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India is ranked 121st among 131 countries in terms of Female Labor Force. Women are being kept out of an active workforce due to several reasons. This bothered Sairee Chahal who started Sheroes to deal with this dismal reality.

There is a saying that if you educate a girl, you educate a family. The same can be said of if you employ a girl, you employ and allow a family to progress. While education for girls remains a priority by the Indian Government, the future of the same women is not considered as crucial. Education is not enough to allow a girl or woman to take up a job. They need vocational and technical skills that will support them in their career. Infrastructure has a lot to catch up on for ensuring women get a safe education.

Any Indian institute or college, especially in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is highly populated by men. The poor facilities, lack of hostels, unsafe public transport and roads discourage several women and girls from considering a career in these fields. Women have to take a break after child birth to raise their child since a lot of companies don’t offer day care services. Indian Government levies heavy taxes on Creche centers and day care services. This makes them inaccessible to the middle class and lower class working women.

The agriculture sector is labor intensive and thus women don’t participate in it. These women also can’t avail of services such as day care or creche or house help.

Women who have to support their families or parents will take the nearest and safest job. They also have to handle going back to the bottom of the ladder once they come back from maternity leave. Men must be allowed paternity leave so they can share the responsibility of raising a child. This also allows the woman to get back to work faster than anticipated. Working women also choose to raise their kids and get back to work after a gap of many years. The cruel world of corporate sector gets brutal and most of these women don’t even get interviewed. Sairee Chahal noticed this discrimination and it filled her with anger.

A working woman and a high number of female employees can only mean good things for the Indian economy. Working mothers are most likely to hire household help or a cook, thus providing more employment to other women and men. Companies don’t pay or treat their female employees as fairly and highly as they do their male employees. Women think they don’t deserve high salaries and are conditioned to accept less. They don’t have any leverage nor do they have any support from the Government. Sairee founded Sheroes with the specific aim of allowing working women to get back in the field.  A community platform for women, freelancers, educators and professionals to get back in the game. It lets any employer search for talented women who need a second chance or just a break through a women’s only platform and organization.

A former journalist, Sairee saw the struggles faced by working women in unconventional fields such as media. The disparity of pay and support enraged her. Through Sheroes, women get a fair chance at being considered for jobs they normally wouldn’t. Interns, jobs, freelance projects, collaborations, research, education, community meets are some of the other things Sheroes offers. Sheroes is a take on the word ‘Heroes.’ Using this word makes women feel empowered and worthy. The pressure on women to have it all- a family, children, work and social life can be excruciating.  and Sairee want to to do their bit by lending a guiding hand. Sairee also founded Fleximoms, a chance for mothers to work flexible jobs that let them take care of their family at the same time. Sheroes has helped 1 million women since 2013 and aims at providing jobs to 100 million women in the coming years.

The definition of Sheroes can very well be of a working woman. Someone who is handling work, personal life, family and children.

Featured Photo: A woman labour works on a potato fiel by Shykh Seraj under CC BY 2.0

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