Your Name: Gauri Singh
Business Name: The Maids’ Company, a domestic housekeeping service
Type of Business: Social Enterprise
Business Location: Haryana, India
Reason for Starting
As a woman living in India I have been keenly aware of the status of women in a very patriarchal society with issues ranging from female infanticide, physical abuse, financial dependency, exploitation and discrimination at both work place and home. This situation exponentially deteriorates as we go down the income ladder. The most vulnerable of us are the poor women with no education, income or social standing. In addition, well off women leave the work force for child rearing and loose their careers hence financial independence. I feel that financial independence is the corner stone for women empowerment. We support women by providing a professional service, which allows them to return to the work force and maintain their financial independence while giving employment and fair wages to the poor women.
How do you define success?
Success for me is defined by creating secure employment for women, which would lead to their financial independence.
We are an 18 month old start up that has had a series of small successes. But our big success is yet to come!
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Transitioning informal sector working women to a formalized work force has been the biggest challenge. The responsibility of family, children and household chores lies with the women, and that coupled with no infrastructure support, makes it difficult for low-income women to work a full year. We provide women with crèche facility to allow them to work longer hours, a shuttle service to reduce their travel time, health insurance to counter the financial shock during sickness and flexible working hours so they are able to juggle their personal & work lives.
Who is your most important role model?
I admire my mother for her undying spirit & tenacity, both in her personal & professional life. She is an architect & has had to struggle to attain her position of leadership & success in the male dominated architecture world. I saw her work hard, with honesty & sincerity. Gender inequality was something that was unknown to me, till I stepped outside of home as an adult. In my world, thanks to my mother, women weren’t weak they didn’t bow down but stood up for themselves, for what was right.