NEW DELHI - Ms Sairee Chahal, the founder and CEO of SHEROES, has revolutionised the job scene for women in India.
Frustrated by the gender disparity in India, Ms Chahal created SHEROES in 2013. It is a digital platform that works towards creating and enhancing flexible work options for women from all walks of life.
A member of the SHEROES community can join as a job seeker, go on to interact with a mentor, identify her course of action, use the career resources to acquire an additional skill set and explore job possibilities. Established professionals can share their experiences, offer peer-to-peer mentor support and even post job offers.
“We have designed a support ecosystem that women can leverage to grow in their careers, relationships and other aspects of their lives,” she said.
The SHEROES app, which is gaining popularity, offers unique features such as a dedicated helpline for one-to-one counselling, operated by a team of counsellors and coaches who speak to women and offer them support, advice and resources.
So far, the digital platform has directly helped one million women with their career paths and work-life balance, and it aims to reach 100 million more in the next five years.
India has made international headlines in the past few years for cases of extreme sexual violence and discrimination. True to form, SHEROES hasn’t shied away from doing its part to tackle such issues.
“Through our communities and helpline we got a deeper understanding of the depth of harassment that women experience in the workplace," said Ms Chahal. "Our product SHE is a comprehensive prevention-based approach offered to businesses, comprising continuous training, compliance measures and a corporate helpline, covering all aspects of work - remote work, offsites, online communication and everyday work culture."
For her work, Ms Chahal has won awards and accolades, including the Cartier Award, Editor’s Choice for L’Oreal Femina Women’s Award and Most Powerful Women in Indian Business.
Despite SHEROES' success, Ms Chahal, who is also a mother, said it was not easy at the start.
“Women’s products and services have fallen into a ‘pink’ bucket. Persuading stakeholders to expand their thinking around this space in a way that it deeply benefits women was a challenge. But today, the tables have turned, with more businesses, thought leaders, and women themselves embracing this shift.”
As for other women considering starting their own projects, she offered this advice: “Start a business because that’s what who you are and because you want to make a difference. Don’t start a business to make money, because money could come much later than with a job.
"Start it for the right reason - to solve a problem, build a product, build a solution. And do something that you are passionate about.”