We can't thank women enough for shaping our world for the better everyday. Women today are unstoppable! But how often do you come across a woman with a vision to empower other women? It is rare! 

We keep bringing you stories of awe-inspiring women from across the world. This time, we had a quick chat with Dr. Aarti Gupta, who is an inspiration for many. 

Dr. Aarti Gupta is currently the Chairperson for FICCI FLO Kanpur Chapter. She has been instrumental in bringing forward pertinent issues related to the growth of women entrepreneurs both at the state and national level.

Dr. Aarti Gupta is one of the 22 Top Women Investors in the country named by Inc42. She believes that true empowerment comes from empowering those around us. Read on to know more about her inspiring journey to success.

Journey To Becoming The Chairperson Of FICCI, FLO

Talking about her background and journey, she shared, "I was born in Hyderabad and I hold a doctorate in Economics from IIT Kanpur, a post-graduate diploma in business studies from Harvard University, and a Master’s degree in Economics from Northeastern University. I have been blessed to be born and married into a family which has always supported my dreams. I am the CIO of DBR Ventures which is an angel investing entity and invests into startups."

"As a young woman, FICCI FLO attracted me as it provided a platform for women to not just empower themselves but also empower those around them. As a PAN India body it has in its membership some very inspiring women and to follow them and take on the chairperson role for FLO Kanpur has been very gratifying," she added.

Support From Friends And Family Through The Journey

Dr. Aarti Gupta was always encouraged by her near and dear ones through her journey. She shared, "Growing up my parents never had a different set of rules for me and my brothers. I have always been encouraged to strive for the very best. After getting married I have received similar support, if not more from my husband and my family. There is a misconception that marrying into a smaller city does not give you opportunities. I went ahead and persuaded my PhD when my daughter was 2 years old and had the complete support of my entire family.

I also manage the family wealth and investments, which are usually managed by the male members of the family. I am blessed to have this trust and support. I have also been lucky to have a group of like-minded friends who support and encourage me in all my work. With Covid-19 hitting us this year, under the FICCI FLO banner we had launched a number of campaigns to help those who needed our help. The entire city came forward even without asking for help."

The Meaning Of Success

Dr. Aarti Gupta while talking about the meaning of success for her shared, "I feel that one should set the grandest vision for your own self because you become what you dream. But to achieve that dream there is a lot of hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, and sacrificing. Success for me is not something which is final, I feel it is a journey where I set up a goal, a dream, and work hard to achieve it, and once I achieve it, I set up another one. Similarly, one has to realise that sometimes you fail and the process is the same. Once you fail, you pick yourself up and set another goal. So success and failure are both part of the journey and not the destination."

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Thoughts On Indian Women & Their Financial Independence

aarti gupta women empowerment

"In India, we women are closing the gender gap when it comes to education. There is no doubt that the brightest and most intelligent ones out of schools and colleges are girls. In fact, a quick show of hands-on the toppers in this college and I am sure it’s the girls. However, as a country, we are amongst the lowest when it comes to work force participation. I have often wondered why this is the case. Why is it that in the next 5-10 years the sharpest minds in any classroom will not be working.  I do understand that society demands men and women to play different roles. I am from a joint family and I understand the duties of a daughter-in-law, a wife a mother etc. But girls we don’t have to make the marriage or settling down cause a full stop in our dreams and careers," she said. 

Further talking about the ways they can kickstart, she shared, "If you want to you will find a way like so many women do to balance your work and home life. Financial independence is one of the most key ingredients in the true empowerment of women and you need to maintain that. I often hear women saying, I do not work cause my family doesn’t need the money, but what about you yourself? In fact, I honestly believe that our PM's vision of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao needs to extend to Beti kamao because jabtak humari betiyan kamayengi nahi wohi shashak nahi ban sakti, they will never feel truly empowered."

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Ways FICCI FLO Helps Empowering Women

FICCI FLO helps empower women in different ways. Talking about the same, she shared, "FICCI FLO is all India forum for women, FLO has its headquarters in New Delhi, with 17 chapters covering different geographical regions of India.  FLO represents over 8000 women entrepreneurs and professionals. With over 36 years of experience, FLO has been promoting entrepreneurship and professional excellence among women through workshops, seminars, conferences, training and capacity building programs etc. The objective of the organization is to encourage and facilitate women to showcase their talents, skills, experiences, and energies across sectors and verticals of the economy, for a truly inclusive economic growth trajectory."

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Further talking about FLO Kanpur, she said, "FLO Kanpur is a fairly young chapter. Our vision for this year is RISE (RAISE, Ignite, Sustain and Empower) At FLO we strongly believe that as the largest chamber of commerce we have the power to empower. Inspite of the pandemic last year we organized close to 70 webinars and workshops for our members which helped them move ahead in their businesses. We also have adopted two villages near Kanpur where we aim to skill the women and encourage entrepreneurship."

Message For HerZindagi Readers

Lastly, Dr. Aarti Gupta had an inspiring message for our all readers. She shared, "Do not think Linear, think exponential. We, women, love a growth path we can predict and thus a lot of us restrict our thinking to being linear. We trace the steps we can walk and only take risks enough to walk those steps. Thus we often miss the exponential trends as that pace seems too risky and improbable. Like I said before I always believed that one should set the grandest vision for one’s life, because one tends to become what one believes in. So girls dream as big as you want and then work as hard as you can to make these dreams successful. Do not let anyone tell you this project is too big or this course will take too much time. Believe in yourself, you can either lead or be led, the choice is yours."

Dr. Aarti Gupta has been working each day to empower women around her. Isn't her story inspiring? Share your thoughts with us. For more such stories, stay tuned to HerZindagi.