Sairee Chahal has built an online world for women from all walks of life to help each other start a career
Sairee Chahal is the unassuming founder of SHEROES, an online and offline community that helps innumerable Indian women find employment, inspiration and stay in the workforce.
Hers is the largest women-oriented platform on the internet, which helps women support each other by forming communities around common interests, such as working from home, college alumni or caring for disabled children; meeting mentors across specialisations, and keeping themselves informed. As of 2018, there are 12 million users of this service, and Chahal’s dream is to make it a thriving community of 100 million women.
Sairee notes that the women she was looking to help, helped her too — by keeping her inspired with their doggedness to better their lives. One such person, who was part of SHEROES’ founding team and is today Chahal’s support system at work, is Saathiya Sundari. With the help of the company, Sundari moved out of her house where she was a victim of domestic violence and opened a beauty parlour. Chahal says she has come across women like Sundari in many villages. “Main kuch karna chahti hoon (I want to do something meaningful) is their answer when our team reaches out to them,” she says.
SHEROES, she says, works in a similar manner as Facebook. The platform has over 30 communities to host conversations about common interests including start-ups, women in tech, health, travel and finance. There is even a bazaar where women sell their products or services ranging from jewellery, garments and artwork to freelance consulting, writing and marketing assignments. SHEROES has worked with over 20,000 companies to meet their hiring requirements, or engage with its members, across 1,400 locations in the country, as customers through marketing campaigns.
“I was introduced to the internet after I moved to Delhi, in 1996. I saw how pivotal it had become – it has the potential to change people’s lives,” Chahal says, signing off.