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Dhara Shah, India


At present, only 14 percent of businesses in India are run by women. The lack of access to financing—reinforced by cultural bias—is a major obstacle for women entrepreneurs. Despite the odds, however, some women are shattering stereotypes as they advance in the field of information technology.

One such woman is Dhara Shah, 27, cofounder and managing partner of Pykih, a company that designs and builds web-based interfaces for content and data. In a typical day, she cycles through many roles, ranging from mother of a toddler to head of a start-up focusing on data visualization and software design.

Mentoring a young employee at Pykih

Juggling family and her own business, Shah sometimes worries that people view her as either a bad mother or insufficiently committed to her work. Indian women are expected to build families, not companies—especially not tech companies, she says.

Starting the day out right: yoga with daughter Sabi

She has learned a lot. “After motherhood, my outlook changed,” she says. “Now I look at things around me and ask myself, would I want my daughter to go through the same sort of ordeals I face? If not, then what I can do right now to start to change things?”

Walking past Nehru Place market

A member of Global Shapers, an initiative backed by the World Economic Forum, Shah believes there is a need to stop celebrating public personalities from sports and entertainment and start celebrating people who create jobs and make a real, substantive difference.

With Pykih, Shah aims to take data, evidence, and research from think tanks and academia and make it accessible to ordinary people—a goal she sees as especially vital in this era of low trust in mainstream media.

Photography and reporting by SAHIBA CHAWDHARY, New Delhi, India.

Opinions expressed in articles and other materials are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect IMF policy.