“I have asked for support, I have pushed that change.” Sapna Chadha grew up in a household with a working mom who was a coder. And so ambition was a central piece of her upbringing and an asset every woman should have. But growing up professionally, she has had to make choices. Sometimes they came with struggles of striking balance between personal and work. Today as a key leader at Google, she asserts it’s very important to push boundaries.
And stop thinking one is not good enough. That guilt, yes the same one we all face, was very much a part of Sapna’s life too. With SheThePeople’s Shaili Chopra
, this badass mom of two shares her life hacks to keep up with reskilling, leadership, motherhood and more.
Biggest realisation is that you can’t do everything and be everything to everyone – Sapna Chadha
Shaili: How is the internet changing the women’s economy?
Sapna: The internet is an enabler and it creates equality. The tools are there. When you set up a business on the internet, no one knows whether it’s a man or a woman. Like the story of Padmavati who set up an enterprise for making lemongrass oil. Now she has a factory and is figuring out how she will grow it. I have also met other women who have set up sanitary napkin manufacturing plants. Now they realise actually all the information on how to get a license to startup, how to get equity or their investment, all of it comes from the internet. And they don’t need to leave their home to get this.
Would you say there are shared solutions for women on the internet? Have we got a sisterhood going?
Sapna: I won’t call it sisterhood yet. I think we are early in that journey. But there are programs like SheThePeople, there are women’s accelerators and there are more role models that exist. We are a far cry from seeing this. This is a global problem. So if you look at women and entrepreneurship you would find when it comes to getting investment or money. Women reach a ceiling in terms of revenue and contribution and getting investment. There is always something holding women back.
Women have gremlins that often say to them they aren’t great at this, or someone else is better. Women aren’t successful at self promoting themselves – Sapna Chadha
You are constantly jet setting, in a different country every week, how do you manage this with your role and being a mom to two. I think we all can learn from that capability of finding a balance.
Sapna: We are all built in a way that we know what drives us. Biggest realisation is that you can’t do everything and be everything to everyone. Sometimes it’s about dropping the guilt and pushing yourself as much as you and not forgetting to take care of yourself too. Guilt always kept me back. It would hold me back from being my full productive self. Self doubt is the number one thing that holds women back. I think women, sometimes we can say the system isn’t fair or there is too much pressure on us, but we forget that actually it’s also how we think about, in our minds, self doubt is the worst thing you can do. I learnt this earlier on, I said no to something I didn’t to. The things I said yes to have catapulted me in certain places. I actually feel my daughter is better off having a mom like me, and my son is better for his future wife who will thank me someday for what I have been able to show.
At the Digital Women Awards we had the I Am Remarkable workshop, women shared their challenges, their emotions, their doubts and how they perceive rejection and much more in a threadbare way. How can we remind ourselves every day that we are truly remarkable.
Sapna: Women are not very good at putting themselves forward unless they are hundred per cent qualified for something. I think the stat that I saw that women won’t apply for a job unless they believe they are 90% qualified for the requirements. Men would put their name in the ring even if they were 40% qualified for the job. That shows how even if women are ambitions they have gremlins that often say to them they aren’t great at this, or someone else is better. Women aren’t successful at self promoting themselves.
Watch the video for the full conversation.