Our most recent Curated Networking Event brought together 10 women from diverse industries, each one using digital to grow and scale their ventures and businesses in unique ways.
Some, like Shloka Mehta, Sanna Vohra and Khrisha Shah are building digital platforms that connect people and opportunities, while others like Jagriti Choudhary and Radhika Gupta, are using social media and digital marketing as the primary means to engage with customers. Payal Mulchandani gets her hands full with ample amounts of data, for which she relies on analytics to make sense out of it. Meghna Girhotra is building a community both online and offline, using the power of social networks. Then there’s Bhakti Mehta who is distributing fresh food to hungry customers by relying on the distribution power of technology. Reema Sengupta and Saily Patre are playing with digital media and creating visual content to tell stories. And these are just small pieces that come together to form a very big and dynamic picture.
Our aim was to create an intimate space for them to share stories, explore issues and propose solutions to some of the biggest challenges they’ve faced. To that end, we selected women from quite distinct fields and professions, to bring fresh perspectives to the table, and to provoke new conversations. Sharing cross industry experiences was eye-opening and insightful and we’ve captured some of the most common challenges and the most useful solutions presented, for others interested, to learn from. Below we’ve summarised them into 3 distinct issues, keep reading to know what these are.
Women in tech and digital businesses are often typecast as less serious and experienced than their male peers. Being questioned about their martial status and age is common, and is a hindrance to getting investment or strong strategic partnerships. Often issues of safety, security and cultural norms mean that women can’t work in certain areas or till late in the evening, particularly in the social sector. Moreover, women are assumed to be more ‘creative’ and less ‘technical,’ again resulting in certain jobs being offered to more men than women – like in film, advertising or catering.
- Get the women in your team to believe that they don’t have to be disorganised, and it isn’t the ‘natural way’ of doing things. (Shloka)
- Focus on letting your work, services and products speak for themselves. Ensure high quality and the results will come. (Khrisha & Sanna)
- Building a loyal and trusting female audience can work wonders. If they’re naturally inclined to use your product, then celebrate that. (Radhika, Jagriti & Saily)
- Educate and empower the women in your company to upskill themselves using online resources and easily accessible tools. (Reema, Meghna & Payal)
- Bonus – people are more surprised to hear about women in tech who are succeeding and excelling. Use it to get more coverage and attention!
When selecting the best candidate for a job, often the choice comes down to a male or female candidate. Women get questioned about if they’re planning to have children, when and how many children they want to have, if they’re married or single and other personal questions that affect the hiring decision. Companies often don’t want to invest in female resources because they’re afraid of lower return on this investment. How should both women leaders and women candidates approach and navigate this issue?
- Offer your female employees flexible and mobile working options. Take advantage of digital tools and technologies to allow them to work in ways that balance their various pressures and commitments. (Shloka & Sanna)
- Choose the best candidate for a specific role regardless of their gender. For example in there are fewer men in fashion, but often women are more receptive to male salesmen. (Bhakti & Radhika)
- Inversely, women can be more patient when it comes to training or other tasks, so for such jobs they are more appropriate. (Payal & Shloka)
- Again investing small amounts of money in training women can go a long way. Online resources are a great way to amplify low investments. (Reema & Khrisha)
With such an overwhelming abundance of content available on the internet at the moment, how do companies balance curation with scale? Maintaining an authentic voice, personalization and a sense of quality is increasingly challenging, especially when users can’t distinguish between paid or sponsored advertisements compared with genuine reach.
- Create mechanisms to crowdsource quality control and review. Set a human interface in place, but give it the ability to grow by leveraging technology (Khrisha)
- Set a clear aim and mission for your company, and adhere to it religiously when deciding what content should go out. (Sanna)
- Use analytics and digitize valuable data to make strategic decisions about what to curate and put out. These insights are much more powerful than arbitrary decision making. (Payal & Jagriti)
- Technology is revolutionizing retail because it makes logistics easier, and processes can be automated. It also allows a lot more customization and personalization which can be done at scale. (Bhakti)
- Develop personal relationships with your fans via social networks. People start to engage with the real you, and have meaningful conversations about your work. You can educate them about your offerings and thought process in larger numbers as well. (Reema, Meghna & Saily)
If you find this useful, feel free to reach out to any of our participants to take the conversation further, pick their brains and brainstorm more ideas. While all the issues and solutions presented here might not be perfectly applicable to your field, industry or profession, we are certain it can spark a new way of thinking or a unique way of addressing something you might be facing at your own workplace.
Do you have similar experiences to share with us? Do you want to be a part of our next event or campaign related to this topic? We’d love to hear more and share your learnings with our network. Just write to us at email@example.com with the Subject Title ‘The Future of Digital is Female – Personal Experiences’, and we’ll get back to you!
All images used in this article are by the talented Ashwin Gokhale, who is a passionate travel and wildlife photographer based in Pune. Chat with him on Dysco to collaborate or network.