Everyone deserves the opportunity to grow, explore their interests, and become the person they want to be. Everyone deserves to have access to education and skill development in order to be independent. Perhaps no organization in India is more dedicated towards providing such opportunities than Girl Power Talk. It is a purpose driven organization that believes in the power of social impact and aims to change the world one person at a time.
India’s economy is growing at a faster rate than most large nations. The market growth has brought about positive changes, helped by the entry of large businesses resulting in more employment opportunities. However, gender inequality persists in the society.
A number of small initiatives at the local level have led to some progress. One of these, which has led to more representation for women is the policy mandating that women hold at least one-third positions in the municipal governments of Indian states. Parallelly, individual job recruiter visits to the villages have also led to more young women participating in the labor market and enrolling in professional training. Slowly, with the spread of education, awareness, and opportunities for women outside the domestic sphere, women have started walking the path of independence and social autonomy. Recently, rural Indian areas have been seeing a rise in the average age for marriage, better family planning, and a marked increase in the number of younger girls enrolling for school.
While these local initiatives have borne some fruit, in the bigger picture, economic growth has not been accompanied by the expected positive effect on the campaign for greater gender equality in India. In the last ten years, while Indian GDP has grown by around 6%, female labour participation has dropped from 34% to 27%, and the gender wage gap has not moved from 50%. Girls are also more likely to drop out of school than boys. In addition, crimes against women have increased, in particular rape, dowry deaths, and honor killings. In fact, UNICEF reports that India is the only large country where there are more female deaths than male.
While both rural and urban settings are still largely male-dominated, patriarchal biases are more prevalent in small towns where a woman’s worth and value are measured relative to the matrimonial match her parents make for her. Love marriage is not a consideration, and most women are prohibited from doing anything that may threaten their family’s reputation.
This persistent suppression of women has made them more determined to find independence, and with increased global movements and campaigns against gender violence and harassment, they have found allies and the confidence to speak out for themselves. Thanks to the internet, today more women have found platforms and communities through which to connect, participate, and share their personal experiences. This has been especially impactful for girls from smaller towns who perhaps have more restricted access to education and opportunities. Being connected to other like-minded young women who are finding their way despite the gender-based restrictions placed on them by society provides inspiration and allows others to see what is possible.
Girl Power Talk is one such community offering girls and young women across all parts of India access to information, education, and opportunities, to help them carve out their own independent life.
Girl Power Talk has played a critical role in taking this uprising to the next level and has proved to be a beacon of hope for young women, men, and nonbinary individuals who yearn to be seen and heard. The organization is focused on actively seeking individuals with a growth mindset and nurturing their family-like work culture. Where an individual comes from doesn’t matter to the leadership at Girl Power Talk, as long as they share the vision for a more inclusive world. The young leaders contribute to the culture where kindness, a learning attitude, and emotional intelligence hold more value and weight than grades and degrees.
The CEO and co-founder of Girl Power Talk, Rachita Sharma fosters a vision to impact the lives of young girls and inspire them with persistence, empathy, and confidence. She is relentlessly committed to education, gender equality, and diversity and inclusion. The other co-founder, Sameer Somal, aims to create an organization that helps realize the full potential of India’s youth. He candidly calls the revolution ‘Building a Happy India.’ Together, the founders use their expertise in technology to drive their purpose and desire to make an impact globally.
Coming from a small town herself, Rachita wanted to empower other young women from the lesser developed areas in India. She envisioned creating a safe space free of bias, where girls could learn, grow, and achieve their full potential. Today, that vision is coming true in the form of the confident and talented leaders at Girl Power Talk.
Devanshi Arora is a Young Leader and Business Analyst at Girl Power Talk, who hails from Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. She describes the various opportunities Girl Power Talk gave her, including interacting with clients and opportunities for public speaking. She says that this culture truly gave her wings. Speaking about the challenge that girls and young women in India still face today, she says, “At the end of the day, everything boils down to marriage—the education, grooming, upbringing.”
A lot of girls will agree. For instance, Yogita, a Sr. Digital Marketing Analyst at Girl Power Talk, who comes from Sangli, a small town of only 5000 residents, agrees. Yogita moved to Chandigarh to join Girl Power Talk and have a future full of unlimited possibilities. Today, her parents are proud of her accomplishments and are amazed to see the professional and confident woman that their daughter has grown into.
Yogita also does not shy away from mentioning the tremendous development she has experienced at Girl Power Talk. Working in the office has exposed her to technologies that have improved her professional skillset and soft skills. The organization does its best to provide opportunities to everyone. Being a true meritocracy, Girl Power Talk ensures that everyone’s hard work is given due recognition and reward. Additionally, the work itself is aligned to one’s passions and adds meaning to their life, whether they work in office, remotely, or part time.
Many team members voiced their opinion on how, initially, Girl Power Talk seemed too good to be true to them. When Kauthar Wangi, a medical student and Girl Power Talk advocate from Uganda, mentioned she was joining the organization, her sister was apprehensive about the move. However, a quick phone call with Girl Power Talk’s co-founder Sameer Somal dispelled her concerns. Kauthar now spends her days contributing to public relations, monitoring the online reputation of a priority international client, making a global impact locally, and she has not looked back since.
Another example is Paridhi, who is from Roorkee, Uttarakhand. She is highly grateful for the learnings she received from the organization and shared, “It has been a year of my fortunate association with Girl Power Talk. I received the most valuable opportunities to work on the projects that interest me and contributed to my growth. I have received tones of opportunities to develop fresh skills, polish the existing ones and improve myself at every stage of life. Not only did Girl Power Talk afford me the first internship opportunity of my life, but it also provided me recognition amongst my peers and opportunities to make friends around the world.”
As an organization, Girl Power Talk believes in leveraging technology and providing opportunities to anyone willing to take it. The selection process is rigorous and merit-based, however, the judging criteria takes into account character, integrity, courage, and willingness to grow beyond barriers. Girl Power Talk has transformed many lives since its conception with its humanistic mentoring culture. Today, it’s opening doors for young people in Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, and more. It won’t be long before it achieves its vision of being present and making an impact in all corners of the world. Girl Power Talk’s vision remains to empower youth, especially girls, one person at a time.