The Multifaceted Feministaa – Rashmi Bansal

By Shubhda in Starting Up 21/01/2016

A writer, entrepreneur and a youth expert, Rashmi Bansal is the author of two bestselling books ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’ and ‘Connect the Dots’. She is also the co-founder and editor of JAM (Just Another Magazine), India’s leading youth magazine. She writes extensively on youth, careers and entrepreneurship on her popular blog “Youth Curry”.

 

A guest lecturer at various business schools of repute including IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, ISB, S. P. Jain among others, Rashmi mentors numerous students and young entrepreneurs. She also conducts motivational talks and youth insight seminars for corporates. She is known for her admiration for people who have managed to chase their dreams and make them come true.

 

Let’s get an insight into her inner thoughts and see what sets her apart from other authors.

 

As cliché as it might sound, you have given up what people call a more “lucrative” career for “writing”. What made you feel that THIS is it; seize the opportunity!

 

I stared writing when I was in the second year of college. It was an inner urge to express myself and then, a burning desire to see my name published in The Times of India. While I was at IIM Ahmedabad I did a summer internship in Lintas – an advertising agency – and I realised I did not want to spend the rest of my life selling soap and detergent. So I did not take the placement and decided to pursue my first love i.e. writing and journalism. It was not a rational decision but one dictated by the heart.

 

You have spoken in one of your interviews that “There is a lack of role models for women”. How important is “inspiration” to women specifically? We want you to mention some specific women entrepreneurs who you have come across and their “eureka” moment that inspired them to an extent that they never looked back!

 

Women are brought up differently from men, even in the most progressive Indian households. As a society, we value women when they play the roles of  a wife, mother, daughter or “bahu”. She has to struggle to create her own identity independent of these labels. So yes, they need to see and read about women who have broken these stereotypes.

 

In my book ‘Follow Every Rainbow’ I have written about 25 inspirational Indian women who managed a family and a business of their own. Women are not driven by money or power. They seek do something meaningful and to strike a balance in their life. Hence, I find women actually peak in their 40s and 50s.

 

The famous brand Biba was started by Meena Bindra when she was 39 years old, after her children were in college. So there is no age or stage of life when it is too late. Women-led businesses often start small and grow big over a span of decades.

 

Since you are an integral part of a reputed educational institution, you observe numerous women every day. What qualities in women, give them an edge over men?

 

I visit numerous schools and colleges to give guest lectures. I think women are academically brilliant, hard-working, very capable and motivated. But, they are less confident when it comes to handling money and finances. They do not have firm career goals in mind e.g. where I see myself five or ten years from today. This is what holds them back.

 

I advise young women to visualise their future goals, otherwise you get swept away by the tide of convention. Be clear what you want in life and never doubt that you deserve it.

 

What are your opinions about Feminism? Do you think it is a dire need of the hour?

 

Men and women are different – but equal. This should reflect in every aspect of society – whether in panchayats or in CEO summits.

 

Ideally, every human being should be free to dream and to reach his or her true potential. The spirit or aatma is neither ‘male’ nor ‘female’, it is we as a society which has attached labels which are limiting.

 

You have spoken to numerous entrepreneurs from various industries. If you were to give top ten qualities of successful entrepreneurs that you have observed, they would be…

 

In my opinion, you need 3 qualities – passion, purpose and perseverance. These are the backbone of success.

 

Today, you are an independent achiever and an inspirational icon to many. Balancing numerous roles in a society like ours is definitely not easy. Please come forward and give your piece of guidance, or advice to women who have tremendous potential yet take a step back due to societal pressures.

 

Believe in yourself and in what you want to make of your life. Listen to the guidance of your inner voice. If you are strong and clear, no outside force can stop you.

 

I recommend that you pick up a book called ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay. The crux of the book is how to love yourself and accept yourself. For most women – that is the biggest challenge of all.

 

Thank you so much Rashmi for sharing your inner thoughts with Feministaa!

 

Shubhda
Shubhda Chaudhary is a Research Scholar, Featured Writer and a Budding Entrepreneur. She loves researching on Middle Eastern Politics, Role of Foreign Journalists and Arab Media. In addition, she is contributing to the research on an upcoming book on Farmer Suicides in Vidarbha.

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