20 March 2020
Do we need to have sisterhoods to support women entrepreneurs in India?
The definitions of sisterhood in the dictionary is “the feeling of kinship with and closeness to a group of women or all women.” Today the need to form our own sisterhood is a widely discussed topic. With the me-too movement, gender inequality and the desire of more young women to succeed in a still male dominated world how does one go about forming their own sisterhood?
In my experience, I’ve seen more men mentor and sponsor women in the workplace than women, and most successful women entrepreneurs have had supportive men behind them. So how do we change that going forward and have more women support women?
1. Accept a woman’s choice without judging her. As a working woman, I’ve seen several of my peers judge a stay at home mom or a woman who has decided to take a career break for family reasons. My belief is that if you want to develop a sisterhood in your community, you to first start accepting without judging. Just as we accept that it should be a woman’s choice to work, similarly we should also accept that it should be a woman’s choice to not work. It’s only by first accepting that then you can then bring about understanding.
2. Empower women entrepreneurs through better women networks. Most women groups focus their conversations around gender inequality, the glass ceiling and work life balance. While all the issues are important dialogues to be had, we need to start moving beyond these and make women networking events, also about serious business. They need to be a place where women can connect, find business mentors and learn about funding options for business ideas in India among other topics. Networks need to not only be about supporting but also empowering women to get better opportunities.
3. Start small and build it up. Forming sisterhoods does not need to be a big project. It can start by you mentoring a friend wanting to re-enter the workforce or advising a first-time women entrepreneur. It can even start by a few women entrepreneurs forming a forum to exchange ideas and discuss business challenges that they face on a regular basis. It just means starting where-ever you are.
So, if you believe that sisterhood is important contribute to this discussion in your own small way, as it is these small steps that will promote women entrepreneurs in India in a big way.