As a week-long series ahead of the International Women’s Day that is celebrated on March 8 around the world, EducationWorld brings to you interviews with some women achievers in the fields of education and parenting.
One such inspiring story is that of Neha Kare Kanabar, founder of UNIMO Universe Of Moms which was conceptualised in 2014 and has rapidly grown to become one of ‘the world’s largest online community of mothers’ today.
Below are excerpts from her interview, where she talks about the challenges she faced, giving feminism her perspective and more..
What inspired you to start UNIMO ?
When I became a mom of twin boys in 2014, I came across dozens of groups, blogs, and websites that was constantly giving mothers unsolicited advice on how to raise their child. Moms like us were fatigued by the deliberations over right and wrong. For a new mother, you want to take a step back and let her know that you want to help her, make her feel loved and comfortable enough to ask your advice once in a while. During all these conversations around babies, no one was talking about the woman who is lost in the journey of motherhood and that’s why I decided to start a community of mothers which is not a regular parenting group but a niche connect platform for moms and their me-time. We call it “a happy mom project” After all, if the mother of the house is happy the entire family is happy.
What are the challenges you faced as you navigated this new career path and life as a whole?
The biggest challenge I faced was taking that first leap of getting full time into community building. Quitting a well-paid satisfying job wasn’t easy. Introducing my unique venture to the world and my family was very challenging. People advised me to introspect and retrospect my decision as they couldn’t understand why an engineer and an MBA graduate would choose to leave everything for a Facebook Group.
As a woman, what are the challenges you faced while growing up/the liberties you enjoyed as a woman?
Hailing from a conservative family, I consider being educated a privilege. As an adolescent, I was irked by the fact that the boys in my family had greater freedom while the girls were bogged down by limitations. It was a challenge to make decisions regarding our work, education, marriage and even social relationships independently. Today, although some Indian women are global leaders, a large majority of women and girls do not fully enjoy their rights due to deeply entrenched patriarchal views, norms, traditions and structures.
What inspired you to become the person you are today?
I believe in the magic of believing. I always inspired and challenged myself to achieve extraordinary dreams. Training the subconscious can help translate virtual reality to our physical reality.
How do you balance your personal and professional lives?
For many people, work-life balance is a strange aspiration for a fulfilling life. But I think a little differently. ‘Work-life balance is very critical to avoid stress’ but thinking about it all the time can give you chronic stress. What works for me is being 100 percent present in the place I am and giving my 100 percent there.
What is your definition of feminism?
Feminism for me has a synonym: CHOICE.
It’s about free will. Simply put, “Men are free to make choices about simple things like what clothes they wear. This is how it should be, for men and women alike.”
I echo loud, when Emma Watson says :
Feminism is about giving women a choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom. It’s about liberation. It’s about equality.
Your message for women on Women’s Day?
Celebrate women every single day. Women’s day is about celebrating a woman’s success and raising awareness against gender bias. So, we all should choose to ‘challenge’ to bring the change. If you could see it from my eyes, you would know you are one gem of a woman!