Manasi Chaudhari: Supporting India’s Women in Accessing the Correct Legal Tools
Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to make this world more equitable. Today I’m super excited to speak with Manasi Chaudhari, founder and CEO of Pink Legal, who is working on UN SDG 5: Gender Equality.
Spiffy: It’s wonderful to meet you, Manasi. I’m curious about the challenges Pink Legal is addressing. What can you tell me?
Manasi: I founded Pink Legal, India's first and only digital resource for women for legal awareness and support. Through the organization, I am addressing the challenge of lack of credible and understandable information on legal rights in India and lack of access to trustworthy, quality lawyers for women.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Manasi: One night I was driving and my car met with a small accident with another car. Two boys came out from their car and started being really aggressive—shouting, banging, and breaking my side-view mirror. I felt scared and unsafe. I didn't want to let this go and let the offenders think that they could get away without consequences. I decided to file a police complaint. Despite being a lawyer, the process of entering a police station for the first time and giving a complaint was intimidating. However, knowing my legal rights gave me courage. This experience made me understand first hand how difficult it can be for women to stand up for themselves when they are not aware of even their basic legal rights. Thus, Pink Legal was born.
Spiffy: More power to you, Manasi! Can you elaborate on how you’re working towards a more equitable world with Pink Legal?
Manasi: Pink Legal is increasing women's access to legal information and resources in two broad ways. Firstly, we run a free helpline for women called Nyay'ri (in collaboration with Project Naveli), for legal and mental health counseling, and secondly, we connect women pan-India to our network of quality-checked lawyers to help them take on-ground legal action. In addition, Pink Legal has also created a large online community of millennial and Gen Z women to educate them about their rights from an early age and encourage them to stop suffering in silence.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone and the impact it makes on your community.
Manasi: In March 2022, just before Pink Legal's second anniversary, we were appointed by UN Women India as a Generation Equality Ally. We are among only eight allies appointed across the country. The partnership with UN Women gives Pink Legal a larger platform to promote our cause of women empowerment, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with other allies and leverage our strengths. This milestone gives Pink Legal a stamp of recognition for the impact we have been creating!
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from failure?
Manasi: Failure is a part and parcel of running an organization. Recently, we faced some issues with our team members, some of whom abruptly moved out, leaving things in a lurch. Instead of letting things crash, I took it as a temporary setback and immediately sprung into action to course correct. We identified alternate members who could step in to fill the gap, and are also restructuring the organization to ensure we don't have such experiences in the future. Therefore, we learned how to handle manpower issues and overcome them without work getting affected.
Spiffy: What is something you've unexpectedly learned from someone recently?
Manasi: I learned the value of letting go from my fifteen-month-old nephew. As adults, we have the tendency of holding on to things, good or bad, and overthinking them. However, through my nephew, I observed that babies have a short-term memory and forget what they were upset about in the next five minutes. I find that ability fascinating and hope to become a baby again, in terms of letting go easily!
Spiffy: I’d love some of that myself, if I’m honest! Thanks for speaking with me today, Manasi—it’s been an honor!
Manasi Chaudhari is a business and transactional lawyer who is passionate about women's rights. She is the founder and CEO of the award-winning and India's only legal platform for women, Pink Legal. In 2018, Manasi assisted Justice Chandrachud in the Supreme Court of India on the landmark cases of Section 377 and entry of women into the Sabarimala temple. She was awarded the Legal Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 by Business World and the Digital Women 2020 Award by SheThePeople and Google. (First published on the Ladderworks website on May 3, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.