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Career Pillars: Resilience, Confidence & Challenges

FlexiLoans is amongst India’s top MSME-focused digital platform with over Rs10 billion of disbursements to more than 1.5 million registered users across 1400 cities through 100% digital originations and zero branch. FlexiLoans pioneered embedded finance in 2017 having partnered with 10+ partners like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

Setting New Benchmarks

From her extensive experience in banking of over 2 decades, Gitanjali Mayani brings to the table a wide range of skills relating to loans and banking, wealth management, and call centre operations. She has worked in the branch setup in Standard Chartered Bank as well as on the digital platform at Bankbazaar.com. She also makes a conscious effort towards achieving a good work-life balance. Gitanjali adds: “At FlexiLoans, I head sales of unsecured loans to MSMEs pan India. I don’t believe in carrying work home. Good time management is essential so that all goals and ‘to do’ are completed during office hours only. Time is really in short supply at home and is completely devoted to the family, friends and self.”

From Crisis To Opportunity

The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a research firm, put the share of urban women in or looking for work at just 7% in November 2021, though they constitute 51% of the overall employable pool. Gitanjali observes: “This shows that women are pushed into other responsibilities of family and caregiver and their career is always pushed as a second choice.”

Interestingly during the covid situation working women were the most impacted. Gitanjali adds: “They had to manage multiple roles of house management, child care and home schooling and remote worker all at the same time. This was also a time when women came across interesting opportunities over digital platforms and took to cooking tips, fashion idea, home decoration, gardening etc. The resilience that was shown by these women and the tact of converting a crisis to an opportunity of earning on digital platforms was commendable.”

Challenges, Changes

Gitanjali believes: “This scenario has improved significantly in the last 2 decades with implementation of policies at HR and business levels to address such issues and the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act in 2013 created a comprehensive legislation to provide a safe and conducive workplace environment for women.”

Challenges women face at their workplace are many. Gitanjali lists: “These challenges include low representation at middle and senior management level, salary discrimination for the same role basis gender and not aptitude and sexual harassment. Breaks taken for childbirth and elderly care are penalized by not paying appropriate increments or holding back on promotions. Women have been battling impostor syndrome where women keep doubting their capabilities and feel like an outsider amongst their male counterparts.”

Strategies To Succeed

There are a few strategies to help women to succeed in their careers. Gitanjali prescribes time management, managing guilt, self-esteem and financial independence as key to succeed. She elaborates: “Learn to prioritize as not all tasks can be completed in 1 day. Bucket them into priorities and complete the top 3. Guilt is a self-inflicted conflict that most women face. It’s completely okay to get help to manage the daily chores of the house and family, there is no study that shows that women with careers have kids with issues or malnutrition! Spend time on yourself, invest in a good exercise regime and healthy eating. Being mentally positive and physically strong gives the confidence to handle both professional and personal challenges. Learn to save in a disciplined and systematic way. Timing the market and looking for short-term gains is not manageable as it requires a huge amount of time and that is not possible due to hectic work schedules through the week. Also ensure that there is enough life insurance and medical insurance cover for the family in case of any emergency.”

Female : Male Ratio

Since inception, FlexiLoans has always had a female : male ratio greater than 30. Gitanjali updates: “Currently, the ratio of females to males in FlexiLoans is 31:69. We have women working in all departments. Our HR head, myself sales head and operations head are women. We have always understood the aspirations of women and have given them different opportunities at different stages.”

Career Aspirations

Gitanjali has thoughts of her own on difference between career aspirations of women and men at present. She points out: “In today’s time, more and more women are confident about their ability to fulfil their career aspirations and many are seeking active career advancements. If needed they are going for further studies or are joining professional courses to get a better understanding of respective subjects. They are not afraid to experiment and rather want to take risks if needed.”

Women also look forward to increasing the diversity in the teams. They are also supporting other team members of their teams and departments to grow. Gitanjali feels: “Women want to enter the fields, where less women can be seen and prove themselves. They look for more and more challenges. They are happy to get more opportunities compared to yesteryears.”

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