While a lot of people still use the phrase “behind every successful man is a woman”, at Hype, we believe that behind every successful woman lies an organization that believes in her potential and creates equal opportunities for her. At Hype, our team has more women than men, and these women are taking Hype to new heights on all fronts. We take gender equality at the workplace very seriously. On Women’s Equality Day, on August 26, we thought it would be interesting to have a conversation of women’s equality and what better person to speak to than a firebrand female entrepreneur?
We got Aanchal Saini, Founder of Rent it Bae and CEO of Flyrobe, on board, to discuss the current scenario with Raghav Belavadi, Founder & CEO, Hype. Aanchal is one of the finest female entrepreneurs in India, and she is truly revolutionizing the rental fashion industry. In her conversation with Raghav, she shared a lot of truths, observations, and insights about her journey. She spoke about women’s equality and how we can both work harder to be more equitable.
Here are some excerpts from the engaging discussion:
How has it been, expanding the rental fashion market in India?
AS: Over the years, more and more people have started embracing rental fashion. Since it is a popular trend in the West, it is making its way to India, slowly and steadily. Today, a lot of people in the metro and Tier-1 cities understand what a blessing it is, to be able to rent clothes.
In countries like the USA, the rental market for tuxedos is bigger than the market for buying tuxedos. I truly believe that the future of rental fashion looks very bright. People want to rent clothes, accessories, jewelry, shoes, but having said that, it’s also imperative to note that people rent for different reasons. Men mostly rent because it is more practical, whereas women are more likely to rent because it gives them more variety, more choice.
Coming to the issue of women equality, do you think there has been any change?
AS: I grew up in a loving, supportive nuclear family where both my parents worked. So while growing up, since I saw equality around me, I thought the whole issue of inequality was given unnecessary importance. But as I grew up, I gained more exposure, I realized that there are so many women in different parts of the country, who face a whole lot of restrictions, disadvantages and limitations just because they are women.
I am a lawyer by profession and for quite a few years, I practised law. I handled quite a lot of divorce cases and a lot of people asked me why divorces were increasing. Today, a lot of women are now financially independent. Earlier, they were dependent on their husbands for their survival. But today, they can fend for themselves, which is why some of them, who have the financial resources, will choose to fight the injustice. Having said there, there are still so many women who need to be given equal opportunities for success and personal growth. The fact that we still need to talk about women’s equality means that there is no equality in the true sense. It’s a long road.
Have you faced any discrimination on the work front?
AS: I haven’t faced a lot of discrimination, I have been blessed to have a great team and amazing investors who put their faith in me. The only form of bias, or discrimination I have seen is when I am interacting with vendors for clothes or logistics and these are often semi-literate men. They often tell me “Aap sir se baat kara lo” to which I have to say that “I am the sir”, I am the boss here. This goes to show that at the ground level, these changes are needed.
Do you think there are any improvements for women in the workplace in the past couple of years?
AS: A lot of brands have improved their internal policies and made them more equitable. With an increase in the paid maternity leave period from 3 months to 6 months, a lot of people see it as a positive step. But in reality, it might do more harm than good. Companies might not hire women who may be deserving of a role, because they might have to give 6 months of maternity leave to them. So this might actually lead to discrimination to some extent.
Ultimately, we must all start from an individual level because discrimination will end when the bias in our minds in wiped out. That can be done only by us. The change begins from within and then it spreads.
With such empowering insights, Aanchal Saini not only reiterated the importance of changing our own perceptions but of constantly striving for success and equality in every sphere. It is women like her who set the path to empower many more. Let us try to create equal opportunities for women all around us, in all spheres of life. Let us be equal and equitable in each sense.
Let’s ‘hype’ our women, on Women’s Equality Day and every other day too