In today’s world, we see people from different ends of the spectrum ‘fighting’ for women’s rights. We have gotten used to the varied opinions speaking as one voice for a common goal. And as women what is the one thing that we have always wanted? To not make this debate ever about the clothes, the lifestyle choices or how we look but rather what we bring to the table. Equality does not mean the same. It just means that the same opportunities, the same considerations are given to you as a woman and how we in part take this to lead the lives we want.
As one from my kind in India and working in a paid job (yes, please do notice this distinction I make like others before me, between a paid and an unpaid job), I have had the good fortune of belonging to a family where I was always given equal opportunities as my brother. As a result of those wonderful opportunities I am working in Urban Company – the best startup – for almost 2 years now.
There could be a lot of women out there who could have concerns about working in a start up. The concerns are usually related to the working style, the long hours and the demands of the job, which may make it difficult to strike the work-home balance. But at Urban Company, with all the expectations also comes incredible support of my entire team. So the baby birthdays, sports days & doctor appointments – all go by, wait for it, with you WITH your kid. We are proud of our ability to hustle, to keep our eye on the prize and to keep hacking away towards our milestones – which include late nights, early mornings and weekends. And I am glad to have been able to strike the work-home balance.
There have been days when I didn’t have a babysitter. But instead of getting flustered and making that dreaded choice, I could have her spend the day happily in the office. We had an office off-site and my kid was a part of the board meetings there. She made new friends and the people I work with were amused to entertain. We even had a ‘bring your kid to work’ day – where there were so many little ones running around the office. For the record, Urban Company was the most adorable place on earth that day.
It is the small things and initiatives that make all the difference. A little empathy makes it possible for women in Urban Company to not make a choice. To be a part of the exciting pace of the startup world and lead a multi-faceted life. One of the most important opportunities (and rightly so) that as a woman we can get, is this support. Where you are given the freedom, without the baggage, to manage other aspects of your life.
Typically all work places have good policies as part of their anti-sexual harassment crusade and Urban Company is no exception. The extra mile that we walk, is to have a senior leader appointed as an ombudsman, to look into complaints against other individuals. Ensuring women feel inclusive in the workplace, where they spend most of their waking hours on a daily basis.
The fact that there are no underlining sexist beliefs brewing at a corner in Urban Company comes from our hiring policies. After all, the people we hire constitute the culture that I find the support in. From specialists to senior managers, people here are unfazed by your gender or the lifestyle choices. They don’t believe that marriage, children, passions or any extra projects/interests will be a hindrance to the commitment towards the company. We indeed believe that these experiences and individual passion add a lot to a person’s personality.
We have so many brave, wonderful and inspiring women out there as brilliant examples. From Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai to our very own Mary Kom. These are women trailblazers in their respective fields – who have surpassed expectations and are women leading inspiring lives. Where they play many roles for all the people in their lives. Not just as working professionals, the first lady to the CEO of a global giant, to a sports personality and an activist – but also as sisters, mothers, wives etc. Because guess what, we are awesome and it is a personal choice and NOT a choice between two mutually exclusive scenarios.
Urban Company has given me a world I seek, a world I deserve as a woman. Great opportunities in such inclusive places is not just helpful to develop a progressive corporate world, but also a progressive society. Where the last thing on your mind is to find ‘something else’ which is more ‘manageable’. It is possible here – to have a multi-faceted life, play different roles and not face a catch 22 situation all the time. Come and see for yourself.