From TV channels to chauffeurs and online career portals to female-only holiday packages, entrepreneurs offer a range of services exclusively for the women of the city.
India’s first women’s English language entertainment channel, BIG CBS Love, will be launched today, followed by a panel discussion on what a contemporary woman seeks on entertainment channels. The discussion will be between actor-anchor Mini Mathur, Tannishtha Chatterjee who’s popular for her performance in Brick Lane, social worker and activist Shaina NC and Punitha Arumugam from Madison Media Group. The channel is expected to have a cool line-up of shows targeted at urban Women. The subjects will include cooking, music and dance among others.
Safe holidays for women
Piya Bose has always been an avid traveller. On one of her many such trips, the lawyer by profession observed that the number of Indian women seen backpacking and touring alone was much lesser than their foreign counterparts. It was then that the 28-year-old decided to start a travel club meant exclusively for women called Girls On The Go. “It’s not like Indian women don't have the money to travel,” says Bose, explaining the principle her company works on. “The social set up at times doesn't allow them to do so. Also, security is a major concern. So in this club they can travel with a group just as a woman, not a mother, wife or sister.”
And the response has been overwhelming. An average of one trip is organised every month. While most of their trips have been around the country, they recently expanded their reach. “We traveled to Egypt, Turkey and Bhutan recently, and now plan to go to Greece next,” says Bose. The price for each trip differs as per distance, duration and destination, but to give an idea of what it is, she adds, “A weekend trip to a place in the country would cost around Rs 12,000. We don't compromise too much on accommodation, but we don't opt for five star hotels either.”
Female-only cab service
After being welcomed with open arms in November 2007, Priyadarshini Taxi Service is still going strong. Owned, run and driven by women, the first-of-its-kind service was started off by three women. "Now we're a team of 75," says a proud Susiie Shah, who runs the service.
Currently, the service plies only from the airport, but Shah hopes that with imminent permission from the Government, that will soon change.
The women in the cabs are not only well-trained drivers, but are also adept at handling medical emergencies. "They have undergone training to dispense first aid to heart patients via CPR as well as bandage minor injuries," says Shah.
Three years into their launch, the pink cabs can be seen ferrying passengers around the city. The drivers are confident, skilled in self-defense techniques and well versed in English communication. They also have knowledge of the city for tourists.
If you are a woman interested in a part-time/full-time vocation or wish to volunteer time at an NGO or work from home, Naukriforwomen.com is your route to employment.
The website is a one-stop career portal to empower Indian women by facilitating employment and giving them the opportunity to seek advice on workplace-related issues. More than 5000 jobs have been posted on the portal with over 1,000 successes.
The website is an initiative by Priya and Pullak Mohanty who also co-founded the popular Memsaab.com. “Our aim is to inspire and encourage all women to contribute to their family’s income, even if they do not wish to venture out of their homes,” says Pullak Mohanty, founder.
To post jobs at Naukriforwomen.com, employers/recruiters have to register themselves. After a thorough background check, the account is approved and then one can post jobs. Every job posted on the site goes through an approval process by the support staff.
Through this initiative, the site provides a common platform where both employers and job seekers can communicate directly and understand each other's needs in order to make workplaces women-friendly. “In India, the working women population comprises only 13 per cent of the total workforce and we feel that every company and employer has a moral responsibility to help bridge this gap,” says Mohanty.
If you don’t mind women driving you around the bend, The Trident at Nariman Point has a lady chauffeur service to ferry around female travellers. The hotel’s fleet of five BMW-driving women between the ages of 25 to 53, is trying to change the perception guests have of India. “Most international travelers are surprised when they find a lady chauffeur waiting for them in a luxury car. And any hesitation they have melts away in three minutes,” says Varun Chibber, rooms division manager, The Oberoi.
The women have undergone a two-month training period in the technicalities of luxury cars, communicate with guests, and even offer city tours. The hotel, on its part, has separate restrooms with bunk beds for the female chauffeurs and a female administrative supervisor. “But they don’t get any special treatment. They work on a 24-hour basis like their male counterparts,” Chibber clarifies.
- Team Café