“Gender equality can help in reducing violence against women, improving the world’s economy, and having more women leaders across” - Charu Mehrotra, Founder of Womenlines
A serial entrepreneur, Charu Mehrotra is the founder of an online magazine ‘Womenlines’ that promotes business, leadership, and health excellence in womenfolk across the globe. Womenlines has been listed in the ‘Top 60 Women's online Magazines to Follow in 2022’ by Feedspot. Womenlines runs various talk shows like ‘Books for Excellence’ show, ‘Bizway –Online Business Talk Show’ (In collaboration) ‘Entrepreneur of the Month’, ‘Let’s Erase domestic violence’.
Charu has always believed in creating awareness in womenfolk towards making excellence as a brand. She strongly believes women are what they read. Charu has been awarded Global Goodwill Ambassador, LinkedIn Wonder Woman recognition in 2019, GEC Asia Pacific Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2019, and REX Karamveer Fellowship and Bronze award in Nov 2019.
Before striking out on her own at ‘Womenlines’ her entrepreneurship experience was enriched by her several ventures as the cofounder of Events & Networking Company Udaan, Clothing Company NC Styles, and software start-up Earngo.
Recently, Charu was named one of the top 2021 CHANGE MAKERS in the latest edition of ‘I AM WOMAN GLOBAL MAGAZINE (IAWG)’ - a premier publication by Herrington Publications Worldwide, showcasing extraordinary women that have shaken up the status quo and are making a real difference. Charu has also received ‘GLOBAL SDG WARRIOR CITATION’. She delivered her keynote at the 90th Birth anniversary celebrations of Former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam organized by Lead India Foundation USA.
Read on to the excerpts of the conversation we had with the milti-talented entrepreneur, Charu Mehrotra.
Tell us more about Womenlines. How has been the journey so far for you as an entrepreneur?
Womenlines is an online magazine that publishes leadership, health, and business excellence content for women across the globe. Womenlines believes that more women leaders can make our planet a much better place, therefore the mission of Womenlines is to nurture as many women leaders as possible across the globe. The uniqueness of Womenlines is through its content which is in the form of talk shows, articles, interviews, videos, a podcast that is helping women in their excellence journey. Womenlines also offers content marketing, branding, advertising, and promotional services to various brands who want to reach out to educated women having access to the internet across the globe. ‘Digital Presence with Womenlines’ service is helping women entrepreneurs and professionals from different parts of the globe to grow their digital presence.
My journey as an entrepreneur has been life-transforming which helped me to be a much better person now. I strongly believe that once you are an entrepreneur you must learn skills to nurture your ideas and take it to next level. Therefore, you become a student forever and that is what I am today.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far, due to being a woman?
Being a woman, my biggest challenge in my career has been balancing responsibilities. As a woman, we play multiple roles, and all roles need time, presence, and action list. I have been mainly an entrepreneur throughout my career so far, and as somebody has said that being an entrepreneur is just like walking in a park and that park is a Jurassic Park where you never know which problem pops up suddenly like a dinosaur from nowhere. Therefore, you need to develop a resilient mindset that can keep hold of you and then mindfulness can guide you on how to balance all responsibilities. It is not easy to balance, but regular efforts and support from others can be helpful.
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
I am an entrepreneur who does not hold any formal degree in business. I am a postgraduate in Mass Communications. I had a passion to have a set-up of my own, which I can nurture to fruitful branches that will benefit others too. I won’t say I am successful as so much work has to be done for my venture, but the entrepreneur within me kept me pushing to take failures as just an experience of learning and keep going. I up skilled myself with the skills, which were required for establishing my magazine. In my journey, I also had to do unlearning of my old mindset. Listening to various experts and motivational speakers such as Mel Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Gary See, etc. has transformed me incredibly.
What is the biggest struggle of a woman entrepreneur today in India?
To my understanding, arranging funds for one’s venture is the biggest struggle for any woman entrepreneur in the present time. Resources are limited and sometimes there is no awareness about those resources from where funds can be arranged. Even if we get to know about the resources, there is a requirement of certain skills to tap those resources which women entrepreneurs are not able to do like skills of right pitching. There is a requirement of mindset training, incubators and mentors for women entrepreneurs who can help them in their entrepreneurship journey.
‘Work from home’ and ‘flexible work schedule’ are new trends. However, most women find it more difficult in such a work environment. What is your take on it?
New trends of ‘Work from home’ certainly requires much more patience and higher multitasking ability from any woman. Throughout my career, I have worked mostly from home as my whole work was based on digital media. I had to work upon my time management skills, prioritization skills, and multi-tasking skills to justify the time I was giving to my work. It takes time and is not easy.
What is your opinion on (gender) equality? How important the issue is in the current times?
Gender equality to my understanding is equal enjoyment of opportunities, resources, and rewards by everybody irrespective of whether male or female. The issue is of utmost importance as there is the requirement of giving women more independence in managing their lives. This is possible through women empowerment programs and creating more opportunities for women to work. When both women and men can fully participate as equal partners in life and are given the equal opportunity, then we can attain gender equality. Gender equality can help in reducing violence against women, improving the world’s economy, and having more women leaders across.
What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?
I would like to see young girls in the next generation have more self-awareness and self-belief. Girls in present times are having much better opportunities, resources, technologies that can help them to fulfil their dreams. It will be all about how big her vision is, how self-aware she is and if she has the confidence to attain her dreams. These skills can help girls to live a much better life.
Are there any assumptions about women that you would like to change? Why?
Yes, there are so many assumptions about women which need to be changed. Like women are mostly expected to be adjusting and be emotional, but it is not like that with every woman. Same ways assumptions are there that teachers and nurses are mostly women, and men are mostly pilots, doctors, and engineers. All these assumptions are changing now as we have so many women who are engineers, and pilots.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?
I would advise my younger self to have more patience and be more self-aware.
Do you think Women’s Day should be celebrated? Why?
I think when we talk about gender equality, days like ‘Women’s Day, should not be organized, unless we are having men’s day too. There is no point in talking about women's empowerment once a year and forgetting it later. Women empowerment definition needs to be changed and has to be a way of life. Then only women will be empowered in the true sense.
Apeksha Sandesh congratulates Charu Mehrotra for her contribution and commitment in promoting business, leadership, and health excellence in womenfolk across the globe. We wish her good luck for all her future endeavours!