I recently was invited as a speaker to Women Techmakers at the Google office in Gurgaon, India. I know nothing about coding, even though I’ve tried to learn and not much about cloud, anyway- but I knew what the focus of my talk would be- entrepreneurship for women.
And that’s exactly what it was. I spoke about my venture AQAYA, the challenges that women in business face and business model generation. I wanted to tell those 100 college kids, so desperately, that the stereotypes and negativity that has been grilled into their young brains is such a farce. My head was clear, and I had so much to talk about- I wanted them to realize that even though I’m only 21 and a woman, I have got my feet grounded and am striving towards financial independence; and that they could do it, too. All you gotta have, is the burning desire to really, really want it; and want it bad enough that you can’t resist taking steps toward making it happen.
I feel women in general, globally, prioritize families, marriage and kids so much that they forget that they have personal responsibilities too- they too can have a career, and they can be as smart, competent and driven, if not more, as men. Not everyone can have the same goals, not everyone wants a career- similarly, not every woman wants kids. Women can do both too, yes. One question that really bothers me is that why do we never expect men to leave the workforce when they get married or have kids? Because that’s just so obvious right? When are we going to think of women the same way? Why is a non-working man a stigma in the society but not a non-working woman?
As I have meetings, sometimes, I feel that at the first meeting, people are glazing over my shoulder when I talk about projections, financials and business systems. Maybe, they’re wondering why and how I got to the other side of the table, maybe they’ve already decided that I have no future and maybe they’ve exiled me into marriage and kids already. It disgusts me that society categorizes women into 3 categories: wife, daughter or lover. Why can’t women be leaders, pioneers or game-changers?
You know why so many women lack the ambition and drive? It’s because powerful women are so few that girls in middle school start accepting that they aren’t born to lead. With such few examples to aspire to, women start doubting their abilities, start believing in stereotypes, and quit. Warren Buffett, once stated, that one of the reasons for his great success was that he was only competing with half of the population. Conditions for women can only improve, when there are more women behind the decision making processes and leading. (Read ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg- she addresses these issues so truthfully in her book.) Only then, can we expect fairness and rightful representation.
The crowd that I was addressing was mostly full of developers, and I could only think of one question to ask them- Why, even though, they’re equipped with the most sought for skill (i.e. coding), were they holding themselves back? I personally don’t do any coding, but here I am, about to launch my venture in 2 weeks- so believe me when I tell you- that you are adequate. You’ll have all the resources you need, just start talking to people, get to know what they do and take genuine interest in learning. The networks that we are a part of really are incredible, everybody knows somebody who might know another somebody- and those somebody’s can end up being really useful. So, exploit your network!
I wish to inspire dreamers to become doers- to make people see that action cures everything. Take actions to achieve the goals, believe that nothing is impossible and strive to excel. What I’ve learnt during my journey is that you really are never going to be ‘completely ready’ for what you want to do, you just need to GET STARTED and get it done.
You are responsible for your own success. You have nothing to fear and everything to become, so go on, go ahead and take charge, NOW.