By Shikha Kumar
Three years ago, Charu Sharma, then 19, was boarding a plane to Kenya from New York, all set for an expedition to Mt Kilimanjaro. Curious about her cousin in India who was pregnant with her second child, she called up her aunt. She told her that her cousin had delivered “another girl”. “Her voice was devoid of any joy. The family now had two girls and no boy,” recounts Sharma. The irony of the situation struck her — here she was, embarking on an adventure that was an assertion of freedom, while the birth of a girl still made people unhappy. The incident triggered Sharma’s latest initiative, a website titled beingamodernindianwoman.in, where women across India can share their stories. The site went live on August 15, with around 35 narratives.
If one contributor, Sandhya Ramachandran, presents a humourous take of her life as a single woman in her 30s, another, Aadya Shukla’s Girl on the Rooftop recalls a childhood incident in which a boy was asked by his parents to stop interacting with her as she was a girl.
“I want to understand how women think and use this opportunity to leverage greater change in the future,” says Sharma, 22, a Mumbai girl, who works with LinkedIn, Chicago, as a talent solutions specialist. She has travelled to 44 countries and delivered Tedx talks in the past.
The stories from the website will also be shared on LinkedIn, with visibility for millions of the site’s members. “We also plan to publish the stories in Hindi and other regional languages in the future. We want to engage with both men and women at the grassroots level,” says Sharma.