How One Fintech Founder Is Helping Thousands Of Women Reach Their Potential
After experiencing setbacks in her career because of her gender and seeing it happen to women all around her, Windy Natriavi, the co-founder of fintech startup AwanTunai, wanted to do something about it.
“The trigger that moved me was when my own top manager resigned,” she says. The manager, she adds, was the breadwinner of the family and was experiencing marital problems. In a bid to resolve her issues, the woman tried different arrangements, including “flexible working hours, working remotely and one-on-one heart-to-heart sessions, but [her marital] problems didn't improve, so she resigned”.
After speaking to a peer, Natriavi realised that she could have taken better approaches to support the manager through the situation. “I should've insisted on a sabbatical, for example, so that [her] issues could be resolved thoroughly instead of partially.”
It was this realisation that spurred Natriavi to create WomenWorks, a platform where women can pursue professional and personal development through training and mentoring. “I realised I hadn't been in [my manager's] position before. And like many things in life, the quality of help you can offer is better if you have experienced [a similar situation yourself].” This is why WomenWorks focuses on providing a strong social network that empowers women by matching and connecting them with other users.
Natriavi shares more about WomenWorks and opening up the network to male mentors here.
How is the woman's career journey unique?
Women have a specific career life cycle. When we're first starting our, we focus on advancing our careers, similar to our male counterparts. But when a woman gets married or has kids, some of us will have to think of other ways to stay financially independent. Some of us may have to take a few years off and plan to enter the workforce later. All of these life stages offer challenges on their own that WomenWorks aims to help solve so that more women have the option to be financially independent.
Can you describe the programmes that WomenWorks have in place to help women achieve greater financial freedom?
WomenWorks aims to build financial independence through equal gender participation in the economy. We boost gender diversity in the workforce by helping women to enter, advance and come back to the workforce through our four primary services: one-on-one mentorship, where our algorithm matches our users with other women who are currently walking or have walked a similar path as them; a recruiting platform through which we aim to connect more than 28 million educated Indonesian women with female-friendly job opportunities; Womenbiz, which is our women-first growth programmes, where we work with companies to create female-friendly environments at work; and Masterclass, which is our virtual webinar series where women can obtain insider and "workable" information from others to [help them achieve] their goals.
You also started Stronger TogetHER to include male mentors into WomenWorks' network. Why did you decide to do so?
We are advocating for an economy where men and women's unique skills and talents are harnessed to their utmost potential. For that to happen, we need the support of our male counterparts, who happen to occupy a majority of senior leadership positions [in Indonesia]. Change occurs with every decision taken, so we are actively recruiting men to help mentor and support women to reach the top while urging them to also be more knowledgeable about the issues [women face in the workforce].
What achievement of WomenWorks are you most proud of so far?
The most significant one for me is that we have proven that getting more women to excel in the workforce is not merely about diversity, it's about delivering value to the business and economy.
As of this writing, WomenWorks has connected more than 1000 mentees and mentors, and I'm proud that many of them—mentors included—have either gotten promoted or are taking on leadership roles at work within a short time of joining us. This shows that companies are seeing the business value in our programmes. We've also helped first-time female entrepreneurs to start their businesses from scratch, which in turn, creates more jobs.
I'm also proud of how engaged our users are [with us], which was further cemented when WomenWorks won the Best Hidden Gem Award for Indonesian Market 2021 from Google Play Store. It's not every day that our hard work gets recognised, so it feels good whenever our product is validated.
What's next for WomenWorks?
We will be scaling our impact through tech on a national level and this includes making our products and services more accessible, even in rural parts of Indonesia; launching a recruitment platform to help close the women gender and pay gap at leadership levels; and launching a subscription service for our mentorship products.
See more Gen.T honourees from the Social Entrepreneurship category of the Gen.T List 2021.