Awkward Questions women founders face
It’s a worldwide challenge and not just the challenge in a particular country that women founders have to overcome in the bias that they have to face everyday. But the women continue to shine inspite of all the odds as their startups turn unicorn. However the assumptions that are gender based are not only restricted to men. Even women are of the opinion that all administrative and managerial roles are to be handled by men while the woman is best fit to be a receptionist, which is extremely sad. In startups too, we observe a similar situation. While at times this bias is subconscious, other times it would be blatant. We look at Medha Mukherjee who is the founder of Feministaa Media, a platform to support women achievers. She was always ready to take challenges head on. But what she was not ready to accept and rightfully so were the challenges that arose owing to gender.
In fact, she recalled that while she was looking for a larger office space in South Extension in New Delhi, the property owners could somehow never digest that she was the company’s founder and was very interested to know who the actual manager of the company’s affairs. Sumedha Naik who is the founder of Syntellect adds that women have to prove that they are hungry for business risks. Men on the other hand come into the world with their fearless quality to take risks it seems. However she also states that not all men think like this.
She proudly speaks of her husband who has been very supportive and also her first employee who is the CTO (Chief- Technical Officer). Women who have co – founders as men also bear the same brunt. Kanika Gupta Shori, co-founder and COO of the real estate leader and fintech aggregator named Square Yards understood that the male honchos of the real estate world were uncomfortable in her presence too often. Her husband who was a banker joined her soon and he was the front face when a lot of people felt more at ease to speak to a man rather than Kanika. She was absolutely fine that her husband managed the development of business while she handled processes, HR and operations. Both husband and wife worked together to achieve the end objective in a smart way keeping in mind the societal norms or dogmas.
There are many senior male workers who feel it hurts their ego to work under female bosses and if the lady is younger in age, matters seem to be at its worst for the male ego. So hiring a senior lady becomes a matter to reckon with, for the older man who is a reportee. This was the experience of Neha Bagaria, the founder of JobsForHer. Mansplaining is another challenge which Medha Mukherjee faced firsthand. A new techie she had recruited went on ranting about cloud storage whereas he was recruited to design a website to better the experience of the user. He was cut short in his lectures as it was completely irrelevant. When this fellow was delaying the project and he was questioned by Medha, he was very smart to say that she would not even understand so it was no use telling her.
It’s high time that the employer and the employee both realise that solution to problems are gender agnostic and so is leadership. This would result in better deliverables and a very healthy work environment.
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Square Yards is a technology-enabled, global real estate aggregator and India’s largest player for primary residential real estate. It’s subsidiary Square Capital is one of the largest marketplace for secured mortgages in India. Square Yards platform offers an integrated consumer experience & covers the full real-estate journey from search, discovery to research, transactions, home loans and post-sales service – fully integrating buyers to an extensive network of 500+ partner real estate developers, and 90+ banks & NBFCs. Square Yards is led by accomplished professionals, ex-bankers, and Ivy school alumni and is backed by the competence of more than 2500 employees in 30 cities and ten countries.