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Vatika UK Launches #UntieYourFears Campaign

Heritage, South Asian Hair Care Brand, Vatika UK, launches #UntieYourFears campaign to raise awareness around public sexual harassment. A feature for Asian Lite International by columnist Riccha Grrover.

Continuing to advocate women empowerment and to challenge sexist and misogynistic behaviour patterns that have become normalised in society, heritage, South Asian hair care brand, Vatika UK, has launched a new campaign that aims to highlight and initiate conversations around public street harassment, entitled #UntieYourFears.

Public Street harassment (PSH) is a form of harassment that is directed at someone in a public space without their consent. 75 per cent of girls in the UK, some as young as 12, have experienced some form of public harassment in their lifetime. 97 per cent of 18-24 year olds have been sexually harassed in public, while 80 per cent of women of all ages in the UK have experienced public sexual harassment.

Public street harassment is not limited to actions or comments that have sexual connotations. It often includes homophobic and transphobic slurs and hateful comments regarding disability. Recipients include people of all genders but women are more commonly victims of harassment by men.

Furthermore, South Asians frequently experience various forms of abuse, including insults based on their race, religion or ethnicity. However, reporting rates in South Asian communities are statistically lower due to a number of cultural norms that exist, inhibiting people from coming forward. There is also a clear lack of awareness and understanding of what constitutes harassment and sexual abuse and when it manifests in casual forms we often let it pass as a societal norm.

Common forms of street harassment include unwanted sexualised comments; provocative gestures; staring; stalking; beeping the horn; wolf-whistling; indecent exposure; persistent sexual advances ;and touching or grabbing by strangers. The impact and consequences of public sexual harassment can often be long term for the victims, feeling fear, anxiety, panic and depression after long periods of being exposed to harassment. This often forces victims to change habits by avoiding night time socialising; changing their clothes to look more masculine; wearing their hair up; and even changing jobs or moving home.

The British government has now backed a law that will criminalise sexual harassment in the streets, introducing a bill that will make it a specific offence.

#UntieYourFears marks the next chapter to follow Vatika UK’s award-winning and visionary
 #BeVisible and #StrongerRoots campaigns, which signified game-changing moments in the South Asian personal care industry that aim to empower women. The #UntieYourFears campaign features four videos specifically highlighting common forms of public sexual harassment: catcalling, usually sexual in tone and manner, that is a form of objectification and intimidation; unwanted touching of a person’s hair, body or clothing; intrusive staring or persistent leering that is sexual in nature; and unwanted pressing against another person in a sexual manner and unwanted physical contact.

The campaign’s central message is to empower women; raise awareness to identify different scenarios of street harassment; encourage women to share their experiences; start conversations; and advocate the public call out this behaviour when witnessed on the streets. It has been conceptualised and created by award-winning, brand marketing agency, Ethnic Reach.

Speaking about the #UntieYourFears campaign, Zakir Mansoori, Business Head UK & Europe, Dabur International says, “Women empowerment and gender equality are central brand missions for us at Vatika UK. It is unacceptable that, in modern society, public harassment targeting women or persons based on their race, religion, ability, sexual or gender identity is as commonplace and normalised as it is. Our aim with the #UntieYourFears campaign is to call out public harassment that has become so casually entrenched in daily life. Its consequences can be long term and far reaching for victims, and perpetrators need to know that this is intolerable behaviour. As a society, we need to call out this behaviour when we see it; we need to stand in solidarity with women and recipients of public harassment; and we need to start having these conversations to bring a stop to this behaviour.”

Roshni Singh, Marketing Manager UK & Europe, Dabur International, says “Women and all victims of public harassment need to feel secure and empowered through societal solidarity and support. Each and every one of us has a duty to condemn this behaviour when we witness it on our streets. Women and any group in society should never have to adjust their public appearance or behaviour to avoid unwarranted and unsolicited attention and harassment. It is the perpetrators that need to stop this behaviour. Enough is enough! We hope that our #UntieYourFears campaign will help shed further light on this issue and for people to start having these conversations to ensure we work towards eradicating public harassment from our streets.”

About Vatika UK

Vatika is a Hair care brand which truly believe that every strand tells a story and Vatika believes in nourishing, embracing and empowering these stories. They are proud members of the Dabur Group, a world-leading ayurvedic and natural products company founded over 135 years ago.
Their expertise lies in South Asian hair. South Asian women are known for their long, luscious locks because they know the secret to healthy hair. The secret is nature. Nourishing hair with ingredients available in the natural world leads to luxurious hair, which is why Vatika products are made using natural ingredients.

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Kamboj: It’s best time to be a woman in India

Kamboj highlighted India’s citizen-centric digital initiatives, which focus on providing immediate assistance to women in distress…reports Asian Lite News

India’s UN representative, Ruchira Kamboj, stated that it is the best time to be a woman in India as the government is fully empowering women at all levels.

The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, in collaboration with UN Women India, held a high-level panel discussion on leveraging public-private commitment for women’s greater access to technology and education.

“In India, there has been enormous, enormous growth in the past eight-nine years particularly and today, I think it is perhaps the best time to be a woman in India. I mean that very sincerely,” Kamboj said.

Kamboj stressed that in India “we recognise the transformational capacity of technology to provide impetus to women’s empowerment and sustainable development.”

“This is a fantastic time to be a woman and the government is fully empowering you at all levels. The Prime Minister has emphasised upon a model of women-led growth and development and it is very much a reality,” Kamboj said.

She highlighted India’s citizen-centric digital initiatives, which focus on providing immediate assistance to women in distress, preventing violence against women, and promoting their full and equal participation in every sphere of society.

UN Women’s Anita Bhatia emphasized the important role that digitalisation plays in closing the gender digital divide and pointed out that globally, men are 20% more likely to be online than women.

Kamboj spoke on two major initiatives — the Digital India programme and the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) trinity — that have shown the capacity of technology to provide impetus to women’s empowerment and sustainable development.

She said that during the pandemic, these initiatives had facilitated direct benefit transfer to nearly 200 million women.

ALSO READ: Garcetti confirmed as India envoy

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‘Uyghur women face systematic repression’

Gulchehra Hoja stated that the reason those authoritarian states feel threatened by women as the female community represents love and peace which are very powerful and ready to sacrifice if need be…reports Asian Lite News

Uyghur women in China are facing systematic repression where they were not allowed to speak their language or who they want to marry and were even sent to “Chinese concentration camps,” the United States Institute of Peace reported citing an Uyghur reporter.

Uyghur journalist Gulchehra Hoja was discussing the human rights situation for Uyghur women in the Xinjiang region of China. In a video, journalist Hoja said, “We were saying that there is no door that cannot be opened by women. But today Uyghur women are forced to give up their right to choose anything under CCP’s total control. They can’t even choose to speak their language or who they want to marry. Even Uyghur children have been ripped away from their families for CCP’s assimilation.”

“Many of my former colleagues were sent to Chinese concentration camps. But in my case, my family paid the price when 24 of my family members were arrested in one night, including my parents and my brother,” she added.

She further stated that the reason those authoritarian states feel threatened by women as the female community represents love and peace which are very powerful and ready to sacrifice if need be.

World leaders must demand China allow independent investigations and that foreign journalists be allowed in the Uyghur region.

“Spread awareness about we were Women’sPlight under the CCP’s rule. Encourage more we were Woman to speak out by providing platforms and opportunities. Never in my life had I imagined to be witnessing genocide, let alone genocide carried out against your own people. Not only me. We are witnessing and allowing history to repeat itself. This is a human tragedy,” the journalist added.

Uyghur women are always China’s easy victims. Uyghur woman, Ayshemhan Abdulla, for over two decades, has been serving sentence in jail for sending her three teenage children to a local home-based religious school, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

Abdulla, now 62, thought she was doing what was best for her two daughters and one son by ensuring they received Islamic religious instruction in keeping with their Muslim Uyghur identity in China’s far-western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Uyghur Times recently reported that to eradicate the Uyghurs, the Chinese authorities are now openly executing Uyghurs but the world is not taking action against China. The author warned that soon the world will face what Uyghurs have been going through.

Abdullah, a resident of Ghulja county, or Yining in Chinese, was sentenced to 21 years in prison in 2017 for sending her children to a house religious school, said a security chief from her village in Qarayaghach township.

“She is serving her prison term in Baykol Women’s Prison in Ghulja city. For each child she sent, she received seven years in prison,” said the man who declined to be named, RFA reported.

According to the village security chief, the authorities also took Abdulla’s children to a camp and held them for more than a year, but later released them.

But Abdulla is not the only one who got entangled in Chinese authorities’ dragnet in Xinjiang, where more than 11 million Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim Uyghurs live, over 60 Uyghurs were arrested and sentenced to harsh prison sentences for sending their children to religious schools though they had done so more than a decade ago, according to the Xinjiang Police Files, a cache of millions of confidential documents hacked from Xinjiang police computers and released in May 2022. (ANI)

ALSO READ: China to ease visa, entry policies

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World Bank lauds UAE’s leading position in gender balance

Hamel stressed that the UAE has maintained its advanced position in the latest World Bank report, which monitors the efforts of governments to issue laws aimed at achieving women’s economic empowerment….reports Asian Lite News

Iva Hamel, the World Bank Representative in the UAE, has praised the UAE for being the most progressive country in the Middle East and North Africa in terms of women’s empowerment. She commended the UAE’s commitment to supporting women’s role in the community and increasing their economic opportunities.

In her statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Hamel said that, the UAE has taken unprecedented measures to enhance its position in gender balance in the region, and has become the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to implement parental leave for fathers. The country has also introduced legal provisions to ensure women receive equal pay and to prohibit gender-based discrimination in the workplace.

Hamel stressed that the UAE has maintained its advanced position in the latest World Bank report, which monitors the efforts of governments to issue laws aimed at achieving women’s economic empowerment.

WB lauds UAE’s climate efforts

 Issam Abousleiman, Country Director of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries, Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, has said that the UAE plays a pivotal role in the global efforts aimed at limiting the repercussions of climate change in the GCC region and the Middle East, pointing out that “COP28” will constitute a new impetus for the global system towards implementing commitments related to solutions to climate change issues.

“The UAE’s hosting of COP28 demonstrates international recognition of the country’s efforts in the field of climate sustainability,” Abu Suleiman said.

Abu Suleiman noted that COP 28 represents a great opportunity to push towards green technology and carbon sequestration investments that will be necessary for the world to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as being an opportunity to move to an economic path of green growth that would further diversify the economy while making a positive impact on the climate.

He pointed out that the UAE, for more than 30 years, has shown great interest in the issue of climate change, in addition to its commitment to investing in projects aimed at reducing its repercussions.

Abu Suleiman said that the World Bank is the first institution to finance climate-related projects worldwide, as it provided financing worth $31.7 billion last year, noting that the world needs more financing to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

ALSO READ: UAE, Ukraine promoting parliamentary ties

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Consulate General of India observes women’s day

As a part of #NariShakti week awareness program on Women Health and Financial Management was also organized…reports Asian Lite News

As part of the community outreach programme, the Consulate General of India in Dubai, celebrated International Women’s Day with women frontline workers in Dubai and Northern Emirates at various locations like Dulsco labor camp, EFS Camp and STS Group camp on March 8th, 2023 and March 12th, 2023.

On this occasion, feminine hygiene products and dry ration was distributed to women workers. As a part of #NariShakti week awareness program on Women Health and Financial Management was also organized.

The Consulate General of India, Dubai would be thank Indian People’s Forum, UAE, FOI, Dabur International, LULU Group and NMKP for their continued support in our community outreach programmes.

ALSO READ-Indian women showcase Nari Shakti to mark IWD 2023

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Women should prioritise their health

Women these days have also consciously started paying more attention to what they eat. While the workouts help burn away the calories…writes Spoorthi

Gone are the days when women wanted to be frail and petite. There have been various stereotypes associated with women’s fitness – women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, women shouldn’t do very high intensity workouts, women shouldn’t focus on building muscle – so on and so forth. However, all of these stereotypes are being broken many times in the recent past and women are embracing workouts now more than ever.

Women’s health and fitness are essential for several reasons. Firstly, maintaining good health helps women to live longer and happier lives. Women who are healthy and fit can enjoy a higher quality of life, have more energy, and are less likely to suffer from chronic diseases.

One main factor contributing to this is awareness. There have been many resources and researches stating the importance of regular workouts, especially for women. Women’s health is a crucial area of focus that cannot be ignored. Regular exercise helps improve heart health, strengthen bones & muscles and maintain a healthy lifestyle by reducing the risk of chronic health diseases like heart disease, diabetes etc. It is essential for women to prioritise their health and well-being by making healthy lifestyle choices and seeking regular medical checkups.

Women have different and unique health concerns as compared to men. This includes reproductive health, breast cancer, heart diseases, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety. It’s important that all of this is addressed and maintaining a good workout regimen coupled with good nutrition is key to ward away these diseases and health conditions.

In women, hormones play a crucial role in regulating menstrual cycles, fertility, and menopause. But hormonal imbalances can lead to a range of health issues, such as weight gain, mood swings, and menstrual irregularities. Exercise and good nutrition helps keep this in check.

Regular exercise has shown to have many health benefits, including helping to regulate hormonal balance in women. It can also help reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that can contribute to hormonal imbalances.

A balanced diet with the right amount of fruits, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and fats can help maintain healthy hormone levels.

Over the years, women have started including different workout forms. May it be resistance training, HIIT or sports. You can now see many more women lifting heavy weights in the gym and no more sticking to lesser weights and trying to just do many reps. While it was once believed that lifting weights would make a woman look ‘bulky’ and/or ‘manly’, those are just some of the myths. Although HIIT can be a quite intense form of exercise, many women are now looking forward to it as a preferred workout choice.

Women these days have also consciously started paying more attention to what they eat. While the workouts help burn away the calories, it is important to keep in mind the choices you make with your food and the detrimental effects that bad nutritional choices can have on the body in the years to come. Here are some simple points to keep in mind for overall wellbeing:

Engage in resistance training

Resistance training or weight training can help women improve their physical appearance, increase their muscle mass, and improve their overall strength. In addition, it can boost their metabolism, which can help them burn fat and maintain a healthy weight.

Eat your proteins

Protein is not just for those who want to build muscle. It is a necessary macronutrient which is important for the body to recover well and keep your muscles and joints strong. Foods high in protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and nuts. It’s also completely okay to include whey protein supplements if you are not able to meet your protein requirements through a regular diet.

Get Regular Health Screenings

Regular health screenings are crucial for women’s health. Women should get regular checkups and screenings for conditions such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis. Women should also get regular cholesterol and blood pressure checks, and other recommended screenings based on age and personal risk factors.

A routine to follow when you’re in no mood to workout.(photo:IANSLIFE)

Pay Attention to Menstrual Health

Women should pay attention to their menstrual health and understand what is normal for them. Women should keep track of their menstrual cycle and any changes in bleeding patterns, pain, or other symptoms.

Consume foods rich in Iron

Iron is essential for women’s health, as women lose iron during menstruation. Iron-rich foods include red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, spinach, and fortified cereals.

It’s okay to workout during your periods

Contrary to popular belief, women don’t necessarily have to skip exercise due to their menstrual cycle, although it is important to be aware of how to approach training around your time of the month. Higher intensity exercises can be performed during your follicular phase and you can reduce the intensity as the peak of the luteal phase arrives. Exercise has also shown to relieve certain PMS symptoms like cramps. This could however be subjective to each one.

ALSO READ-UK hiring more Indian health professionals: Report

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Brazil unveils equal pay bill

The proposal, part of a series of federal government measures to combat wage discrimination…reports Asian Lite News

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva marked International Women’s Day by announcing a bill legislating equal pay for women and men.

The proposal, part of a series of federal government measures, demands greater wage transparency from companies and calls for more steps to combat wage discrimination, reports Xinhua news agency.

“There was a time when March 8 was celebrated by giving women flowers, while the other 364 days were marked by discrimination, machismo and violence,” the President said at an event at Planalto Palace, the presidential headquarters.

Brazil’s Consolidation of Labor Laws establishes equal pay for women and men doing the same job at a company and imposes a fine if discrimination is proven.

According to Lula, the major difference with existing laws is that the new bill makes compliance “mandatory”.

“Gender equality will not appear overnight, but we have to speed up the process. If it were up to this government, inequality would end today with a simple decree, but it is difficult to change a whole system built to perpetuate male privilege,” he said.

The wage gap between women and men, which had been narrowing until 2020, grew again to reach 22 per cent by the end of 2022, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.

ALSO READ: UAE leaders highlight pivotal role of women

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Almheiri: Women lead the way to global sustainability

The Minister of Climate Change and the Environment highlighted that empowering women is key for implementing solutions to ensure sustainability and protect the environment…reports Asian Lite News

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, asserted that women are at the forefront of efforts to find innovative solutions to combat climate change and achieve global sustainability and environmental preservation goals.

In a statement to mark International Women’s Day, Almheiri said, “Women in countries around the world are playing a vital and essential role in efforts to tackle climate change at every level. And despite so many women suffering the economic and social consequences of climate change, they continue to be an element of progress, and a key player in any plans for a sustainable world now and in the future. That is because women in many societies are capable of taking the lead on efforts to implement sustainability solutions on the ground.

“Besides being policymakers across governments and international organisations, women are also decision-makers within their own homes, making an impact on energy consumption, waste production, and other practices considered critical to achieving sustainability,” she added.

The Minister of Climate Change and the Environment highlighted that empowering women is key for implementing solutions to ensure sustainability and protect the environment, stressing that enabling women to use integrated, smart, and innovative solutions to climate change, sets the stage for shaping a sustainable future for the world, but also helps create a better, healthier environment for families and communities.

“Women have limitless potential allowing them to play a greater role as professionals in various key sectors, such as agriculture and natural resource management. This also places them in an ideal position to promote the use of smart, eco-friendly solutions at the community level,” she further said.

The Minister stated that the world must channel even greater efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change on women around the world, and work harder to ensure gender equality and provide women the opportunity to play a bigger role.

“We are confident there is a global consensus in this regard, and we are committed to promoting and supporting these efforts as the UAE hosts the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) this year, in order to advance our collaborative efforts to shape a sustainable future for everyone, by engaging everyone,” Almheiri concluded.

ALSO READ: World Bank lauds UAE’s ‘pivotal role’ in climate action

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UAE leaders highlight pivotal role of women

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State, highlighted the pivotal role that Emirati women play in building the nation…reports Asian Lite News

President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan shared a video recognising women’s contributions and roles in building their societies, as the world yesterday marked the International Women’s Day.

Marking International Women’s Day celebrated worldwide on March 8, President Sheikh Mohamed and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum shared a video showing how women have excelled in all aspects of life.

“On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we recognise and celebrate the crucial role that women play in building dynamic societies. We wish continued success to all women in achieving their hopes and ambitions while contributing to a shared progress and sustainable future,” Shaikh Mohamed tweeted.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also took to his twitter account to express his appreciation for women on their International Day.

“A man’s appreciation for women expresses his virility, taste and decency. Society’s appreciation for women expresses the civilization of society and the height of its culture. The world’s appreciation for women expresses the development, prosperity and stability of this world. Women’s appreciation is the measure of human development,” he wrote on twitter.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State, highlighted the pivotal role that Emirati women play in embodying the vision of the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in building the nation.

She also praised President and VP for their commitment to empowering women in all fields and strengthening their role in the UAE’s development.

Al Kaabi emphasised the important role played by Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), in promoting the advancement and leadership of Emirati women.

She highlighted the UAE’s investment in women’s contribution to future-focused industries such as artificial intelligence, innovation, and technology, underscoring that women’s energies and capabilities are limitless.

Looking ahead, Al Kaabi stated that as the UAE prepares to host the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in November 2023, women’s perspectives will be included in all discussions.

She noted that women make up two-thirds of the COP28 leadership team, and women represent more than 50 percent of the management team, demonstrating the UAE’s commitment to gender equality and championing a sustainable approach.

Al Kaabi stressed that Emirati women are an inspiring model of empowerment in the region and worldwide. Over the next 50 years, she predicted that women will continue to play a critical role in solidifying the UAE’s position as a nation where security, social support, and economic opportunity flourish.

ALSO READ: UAE, Microsoft chalk out AI strategies

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Women entrepreneurs who shattered the glass ceilings

Gupta is enroute to revolutionise gaming technology in India. She aims to simplify gaming technology and impart game building skills to the Indian engineering community…reports Rachel V Thomas

When Jyoti Gupta launched her own startup, rather than recognising her own skills and contributions, people made unfounded assumptions about her husband’s involvement in the technology.

Others viewed her startup as a leisure activity rather than a serious business venture. Securing investment also was a challenge, with some investors hesitant to put money into a venture led by two women.

Undeterred, she founded Rank Me Online, a B2B SAAS for social media listening and analytics, which was acquired by Eleve Media in March 2020.

“Do not feel guilty for pursuing your personal goals and ambitions,” Gupta, a proud mother who is currently heading the complete engineering of an online gaming platform Zupee, told IANS.

Gupta is enroute to revolutionise gaming technology in India. She aims to simplify gaming technology and impart game building skills to the Indian engineering community.

Women in India have enormously contributed towards the growth of science and technology. This is despite the gender gap seen in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce.

Data shows women make up nearly 43 per cent of the total graduates in STEM in India — one of the highest in the world — but the rising education levels aren’t translating into employability or jobs.

“While the sector is growing rapidly, women remain underrepresented, comprising only 28 per cent of India’s IT workforce, hinting towards a tech ‘shecession’ of sorts. But there’s massive hope for India Inc. to change that,” Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, Talent and Learning Solutions, LinkedIn India, told IANS.

Rachita Kasliwal, a co-founder of a health-tech startup Medyseva, says women are “conditioned to be dependent on the males in the family for important decisions; set others’ well-being and dreams on a higher priority than theirs as well as follow instructions and norms without questioning.

“I wanted to go into the finance industry after doing my MBA – my family didn’t let me. I wanted to join the corporate world post marriage — ended up in the family business instead.”

After much effort, she started Medyseva along with her husband. Medyseva is a telemedicine company which provides tele-consultation to rural patients by urban doctors.

“The key is to never lose hope,” Kasliwal told IANS.

Women entrepreneurs’ share of startups in the Indian tech industry has exceeded 8 per cent, and surpassed more than 18 per cent among funded companies, according to Tracxn, a leading market intelligence platform.

World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report July 2022 showed that the share of female founders grew by 2.68x between 2016 to 2021. It also showed that a higher share of women in the country are now seeking entrepreneurship opportunities as compared to men.

Yet, gender biases and stereotypes remain.

“One thing I heard constantly was, ‘Why don’t you make us speak to your husband, or father? We don’t want to talk about these things with women,” said Delhi-based Aruna Chawla who set up ‘Salad’ to promote vegan condoms.

Her startup sells vegan, non-toxic and eco-conscious condoms. These use natural latex that are fragrance-free, and come with recyclable packaging.

Salad’s mobile app is a lifestyle planner that empowers women (and other people who menstruate) to understand their hormonal health through different phases of their menstrual cycle with bio-individual inputs on nutrition, fitness and lifestyle.

According to Niveda – Founder of Bliss Naturals, which makes biodegradable sanitary napkins from kenaf fibres, “every opportunity is the key”.

“Coming from a middle-class family where no one has any idea of what a ‘startup’ is, it was difficult to keep my head straight in the face of objections. Even though the journey was never easy, quitting was never an option for me,” said told IANS.

Niveda launched the startup as her final year college project and went on to receive five National awards, more than seven innovations awards.

While the struggles are great for women, embracing the power of technology can help in achieving goals, Sonam Srivastava, Founder at Wright Research, SEBI Registered Investment Advisor, told IANS.

“Technology has played a critical role in my success. I am proud to have used technology to create data-driven portfolios that have helped investors achieve their financial goals. Looking forward, I hope to continue to pave the way for other women in fintech and encourage them to pursue their passions,” Srivastava added.

As per Niti Aayog’s June 2022 report, of the five million professionals in the IT sector in India, about 36 per cent are women.

“Hiring for skills and offering the right flexible policies can help women strike the right balance and thrive in their careers,” Anand told.

She emphasised the need for making workplaces “truly inclusive” than just hiring more women.

“This means thwarting unconscious bias and valuing working women for the unique skills and perspectives they bring to the table. It also means having strong mentorship and sponsorship programmes for, and by women,” which can be key to bridging the gender gap in tech and the overall workforce.”

ALSO READ-“Embrace equity” is talking about gender parity