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The corona virus pandemic is a watershed moment for the Internet, and in particular the women’s internet. Communities, conversations, online solidary have been a large part of this narrative, and this has helped people, and in particular women, come together to support each other. As news of covid hit the world, and in particular India, we saw a surge in traffic and conversations on the SHEROES app.
In the early days we saw a lot of panic, curiosity and chaos, as a response to the news. Women wanted to know how they could keep their families safe, how to engage their children as schools were shut, how to manage their jobs, while taking on the additional emotional and physical labour, and how to respond to the unpredictability of the stock market. Managing mental health is as much a priority as managing physical health and others aspects of life, and the entire SHEROES app team, went into full gear to support the 16 million women users of the platform.
The app was receiving thousands of queries every day from mothers, students, professionals and homemakers, alike. Our resident doctor Michelle Frank hosted live sessions to dispel myths, and extensively curated credible information around the virus. As time progressed, there was surge of queries on the SHEROES app helpline. Key themes included depression and anxiety experienced due to social isolation, how to engage children and stay focused, how to cope with loss of jobs/ business, etc. This was new territory, however the rules of empathy stay the same, and our counsellors have handheld users as they processed new realities.
As users became more resilient, mentally, they began sharing construction experiences and advice geared to help us use social isolation as an opportunity – we saw a surge in parenting tips, DYI cooking experiments, book suggestions, poetry, music, art and other creations that are very much by-products of this time. Some SHECO entrepreneurs swung into action and created their own lines of face masks, in the face of shortages. Yes, despite the news of mortality that is sweeping the world, the SHEROES app has been a safe, constructive space for women to bring their authentic fears and strengths to the fore. And managing the platform, is a team that has been working remotely for the last two weeks!
For Team SHEROES, remote work is not an alien concept. It has been a way of life for almost 40% of our team, and 100% of the women deployed on our remote solutions unit MARS (Managed Remote Solutions) by SHEROES. Regularly using tools such as Slack has helped our team make the shift to remote work in a seamless way, and we have ingrained in us the “connected workers” mind set. Our online meetings though have become more interesting – pets and kids appear alongside their humans, at various intervals.
The safety and good health of our team members is a top priority, and as a precautionary measure, we have secured health insurance that covers the entire team specifically against corona virus. No doubt this is a tough time for the world but it is also teaching us to bring kindness, empathy and compassion more liberally to our work and life.
I end by leaving you with some powerful verses by 64-yr old blogger Kitty O’Meara, so apt for this time:
And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and listened deeper
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves
SHEROES is a women-only social network accessible via Sheroes.com and the SHEROES app, offering over communities, a free-to-use counselling chat helpline, resources, mentorship, peer-to-peer conversations, a marketplace, a reproductive health tracker and opportunities for women. SHEROES is reimagining how women use, experience and benefit from the internet. It is specifically aligned to using internet as a tool for change, especially for women in high gender gap countries offering a space for appreciation, recognition, growth and interactions. Safety, empathy and trust are tenets that are built into the platform at every level.
SHEROES app: https://shrs.me/m/IYbSR5wp3I
SHEROES on web: https://sheroes.com
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