27-Years-Old Vanshika Goenka Is Helping Women Find Jobs In The Pandemic With Her Online Career Community “Kool Kanya.” How Empowering This Is!
Covid has brought upon many life-impacting changes in just a matter of few months. We didn’t know an evil much like Coronavirus and we most certainly never knew the uncertainty of merely being alive like this before. While wearing a mask or being quarantined barely count as life changers, there are far more shattering and devastating consequences of this pandemic that go beyond the effort to survive. One of which is people losing their jobs due to massive economic contraction.
As many as 100 million men and 17 million women have been laid off since the pandemic started. It might seem like men hit worse than women but consider the meagre percentage of women in workforce in our country. Only about 31% of working population is women, and out of this, 17 million is a huge number for such a small constitution. Plus, reports suggest that women are more likely to not get rehired post the pandemic. It means while the women’s unemployment rate is already comparatively very low, the chances of women who have lost their job amid Covid getting jobs post-pandemic is even lower.
However, here is a woman, of merely 27 years of age, who understands the gravity of the situation of women workers during Covid and is working towards guiding them professionally and finding them a job. Meet Vanshika Goenka who set up Kool Kanya, a career guidance start-up dedicated to women in 2019 with an aim to build career opportunities for women and guide them to pave their own path. And, now, she is helping women explore business opportunities and get work amid the economic slowdown due to the pandemic.
Vanshika told IANSlife that she very young when she realised that when it comes to career, women are undervalues as compared to men. “I was only five years old when I overheard a conversation between my father and his relatives. ‘You have only two daughters’ they said. ‘Who will manage the business later?’ This conversation left a deep impression on me. I wondered why this question even needed to be asked. ‘What about me?’, I wondered.”
This and the fact that women constituted comparatively lower percentage in workforce led her to fix this issue by forming Kool Kanya. “I was working for a company that manufactured sanitary pads,” the entrepreneur shares. “I realised that I was the only woman in the room, working with an all-men team to create a product for women. It was then that it hit me that there were just not enough women in workspaces. I started delving into this skewed ratio. This is what led to the inception of Kool Kanya,” she said.
Kool Kanya is helping women in more ways than one to get them on their feet, especially during the crisis. It holds monthly webinars, live sessions and weekly digital meet-ups to educate women and help them create a portfolio, get career advice and guidance from the industry experts and mentors. It also hosts seminars on mental health to help its community members cope with these difficult times. Plus, it also recently came up with an online event called ‘GetWork’ to help women who lost their jobs, get work in their respective field.
It is even more difficult for the freelancers, contract-based workers and women in blue and grey collar jobs to get significant work in the pandemic considering it was challenging even before the crisis. Kool Kanya has taken it upon themselves to find women in these areas steady jobs. “We have started with a focus on women freelancers and independent professionals,” Vanshika said.
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Also Read: Studies Show That Women Working Remotely During Pandemic Are More Stressed Than Men. Especially Women Techies
Apart from the work, women often face certain social and economic challenges when they work in a particularly male dominated industry. Kool Kanya offers a safe space for working women to share their experiences, doubts and vulnerabilities regarding the work environment where they can drop their concerns anonymously. So, all in all, more than a career-based platform, Kool Kanya is a community at large which is solely dedicated to working women to interact, get guidance and be financially independent.
Vanshika says that they focus on women entrepreneurs and help women find their calling in the business prospects, because there is still a serious dearth of women leaders in our economy and even the existing ones don’t get the representation they deserve. She said, “We focus on women entrepreneurs and freelancers because while there is still conversation about women in the formal economy, independent women professionals often get left out of the conversation completely. By creating a space for conversations around the issues faced by independent entrepreneurs and giving them a platform to showcase their work and find opportunities, we are making sure that we represent them as well.” She also pointed out that “Women leaders are more likely to also set up practices to retain women in the workforce for longer.”
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This pandemic has not been easy on anyone but we also can’t deny the fact that women in particular don’t have it easy when it comes to finding and retaining their jobs any time there’s an economic crisis like this. The chances of women retaining their jobs post-Covid are grim, according to studies and poses a greater threat and uncertainty for the working women. Vanshika’s Kool Kanya is an excellent career platform that makes job hunting and foraying into business for such women incredibly smooth with its effective support system and actionable strategies. She is truly and inspiration.