Gita Ramanan

Entrepreneur, Architect, Tedx speaker, National Athlete Gita has always worn many hats and excelled at all. Being one of the top students & Athletes in the country during her college years she chose design as it was her passion. After graduating from BMSCE Bangalore, she worked with world renowned architects with specific exposure to premium homes and recreational design.

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Women on breaking into the Interior Industry

It is a reality that most women from my architecture class are not actively practicing in the industry today. Several have made choices owing to what I call the 3Ms: Marriage, Motherhood and Migration.

What is Interior Design? Let me explain my perplexity. I graduated more than 10 years ago from a class where girls outnumbered boys 2:1 and set of an interesting career path that led me to where I am today- the Co-founder and Chief Design Officer of a funded and one of the fastest-growing design firms. In these many years I have battled with many challenges such as Client Management and Employee hiring, Payroll, Accounts, Networking and Marketing, Retention and Research and so on. Becoming an Entrepreneur early on in your career is a guaranteed recipe to sleepless nights and if you're determined to make a success of it, you have a lot of learning and implementing ahead of you.

Yet in the midst of all these challenges, I must admit being a woman was not one of them. I certainly am not diminishing the challenges that Women face stepping out into the workplace today (and I'm talking in context only to women in today's urban India) and maintaining a balance between their personal and professional lives. The challenges fall mostly between severely limiting and mildly uncomfortable for lots of women (and I am fortunate to have met and discussed this topic with many professional women working in today's urban India).

But in my personal experience, being a woman is an advantage in the Interior industry. In my career I have had the privilege of designing projects in multiple genres, from Residences to Commercial offices, Hotels & Restaurants, Salons, gyms, spas and Stores. Every project was for a particular Client and I was afforded an up-close and personal ringside view to their life so I could be better at my job. I am aware of the gift given by every Client who brought me into their life so I could better understand it and create spaces that would stand witness to their lives. I strongly believe that being a woman in this industry is an advantage, as we naturally possess (apologies for the generalization) larger amounts of patience and curiosity that helps us in our endeavours.

It is a reality that most women from my architecture class are not actively practicing in the industry today. Several have made choices owing to what I call the 3Ms: Marriage, Motherhood and Migration. None of these choices should be called into question as primary to being a woman today, is that each of us have options that allow us to dictate the path we let our life lead. The sacrifices made by the women in my life: my kick-a$£ grandmother (who was one of the few Indian women who worked in Germany on a factory-floor) and my mother (who stayed with us here in India when my father worked in the Gulf and educated herself into a career in human resources) are the reason I got /get to have the choices I did/do and I never take them for granted.

Every day I get up, I get up thinking today I get to change lives. No… I'm not a doctor as I have clearly mentioned above… and yes maybe that statement will sound over-dramatic to many, but I have been an Architect & Interior designer for over 12 years now… and I truly believe I have the power to change lives by the power of design. This industry is disorganised, chaotic and filled with unruly men (apologies again for the generalization of the carpenters, plumbers, electricians who mainly ply their trade and mostly to the best of their abilities), and women who are determined to make their mark with their patience, sense of humour and curiosity will certainly come up on top.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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