Swati Vakharia, the founder of ‘Women Planet‘, a well distinguished women oriented platform, is a female crusader with an invisible cape who is constantly advancing towards helping and empowering the women of India by bringing them together in order to make a difference. It is a portal that addresses various issues relating with women and also works to provide the solution for the same.
Swati hails from the beautiful city of Vadodara in Gujarat and was brought up in a humble, middle class family. When in school, Swati had a keen interest in sports. However, she ended up doing MBA in Finance and later joined The Times of India as an Operation Executive. Swati reckons further that she had always wanted to have her own start-up through which she could give something back to society. Women Planet was the answer as she could manage the work related with online marketing and SEO (Swati has an experience of seven years in the field) and thus, she put in all the possible efforts to realize her dream.
“What I am currently doing is purely by chance and due to the grim situation in our country. The tipping point for me to start Women Planet was the gruesome Nirbhaya case. I was genuinely affected by that heinous crime and took an expeditious decision to try and help change the situation in my best possible way.”
Swati Vakharia is more of a superwoman who was affected by the disgraceful Nirbhaya incident, to such an extent that she decided to contribute every bit of her expertise to change the perspective of the society towards women. She now manages Women Planet Foundation at both online and offline levels and firmly believes that if she could make even a slight change in the mindset of the people, she would be content.
“Women Planet is a platform to get not only like-minded people but people from different walks of life to share their experiences and bring the much needed change in the society. We work with an aim to Educate, Empower, Entertain! We discuss issues, spread awareness by using different mediums but along with that I did not want make it very serious as laughter is the best medicine so we also keep entertainment and humor as one of our key focus, which is also our USP,” an enthusiastic Swati tells us.
She started a blog about the same, years back and left it open in order to invite opinions, views and discussions about various women issues. Slowly and gradually, her blog took shape of a community and today Women Planet is a forum, a foundation and also a charitable trust. A very proud Swati says, “We are Women Planet and we have shaped it together.” Women Planet is also a print and digital magazine. Her team also provides free copies to women readers and get that funded with different advertising options.
With experts from fields like health, education, career and for many other issues that deal with women, it provides clear solution to women across the globe and isn’t a limited platform anymore.
Women Planet Foundation- a charitable trust that supports and empowers women is also a part of Swati’s venture to empower Indian women.
Before starting her own venture, Swati was a part of another start-up company, Black ID Solutions Pvt. Ltd and it was only seven years later that she came up with Women Planet as she wanted to work for a cause and not just money. She further started looking out for funds which she claims was not an easy task but her focus and stoic attitude towards making the platform a success got her sufficient funds to keep the venture rolling. She also got help from her other ventures like Property Planet and kept her dream alive of working for a cause which finally kissed great heights.
The road to reach her goal was not easy for Swati either. Her journey was rough but she claims it was a learning phase for her. She nurtured her dream like a new born baby and gave it life. The best part about putting her heart and soul for Women Planet, as told by Swati, was the fact that she grew everyday as a person along with the venture. She has been enjoying each and every moment since Women Planet started growing. Meeting people from different cultures, connecting with them, helping those who were stuck with social norms and doing all that she has been doing since the time she had started the blog and she has loved every bit of it.
Being a woman, she too had to go through all that a woman shouldn’t. She was born in a generation that already had 8 girls and one boy (her elder brother). Her parents were thrilled to have her as she was the only girl in her family and yet her relatives weren’t happy about it. It was difficult for her to accept the gender bias mentality and injustice towards women of Indian culture.
Ever since she was a kid, she hated the so-called norms and rules our hypocrite society had for women, for instance, investing less in a girl child’s education because people have a notion that they will be married and go to somebody else’s home. Such notions turned her into a feminist and these incidents gave her the strength to do everything under her capacity to empower women. Also, she chose such medium that connects with youth and gets a full-fledged support from modern India.
She credits her family, in-laws and her husband, Dr. Jyot Vakharia who have always supported her in whatever she did. Taking a moment to talk about her mother, Swati, excitedly tells us how proud she is of her mother who is a teacher by profession and a passionate woman by nature. Her mother has nurtured and taught Swati to be a strong, independent woman without keeping family aside.
Swati states “Generally in India, women find it difficult to concentrate on their career after marriage, but in my case I could work with double energy and that is one of the big reason for my success so far. To be frank, my mother-in-law and my husband have given me an eye to look at the world with a different approach. They have been the example in my life where I could actually see a girl and a boy having similar rights and equality. I can proudly say that I have a happy fun family where we can actually find support amongst each other.”
Keeping in mind the hardships and injustice suffered by rural women, who have no access to platforms like Women Planet, Swati and her team are coming up with a campaign that will help those women to be aware about their rights and injustice done to them and also to encourage them to stand up for them.
“Currently we are organising and executing events with Local NGO’s that support women in rural areas. Our immediate plan is also to deal with smaller but important issues like hygiene for girls in rural parts. We are currently in process of coming up with a small booklet explaining the significance of hygiene and menstrual cycle for villages in Gujarat to start with and then we intend to do it at a national level in future.” explains Swati.
The campaign, however, is at planning stage.
Talking about other aspects of her life, Swati shared with us how she would have been a professional dancer, if she hadn’t been a successful entrepreneur. “Dancing is something that excites me and is one of the biggest craze of my life.” No matter how busy she is with life, she always finds an hour or so to be happy while doing Zumba or going out for a walk with loud music playing in her ears.
She believes that a girl should be two things, happy and full of freedom. The reality of Indian women saddens her at times as they don’t really understand the meaning of true freedom. She requests all the beautiful women out there to understand their power, understand their responsibility and use them wisely. “Do not be dependent for your own happiness & always find your ME time that makes you feel happy about being you!”
Amidst all the work and busy life, one thing Swati dearly misses is spending some quality time with her family. She wishes she could be more often with her family. If given a chance, she would go back in time to relive those days of laziness, when she used to chat with her mother all night long and celebrate festivals together and hang out with her friends. Nonetheless, she has balanced her professional and personal life very well. “With time our life changes and we should know how to move on and make the best out of it,” a nostalgic Swati tells us.
Even so she is working for a cause to empower women, to make them aware of their rights and letting them fight for it, it’s the everyday women that inspires and motivates her the most and keeps her going. She never forgets to mention real fighters like Laxmi, the acid attack survivor and many others who belong to Laxmi’s league, when it comes to fighting for their rights. Swati surmises that every person of her life has motivated her and she is happy with the way her life has shaped up.
Swati is a true example of beauty with brains. She is a successful entrepreneur, a devoted wife, daughter and mother, a perfect blend of a woman. With a story like hers, each one of us should be motivated to put in our efforts till we see our dream turning into reality. The biggest lesson that we can derive from Swati’s saga is that living for oneself is crucial but devoting a part of your life for the betterment of the society, that’s how you measure your self-worth. Swati, thus, in our opinion is truly a shining star.