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Salute the Pioneers

Dec/05/2022 / by Pratika Yashaswi

A couple of days ago, the world celebrated Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, commemorating the millions of women worldwide who have decided to start their own businesses and forge their own paths to and definitions of success.

Being a business owner is hard. More often than not, one wears a dozen different hats (doing their own accounts, maybe even personally delivering goods), juggling many different duties while also weathering the volatility and uncertainty that can come from running a business. Sometimes one has to put work first, and even make sacrifices on the personal front from time to time. Women do all this while navigating a world that favors men. According to the World Bank, globally, only 1 in 3 small, medium, and large businesses are owned by women. This is a figure that must change.

Thus books about and by female entrepreneurs occupy a crucial space in the world of literature. They inspire and guide all women who want to unshackle themselves from the limitations society puts on them and break the mold.

Here are four:

Rising Above the Glass Ceiling cover
Rising Above the Glass Ceiling cover

Rising Above the Glass Ceiling: The Journey of Inspiring Women Business Owners From Pakistan by Sommaiya Noor Ali

In South Asia, only 18% of all businesses are women-owned. In Pakistan, a country ranking third from the bottom on the gender equality index, the figure is probably lower, which is what makes the stories of the women business owners profiled in this book awe-inspiring. They work in various industries from jewelry making to horse riding schools and have come up against significant odds to make their mark. This is a must-read to acknowledge the things that stand in the way of women stepping into their power and seeking financial independence.

LifePass cover

LifePass: Drop Your Limits, Rise to Your Potential – A Groundbreaking Approach to Goal Setting by Payal Kadakia

We can never have too many books by female South Asian founders — in spite of the great strides we have made in gender equality, there are only two South Asian women who have been CEOs of global companies (Indira Nooyi of Pepsi and Leena Nair of Chanel). This book is written by the founder of ClassPass, a billion dollar fitness and wellness business and has been described as “..a part spiritual, part business, part get-off-your-ass manual.” Covering themes of money management, goal setting and even navigating one’s identity, this book comes highly recommended by Arianna Huffington.

How to Be a Bawse cover
How to Be a Bawse cover

How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh

According to YouTube sensation Lilly Singh, a bawse is someone who “…exudes confidence, hustles relentlessly, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because he or she has fought through it all and made it out the other side.” In this book, she provides 50 rules to conquering life, exploring topics ranging from relationships to career choices to everyday annoyances. She is positioned well to provide this kind of advice, because not only is she successful at what she does, (she has amassed a global audience of over 38 million followers across her social media channels), she is, like many entrepreneurs a multihyphenate entertainer, actress, producer, writer and creator. A quick, light read.

Powerful cover
The cover of Powerful

Powerful: The Indian Woman’s Guide to Unlocking Her Full Potential by Nirupama Subramanian

This book is very much meant for the Hindu South Asian woman, as it makes esoteric references to the goddesses of Indian religion and lore. An exciting take on feminine power, it draws from six feminine archetypes: the innocent Kanya, seductive Apsara, warrior-like Veera, the noble Rani, nurturing Maa, and the wise Rishika. It is not strictly a book about business, although it explores something business success flows from: a woman’s innate belief in her powerfulness. This book includes recommendations for yoga asanas, affirmations, and body practices to help readers get in touch with their various archetypes. Not your average self-help book.