doctorate in guess what? That’s right - tigers. A qualified wildlife biologist, she has also authored a book for children titled - Takdir, the tiger cub. Find out more about her tryst with tigers. Click here to read.
23) Juggling is the key to success
She is a juggler or that’s how she likes to see herself. From kitchen to the nursery - Aditi Mammen Gupta finds the perfect balance when it comes to her gourmet spreads and sauces. Find out with HerStory about what she does and how. Read the story here.
24) Padma award - women who inspire
This one is all about celebrating women. Of the 85 Padma awardees only 14 were women. From the oldest yoga instructor to a 23-year-old weightlifter to folk singers and a novelist. This is one list of accomplished women that is a must read.
25) Have feet, will travel
This one is for the wanderer in each one of us. Some of us travel, and others resist finding ways and excuses to not explore the world. These women wanderers will give you some serious travel goals. So time to discover the traveller in you through their journey. Click here to read more.
Tell us which was your favourite on this list. What else did you enjoy reading on HerStory this year?