A woman who stands for women and works for women…Sairee Chahal has shaped her career around creating a drastic difference in the lives of the women of our country. She has impacted and helped more than a million women via her platform SHEROES.
The name itself suggests her belief in all women being the real heroes of the world. To manifest what each of them deserves has been Chahal’s goal.
So what does Sheroes exactly do?
It is a community platform for women founded in 2014. It curates and lists work-from-home jobs. These jobs enable women of India to have successful careers while still taking care of their homes.
The key here is that the platform presents a Career network for all – women who are just looking to start their careers and to those too, who have considerable experience. Chahal says “Everyone needs a network” and “everyone needs mentorship”.
At SHEROES, women can learn about what trends are there in the market and what kinds of jobs exist for them. They get access to skills and mentorship. Coaches and industry experts volunteer their time to interact and guide through confusion and queries.
Relevant sources of information are presented on the platform. Fairs, workshops and sharing of resources help women discover their callings and opportunities.
So what drew Chahal towards this path of women empowerment?
Chahal recalls herself as coming from a small town too and realizing the gender gaps in the Indian society of the time.
She says that for women, their careers ended up being somewhat divergent, much of a ‘maze than a ladder’. This was despite India being amongst the countries to produce the maximum number of graduate women in the world!
The gender gaps in India whether historic gaps or societal gaps are a reality even today that everyone is more than aware of. Chahal thus wanted to put women’s careers on the map too and fill in this gap.
In fact, she realized this more so while running her firm SAITA Consulting Pvt Ltd in 2006 with her partner Anita Vasudeva.
Chahal recalls: “When we were running the consulting business, we ended up hiring a lot of women. It was not intentional. However, the number of women who wanted to join us far exceeded the numbers we could employ. This got us thinking,” “We soon realized that there was a gap between what women want and what mainstream industries seek when it comes to work”
From this realization came into emergence Chahal’s first women-centric platform – ‘Fleximoms’.
It was meant for providing flexible employment models for mothers and returning professionals. It actually went on to become the largest aggregator of genuine flexible jobs in India! They worked with organisations directly to provide specialized skills in terms of human resources.
In fact, it was only after the birth of her first child, that Chahal really understood the requirement of flexible jobs for a woman. So many women she says, drop off from their careers after becoming a mother due to stringent work setups.
Chahal says “You don’t realise the need until it hits you in the face”. Fleximoms not only provided for flexible jobs but also filled skill gaps via training those who had left their careers midway.
Thus Chahal has come a long way in using technological entrepreneurship to fight the gender disparity in India. She has changed the game for women. She adds to their aspirations and achievements all over the country while following her own entrepreneurial dreams.
Chahal’s life before Fleximoms and SHEROES?
Post-Graduation degree from the reputed IMT Ghaziabad and M.Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), she was all set to achieve only great things in her career ahead.
She started off as a journalist. In 1999 she ventured into her first startup, the Newslink Services. She was also associated with humungous corporate such as the CII and the executive-search firm of Heidrick and Struggles.
Thus apparent even from her earlier years as a working professional, Chahal was very much in control of her life and responsibilities. Today she balances work and home brilliantly and also indulges in varied interests to keep growing as a person.
In fact, Chahal is a popular TED speaker, known to inspire women and people at large all over the globe. Her social media following is a validation of how many respect and look up to her for the person she is.
As for formal awards and recognitions, she is a Devi Award winner and the Femina Achievers Award winner amongst many others.
She is also the convener of India’s largest women’s forum – the ‘SHEROES Summit.’
From us at Inventiva, more power to this woman of steel. She truly embodies the essence of womanhood and working towards a cause.