Sarojini Naidu- A Nightingale’s flight on a broken wing!

As soon as one mentions the name of Sarojini Naidu, ‘the nightingale of India’ flashes in mind.

A Bengali, who had the spunk to marry a South Indian at the time when intercaste marriages were frowned upon, Sarojini Naidu the ‘Nightingale Of India’, was a prolific writer, renowned poet as well as a prominent politician.

She was the first woman President of the Indian National Congress. She was also the first woman Governor of the country.She started writing at the age of 12, won a scholarship to study in UK, came back to the country, participated in Salt Satyagraha, wrote plays, poems, books, articles.

She brought women from different sections of the society together to fight for freedom of the country. She was the front runner for equality and a champion for women empowerment. The tribute that we can give her is through her poem, “ Broken Wings” which sums up what we want our QWEENs to do!

She lived her glorious life by her own words, “As long as I have life, as long as blood flows through this arm of mine, I shall not leave the cause of freedom…I am only a woman, only a poet. But as a woman, I give to you the weapons of faith and courage and the shield of fortitude. And as a poet, I fling out the banner of song and sound, the bugle call to battle. How shall I kindle the flame which shall waken you men from slavery…”

When she suffered a heart attack and died on March 2, 1949, she was still in office. With the passage of time, she and other greats like her are mostly forgotten. However, the vagaries of time and inevitability of death are best described in her own words-

Dream yields to dream, strife follows strife,

And Death unweaves the webs of Life.

 

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The importance of staying true to your entrepreneurial spirit

6 tips to help you succeed in your business

Should I stay or should I go?

This is a question I pondered for a long time as I was building a vision of having my own venture on the side while working a full-time job. It was a tricky time; I needed a stable income, but also wanted to focus more time on my entrepreneurial dream.

So when I was finally able to quit my 9-to-5 job to pursue my passion, I never looked back. And there are many women out there like me, trying to find their own way, straying away from their roots and branching out high in the sky.For 10 years, I worked as high life finance professional. But that was only half the story. Increasingly, I realised that so many small businesses often do not get the kind of treatment they deserve, or respect that they should have only because no one takes women doing business from home seriously. Largely it is considered a way to hide cash income of their businessmen husbands. But QWEEN changed all that.

At our various networking events, workshops and seminars, and even on our websites, we offer an option for budding entrepreneurs to tell us about their entrepreneurial dream so our team could reach out and help them put foundations below it.

We have had a chance to speak with thousands of aspiring and seasoned business owners. Some want to start a fashion boutique or grow their photography hobby into a business. But they are too scared of the necessary time and commitment. We have spoken to many successful business women who want to drive their business further but are overwhelmed by switching to new technology, or maybe increase their marketing efforts online despite the significant benefits their business can achieve.

QWEEN keeps our huddle meets going on by pondering over these questions.

Why do women like them who took a bold step by making a move out of a cushy 9 to 5 job or came out of their homes to start their own venture become complacent?

Why do they settle for “one step forward –two steps back” approach? What can they do better?

Here are 6 tips to consider: 

  1.  Seek continual inspiration- Consider where you can find inspiration to take your idea to the next level, or reaffirm your commitment to serving your target customers.  You must attend workshops, events, meets, and get constant inspiration to nurture your drive. The motivation which you will receive from these motley crowd who did just what you are doing, felt what you have been feeling and suffered as much or more as you are, will give you the necessary courage to surge ahead. You can make new partnerships and grow mutually. Keeping yourself involved in networks (once a week or a few times a month) and staying true to your entrepreneurial roots keeps you connected.  With this grounding, you will never lose sight of why you built your venture in the first place.
  2. Find your labour of love- Starting your business really is a labour of love. You’ll be spending countless hours in building it so you have to enjoy what you do. Initially it may not be profitable, but whether it is profitable or not is beside the point, you first have to learn to love what you do before you actually start building it. Have a leap of faith!
  3. Reap the rewards of risk-taking -Starting a business is the biggest risk of all. But as it continues to grow, it’s important to take calculated risks to stay ahead of competitors. Whatever your goal is, create three separate plans towards achieving that goal, and then be prepared for at least two of those plans to fail. Things happen! So, set aside an allocated budget to take some chances on new initiatives and make peace with the fact that you might lose that investment but others may win big. If you plan correctly, that loss should not be detrimental. The important thing is that you’re taking chances and learning what it takes to run a business. Success today is achieved as a result of calculated risk, careful planning early on and due diligence to stay on track.
  4. Define your why-Ask yourself the reason you do what you do. Is it because you like doing it? What is your true “Why”? At QWEEN, our true WHY was to help small businesses succeed. When determining yours, think about the bigger picture and what motivates you to do your work.By imparting training, discussing ideas, and providing a platform to choose a variety of work-from-home options, we are helping women build and stay in their businesses and support them with the quality of life they want. So what is your why?
  5. Identify what success looks like-Once you’ve determined your why, it’s time to create measureable goals and define what success looks like for you.Does success mean turning a profit? Maybe it simply means having the best bakery in town. Whatever the case may be, the state of your business will fluctuate. So stop worrying about what the competition is doing and stop obsessing about the market. I’ve found that by focusing on the why, the money starts to come anyway. So success for us in general is great feedback and overwhelming responses to our workshops. The smile on the faces of QWEENs is icing on the cake!
  6. Practice patience-It’s no surprise that running a small business is a long journey, so it’s important to exercise patience through the whole process. As an entrepreneur you are the leader of your business. So take a note from the other entrepreneurs of the past and present, and practice as much patience as possible. You are going to have good days and bad days, sometimes very bad days. In order to have the great days, you should be taking risks and trying new things. If you aren’t, you really aren’t growing your business at all.

Whether you’ve been in your practice or business for six months or six years, it’s time to embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship. Building a business is a journey with numerous ups and downs. Like any great endeavour, it takes time to establish, but the benefits are well worth the hard work and risks!

Join us at India Entrepreneur’s meet; see your life turn around! Click here and register for the event now!

 

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QWEEN’s Manifesto for Republic Day

Lets live the dream- “Women empowerment is crucial to India’s growth. Days of seeing women as ‘home makers’ have gone, we have to see women as nation builders!”- Narendra Modi- Prime Minister

We the women of India want our nation to look beyond the usual definition of Women Empowerment, and give us more power, this Republic Day.

We want the nation to stand up and help us in creation of an environment where women can make independent decisions on their personal development as well as shine as equals in society. We want to be treated as equals so much so that if a woman rises to the top of her field it should be a commonplace occurrence that draws nothing more than a raised eyebrow at the gender. This can only happen if there is a channelized route for the empowerment of women.

Here is QWEEN’s 10 point manifesto seeking empowerment of women on this Republic Day:

  • Our Safety– Women have to have a safe country to thrive in. India’s image is marred by issues surrounding safety of its women. We should feel safe to live, work, and have our say in everything that matters, including development of this country
  • Support our independence and mobility- Unlike women in the past, we are aware of the opportunities we have and we want to have independent say in the choices we make. We want our family, loved ones, and our employers and fellow countrymen to support us in our decisions . We want them to understand that they cannot decide our lives for us all the time.
  • Help us in educating ourselves– We haven’t really got our fair share of chances to upskill or learn our way into a career. Supporting us while we equip ourselves with new knowledge and hone our skills is what we seek from our people.
  • Make us financially educated– With demonetisation, many women saw the face of a banker for the first time in their lives. We have always been blissfully ignorant about the way the world of finance moves. We want to be financially literate so we do not have to look towards our menfolk when it comes to starting a new venture. Financial literacy will also help us in increase our household savings, and help us in managing our family’s future.
  • Home Science is passéBusiness science is in– Teach us job skills, help us in seeding new businesses. Instead of only restricting our roles in being a great housekeeper and a homemaker, help us in expanding our roles further into a businesswoman and improve our income generating abilities. Help us in expanding our horizons and reaching our true potential
  • We are equals when it comes to decision making- Boost our decision making power, let us participate in decisions related to our children’s education, increasing family income and other decisions that concern us all
  • Provide access to quality health care- Help us by establishing a quality health care system and provide us training and information on health care, family planning, domestic violence and reproductive rights.
  • Build Support networks- By building social networks, women have more support and greater opportunities to effect change in their communities .Once this network is in place, they are emboldened by the knowledge that they are not alone in facing issues and they are inspired to help other women in their community by sharing the knowledge they have learned about various topics.
  • Create public leaders- Develop leadership schools directed at women, encourage women leaders and help them forge ahead, instead of treating them as showpieces, help them in realising their true strength. Create women specific leadership programmes at workplace. Monitor how women employees are progressing to ensure women are progressing at the same rate as men
  • Change the face of our workplace- Most important point is to keep our policies gender neutral. Don’t give us reservation, but equal opportunities in all spheres. Support us when we are on a maternity break instead of writing us off. Help us in child care by building it into company policy. Encourage us to work from home, give us opportunities to achieve work-life balance.

http://www.readglobal.org/

www.quora.com

www.narendramodi.in

Image Courtesy- Redbubble.com

 

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The Father of the Nation who put women on Forefront

From Abala(Weak) to Sabala( Strong)- Mahatma Gandhi’s views on Women Empowerment

“When woman, whom we all call abala becomes sabala, all those who are helpless will become powerful”- Mahatma Gandhi

80 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi spoke these words at All India Women’s Conference.

If by strength we do not mean brutish strength, but strength of character, steadfastness, and endurance, she should be called sabala, strong.

Any tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the Great Soul, would be an empty one, if we were to take no cue for our own guidance from his words and from his life; for him ideas and ideals had no value if they were not translated into action. He saw man and women as equals, complementing each other. And he saw himself not as a visionary, but as a practical idealist. If then, men and women work together selflessly and sincerely as equals with a faith like Gandhi’s, they may indeed realize Ram Rajya, the perfect state.

Gandhiji’s devotion to women began with his devotion to his mother and Kasturba, most particularly to women as mother. Motherhood became increasingly his model for liberation of India and his own life, a mother, having brought forth a child, selflessly devotes herself to his care till he grows up and becomes independent. Even after children are grown-up her constant desire is to make herself one with them. Unless we have feeling and devotion for our motherland many countries will be lying in wait to crush us down He saw no hope for India’s emancipation while her womanhood remained un-emancipated. He held men to be largely responsible for the tragedy. In the course of his social reform work the realization came to him that if he wanted to reform and purify society of the various evils that had crept into it; he had to cultivate a mother’s heart.

Gandhiji believed women could do much to transform India on all levels. He believed that equal rights for women and men were necessary but not sufficient to create a more just social order. What good does it do to us to have equal rights if we are divided within ourselves and unable to attend true unity with others?
In a letter written to RajKumari Amrit Kaur from Wardha on 20-10-1936, Gandhiji wrote, “If you women only realize your dignity and privilege, and make full sense of it for mankind, you will make it much better than it is. But man has delighted in enslaving you and you have proved willing slaves till the slave and holders have become one in the crime on degrading humanity. My special function from childhood, you might say, has been to make women realize her dignity. I was once slave holder myself but Ba proved an unwilling slave and thus “opened my eyes to my mission.”

Gandhiji did not like Indian society’s preference for a boy and a general neglect of a girl child. he said: “I fail to see any reason for jubilation over the birth of a son and for mourning over the birth of a daughter. Both are God’s gifts. They have an equal right to live and are equally necessary to keep the world going.”

He said “A daughter’s share must be equal to that of a son. The husband’s earnings are a joint property of husband and wife as he makes money by her assistance.”
In short, I admit no distinction between men and women except such as has been made by nature and can be seen with human eyes.”
Gandhiji represented a crucial break from the attitude of many of the leaders of the reform movements of the late nineteenth century.The main contributions of the Gandhi to the cause of women lay in his absolute and unequivocal insistence on their personal dignity and autonomy in the family and society.Gandhiji preached and practiced sharing of housework by both men and women of the family. He encouraged women to do intellectual work and men to help in cooking, cleaning and caring, conventionally ‘women’s chores’.

The only factor that would enable women to come out of this situation was the determination and strength of the women themselves. Though men should help in the cause of women, ultimately women will have to determine their destinies.In Gandhiji’s philosophy, the women of India found a new identity. His words and deeds have inspired thousands of women, and will continue to do so, in their struggle against injustice and inequality.

QWEEN pays tribute to the father of the nation, and pledges to further his dream of making women self-reliant, independent and an important contributing workforce to the progress of our country.

 

Resources
-Book 'Meditations on Gandhi'
http://www.gandhi-manibhavan.org/activities/essay_breakingshackles.htm
http://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/womenempowerment.htm
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The 10 demons to win over this Dussera from Qween

Dussera or Dusshera is largely celebrated as the victory of good over evil, where good is symbolized by Lord Ram, and evil is depicted by Ravan. But really, do you have to look outwards for what is good and what is evil these days? All of us have one or the other inner demon to conquer. This Dussera, take a vow to kill these inner demons that are poisoning your life for long.

Jealousy/Comparison- Keep your life simple by not allowing the green eyed monster called envy in. Whatever you have, is of your own doing. That doesn’t mean you be complacent and leave everything to fate. Celebrate others achievements, be happy in their happiness and open your heart instead of indulging in childish comparisons.
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