Pushing the envelope: Start-up moms thrive in the entrepreneurial space
No matter how efficient a woman is at the workplace, the day she becomes pregnant, the general perception changes. While on one hand many employers fear a shift in women’s priority, families also expect women to put their careers on the back seat. But times are a changing, and with major disruption taking place in the digital entrepreneurial sphere, women are emerging as game-changing players. Many of them are doing so along with being competent mothers as well. Here are a few such women who, rather than aligning themselves to the popular narrative, are creating one of their own.
Take founder of NewsMinute Dhanya Rajendran for example, for whom pregnancy did not diminish her passion for work. She was working as South Chief with TimesNow when she got pregnant.
I worked till the last day of my labor. Not because they did not give me any maternity leave, but because I was very passionate about my work. Though I must emphasise that it all depends from person to person. My child was two months old at the time when I was covering the elections in Tamil Nadu and I carried my baby along when I had to travel for Jayalalitha’s interview.
And she is not alone in her commitment to her work. Shaili Chopra, founder of popular websites ShethePeople.TV and Golfing Indian, shares her crazy motherhood journey:
I was 8 months pregnant when I did the biggest event for my startup at the time back in 2013. Who said ‘I am pregnant not brain dead’ ? That totally resonates with me. I finished the last chapter of my book on the morning I went into labour. I have never been more productive (literally too!) than I was during my pregnancy. I set up another startup after the birth of my baby. Personally I am driven to believe there is some magical potion that makes you work even harder after you go through pregnancy. Or perhaps it was that I didn’t want anyone to think that I need special attention or care. Or that I wouldn’t give those many hours or need a special roster. Whatever it was – it worked brilliantly for me. Workaholics are workaholics.
Anisha Singh, founder of MyDala, raised her first round of funding when she was 7 months pregnant. At a panel discussion on women entrepreneur at the government’s event ‘Startup India‘ moderated by SheThePeople she said:
I really challenged my investor’s imagination because when I started raising, I was seven months pregnant. It was a special kind of stupid to go out there and do that. Though when you look at the global stats, you know that women led businesses do not have adequate funding.
For Shivani Kapoor of Intellitots, the transition from ’employee’ to ’employer’ happened with motherhood. At the Startup Expo, she said:
It was when I had my child, that the story changed. It forced me, and I know it forces every woman, to rethink how to manage the rest of your career, your family, yourself.
More than anything, the pressures of motherhood can be challenging, no matter how rebellious you feel. Our systems are such that women are made to feel guilty for having a day job outside of caregiving. To this, Dhanya Rajendran shares the unique outcome of her offbeat choices:
It is not easy; it is in fact quote difficult. Thankfully, I had my husband and my family’s support. Both my husband and I got through the initial days by taking turns in staying back at home. When I decided to start NewsMinute, he offered to take a backseat in his career, and focus more at home. There is no point guilt tripping. Whenever I find the time, I try my compensate not the amount I’ve missed. It is not how much time you have with your kid, its what you do in that time.
Moral of the story? So go out there, and do what you gotta do. Your motherhood isn’t what weighs your ambition down, it is how you look at it yourself.