I started my career as a trainee journalist on a regional television channel around eighteen years ago. Since Kerala has a rich tradition of empowering women, I didn't face any hurdle while starting my media career. In my first organisation, I had to perform various roles in television news production. That gave me a thorough idea about my profession.
I have realised that it is not just the lack of opportunity, but one's unwillingness to take challenges that obstruct self-development. I took the challenge of starting the media company 'Likes and Shares Pvt Ltd' which runs the digital media channeliam.com in 2016. The intention was to support startups, MSMEs and entrepreneurs by creating a platform to showcase themselves and their products.
We live in a digitally connected world where people are overloaded with information. But the startup ecosystem requires a precise platform to connect and grow. That is what our channel intends to do. My self led initiative has received a good response from my peers.
As a founder, I have never felt that being a woman is an obstacle in leading a firm. Instead, I have experienced that our society gives more opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Whenever I meet female entrepreneurs working in various sectors as part of my reporting job, I get the vibe of a progressive change taking place in our society.
Also, the government is supporting women entrepreneurs with incubation, funding and mentoring opportunities. Private agencies and organisations also give such help. However, many have complained that most of the time entrepreneurs don't get notified about the facilities available to them
While interacting with many women leaders, I have felt that there is no point in comparing women with men. Because women are power engines. Although women getting opportunities to perform or to lead is still a stigma in many societies.
But the success of female folk should not be measured through competition but co-creation. Women are good at multitasking and have more chances than men in the current social structure. Family restrictions and responsibilities might be pulling them back from exploring their passion. So, girls should be educated about the difference between professional and personal goals.
Women are excellent executors. Look around, we can see many women with just primary education excellently handling household activities, that too within the given time. Women are naturally good in cash management and timely execution.
That is one of the reasons why they shine as head of the organisations. In India, we have programmes like beti bachao beti padhao to bring girls forward. Aren't we witnessing a sweep of change within the last two and a half decades? Now, we have facilities to help women who want to study further and become independent.
Moreover, we are living in a society that would react if a woman is prohibited from pursuing her passion because of any reason, be it social or religious ones.
Women entrepreneurship is not something to be created. Let startups grow at a place where a good idea can be scaled up using technology. There are funding sources and opportunities for that. However, our society still needs to improve its attitude towards women taking a leadership position. It happens in two ways' either at the level of policy inclusion or at a familial level.
The policy change has made the inclusion of women in civic bodies and the education of women mandatory. The lack of encouragement from families happens mostly because of religious restrictions. To overcome that, women should take the step.
Let there be campaigns that equip them to realise their need and fight for that, and let our media propagate those ideas. I hope technology will take the lead role in opening opportunities for women when the digital media gets power, reach and accessibility, overtaking the current space of the traditional media.
What our society requires are determined women who are a step ahead in life and inspire everyone around. Equality for women doesn't mean competing with men. Both genders are excellent in their own manners. So, identifying one's ability and working towards to excel in that would be the best option a woman could opt for.
Note: This series #SheLeads is in collaboration with the US Consulate General Chennai as a commemoration of Women's Equality Day.
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