Sheroes is an exclusive online platform for women

By Bhavani Prabhakar Published on Aug 24, 2018 06:31 PM IST

 

Sheroes founder and CEO Sairee Chahal.

Chennai: Articulate your views and you are sure to be mocked. Such is the state of affairs on popular social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. No matter your gender, trolls fly thick and fast when you try to spread your thoughts.

For once, however, let us forget about trolls and talk recognition and empowerment. There have been a lot of people empowered by online platforms, although it has to be accepted that such things happen only by chance and not many benefit by it.

How about a combination of empowerment and safe space? That, too, a community only for women? Does it not sound cool? It certainly is.

In a measure to make the women community break their shackles and express themselves freely, Sairee Chahal has founded SHEROES, a women-only online platform to solve gender disparity in the country and ensure free flowing discussions on any topic under the sun.

It is a safe, constructive community for women on the Internet, she says. All it requires for a woman to do is, download the application and register herself, says Sairee.

"I always felt that Internet was abusive for us womenfolk. If you tweet something, you get mocked at or if you are on Facebook, chances of your being stalked are high and it gives way for random men to get connected with you. I realised that there is always a need for women to engage with peers without any hindrance and that is how Sheroes was conceptualised four years ago," says Sairee.

To control trolls and hate speech, the team uses a mix of algorithmic and human-based moderation techniques. The algorithms use various signals including understanding the textual and image content that is posted, spam reports by users and determining if the content should be taken off, or flagged for human intervention. Multiple layers are set up to prevent men from entering the platform.

GIRL POWER

When Vrinda, an artist hailing from Jaipur, posted pictures of her artworks on Sheroes and Facebook, it was Sheroes that motivated her and transformed her into an entrepreneur and she now uses the platform to expand her career.

Talking about it, Vrinda adds, "In addition to encouraging me, Sheroes has quite a lot in store such as counselling, parenting, health support and relationship advice. It has added a lot of value to my life."

It has been a year since Sairee launched the community platform application and it has uplifted several women across the country.

"Even though it has just been a year since we launched the platform, the response has been overwhelming and three million women have registered; we have 35 communities. The positive response is driving us forward to impact women to help overcome their barriers together," adds Sairee.

Sairee Chahal

INCLUSIVITY

The platform has also extended its support to transwomen by having a 'pride community' to make it more inclusive.

"The exclusive community for them has been definitely welcomed. We have a successful trans photographer from Chennai and a make-up artist from Kerala. They actively participate in communities of their interest and also leverage our chat helpline to seek support from counsellors to tackle daily issues," says Sairee.

CATCH 'EM OFFLINE

Taking the conversation offline, the platform is organising the sixth edition of 'Sheroes Summit' on 25 August in Chennai. The summit brings together female professionals and businesses from diverse backgrounds. Slam poetry, tech talks, my#takecharge story and discussion on 'The Girl Tribe' are a few of the highlights of the event.