This article has been written by Santoshi Singh pursuing a Personal Branding Program for Corporate Leaders from Skill Arbitrage.

This article has been edited and published by Shashwat Kaushik.

Introduction to remote freelancing

To begin with, let us understand the basic concept of freelancing. Freelancing is a form of self-employment where an individual doesn’t work for one specific company, one specific boss in one specific location within specified work hours. The worldwide appeal of freelancing lies in the fact that it allows an independent contractor called a freelancer, the freedom to work from anywhere, anytime for any number of hours (short or long) for clients across the world, which is something that is craved by every employee of the conventional workforce and it is this unique feature that ultimately paves the way for a healthy work-life balance (which is otherwise a difficult thing to obtain in a 9 to 5 routine job). Women who cannot do a full-time job due to unavoidable circumstances such as family or social responsibilities, no time for a daily commute to work, etc. are being drawn towards remote freelancing as a lucrative career option that provides them with remote work opportunities from various technical and non-technical sectors like engineering, software development, virtual assistance, teaching, writing, sales and marketing, etc., to name a few. 

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Now that we have understood remote freelancing, let us understand the metrics of success in this unconventional form of employment that is gaining popularity across the globe and its impact on women professionals.

Unconventional form of employment and its impact on women professionals

Proposal acceptance ratio

In a traditional work environment, women professionals were expected to perform duties assigned to a particular job role within a specific department without understanding its implications at a macro/business level. Remote freelancing has changed this for good. To land a project/job, the first step is to write an effective proposal, which entails extensive research on the client’s business, their website, their areas of concern, etc. This has given women professionals the exposure that they never had before, but now they first understand their client’s short-term and long-term SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) which allows them to draft a proposal focusing on the client’s specific needs, highlighting the value that they could bring to the business if hired and aligning deliverables accordingly. They ensure that a written contract is drafted that mentions the deadlines, scope of work, terms of payment, and deliverables, as this is important to minimise disputes later on. When a client accepts the terms and conditions of a proposal, the remote freelancer gets the job. To effectively gauge a freelancer’s performance, it is important to determine if they are writing effective proposals and this can be done by calculating their proposal acceptance ratio. The higher the ratio, the better for women professionals, as it increases their chances of landing freelance jobs, and in the process, they improve their organisation skills, problem-solving skills, body language, and cognitive, verbal, and written communication skills, which are integral to sustaining remote work and overall professional development.

Rate per hour/hourly rate and fixed rate

A freelancer charges a certain fee from their client called an hourly rate or fixed rate, depending on the type of project that a client wants to get done. Projects for which a lump sum payment is made on completion are known as fixed-rate projects, whereas projects that are paid on per hourly basis are referred to as hourly-rate projects. The success of a freelancer can be gauged by the increase in this rate as of date as compared to when they started their freelancing journey. If there is an upward trend in this metric without a significant drop in the amount of work being done over a while, it indicates success and when women professionals can earn more by investing the same amount of time, it increases their confidence and spending power while allowing them to focus on other things that they are passionate about. As they are not tied to a regular 9 to 5 job, they are free to offer their services to multiple new clients and industries, venture into the business world, hire more employees, and grow by adding more skills to their portfolio, as the number of opportunities available in a remote freelancing setup is endless.

Annual income

Annual income is the income generated in a year and it is fair to say that it may vary from year to year owing to the nature of business. Women professionals make wise use of technology to deploy productivity tools (like project management tools, calendars, time tracking tools, etc.) to their advantage to boost productivity, generate high-quality results, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Owing to all these efforts, when their annual income increases by the year, it adds to the financial well-being of women professionals. They not only gain confidence and respect in society but also become active contributors to the GDP of their country. They become financially literate and get recognised as responsible tax-paying citizens. They can improve their standard of living by leaps and bounds and start building wealth for themselves and their families. Financial independence and the ability to create sustainable wealth lead to abundance in the long term.

Client review

During their freelancing career, a remote freelancer receives reviews from their clients about their work, which gets added to their portfolio and serves as an important visual tool to get more work from prospective clients who go through their portfolio to ascertain if they are a good fit for the job role. Positive feedback boosts the morale of women professionals and acts as motivation to continue doing a good job by creating clear and concise reports that focus on challenges and recommendations adding value to their client goals. Personal brands are indicative of their reputation in the industry and they use it to their advantage by offering additional services and generating passive sources of income. The key to building a strong personal brand lies in clear communication, which involves making efforts to understand client requirements by asking relevant questions, adopting a proactive approach to resolving issues that might arise in the course of their project, and providing regular updates on the progress of their work, emphasising  the value addition done by them in the process. All these factors are crucial to building credibility and winning the trust of clients. When a client trusts a freelancer, they bestow additional work and responsibilities on the freelancer.

Client rehire rate

The client rehire rate is directly proportional to a freelancer’s success. The higher this percentage, the more reliable the freelancer is from the point of view of a client. When a freelancer approaches a client’s area of concern and provides them with tangible results that improve and increase their business turnover, they can show their value and build trust and credibility, which leads to more work. By being honest and clear in communication with clients, women professionals display a high level of professionalism, even if it requires signing non-disclosure agreements to maintain the confidentiality of any sensitive data shared. This leads to peace of mind by ensuring a steady flow of work and a stable source of income for self-motivated women professionals over some time through building a loyal clientele. Adapting to the ever-changing business environment can be challenging at times but it is key to success in the freelance industry. To achieve this, women professionals adjust their schedules to accommodate unforeseen events, demands, changes, etc. To project themselves as hard-core professionals with strong work ethics, women professionals ensure that they build a strong personal brand around their key skills or niche and upgrade their skills regularly to diversify their portfolio in their quest for commitment to excellence.

Overall growth

The overall growth of women professionals depends on the strategies that they adopt to gain maximum results out of their freelancing careers. Growth, which is both a subjective and quantitative term, can be attributed to a series of steps taken correctly in the freelancing journey, ranging from setting personal goals, drafting proposals and contract agreements, working on tax computation, networking to build a team, identifying clients, building long-lasting relationships with fellow freelancers as well as clients, setting strategic prices of services offered and creating a high-quality portfolio that can attract right kind of clients, to name a few. Last but not least, women professionals working remotely leverage the flexibility of working their schedules to their advantage as they accomplish important responsibilities in various other aspects of life. With the spotlight on their socio-economic achievements, they can nail the most elusive work-life balance with their integrity, sense of responsibility and diligence, which serve as an inspiration to all who cross paths with them.

Impact of AI on the lives of working women

  1. Automation of tasks:
    AI-powered automation has revolutionised the workplace, leading to the automation of repetitive and routine tasks. This has had a profound impact on working women, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing, customer service, and data entry. While automation can enhance efficiency and productivity, it can also result in job displacement and the need for reskilling and upskilling.
  2. Opportunities for flexible work:
    AI has enabled the rise of remote work arrangements, which offer greater flexibility and work-life balance for working women. This has been a significant boon for many women who juggle multiple responsibilities, such as childcare and eldercare. AI-enabled tools and technologies have made it easier to collaborate and communicate effectively from remote locations.
  3. Bias and discrimination:
    Unfortunately, AI systems can perpetuate and amplify existing biases and discrimination in the workplace. AI algorithms trained on historical data often reflect societal prejudices and stereotypes, leading to unfair outcomes for women in hiring, promotions, and other employment-related decisions. Addressing bias in AI systems is crucial to ensuring fairness and equality in the workplace.
  4. New job opportunities:
    AI has also created new job opportunities in fields such as AI development, data science, machine learning, and robotics. These jobs require specialised skills and knowledge, presenting opportunities for women to enter and advance in these growing fields. However, the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) needs to be addressed to ensure equal representation of women in AI-related roles.
  5. Impact on caregiving responsibilities:
    AI-powered solutions can assist working women in managing caregiving responsibilities. For example, AI-enabled home assistants can help with tasks such as medication management, appointment scheduling, and reminders. This can alleviate some of the burden of caregiving and allow women to better balance their work and personal lives.
  6. Ethical considerations:
    The use of AI in the workplace raises important ethical considerations, particularly regarding data privacy, transparency, and accountability. Working women should be aware of their rights and have a say in how their data is collected, used, and stored. Ethical guidelines and regulations are needed to ensure that AI is used responsibly and in a manner that respects the privacy and rights of working women.
  7. Skill development and reskilling:
    The rapid pace of technological change driven by AI requires working women to continuously update their skills and knowledge. This includes developing digital literacy, data analysis skills, and an understanding of AI and its implications. Governments, educational institutions, and employers must provide opportunities for reskilling and upskilling to ensure that women remain competitive in the evolving job market.
  8. Gender pay gap:
    While AI has the potential to reduce the gender pay gap by automating tasks that are typically undervalued and disproportionately performed by women, there is also a risk that AI could exacerbate the gap if it is not used in a fair and equitable manner. Addressing the gender pay gap requires comprehensive policies and initiatives that go beyond AI implementation.
  9. Collaboration and support:
    To maximise the positive impact of AI on the lives of working women, collaboration among various stakeholders is essential. Governments, businesses, educational institutions, and women’sorganisationss need to work together to create supportive environments that promote gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.
  10. Future considerations:
    As AI continues to evolve, it is crucial to consider the long-term impact on working women. This includes addressing potential job displacement, ensuring equitable access to AI-related training and education, and developing policies that support a sustainable and inclusive future of work. By proactively addressing these issues, we can harness the power of AI to create a more equitable and fulfilling work environment for women.

The digital gender divide and its causes

The digital gender divide refers to the gap between men and women in terms of access to and use of digital technologies. This divide is a complex issue with a variety of causes, including:

Socioeconomic factors

Socioeconomic factors play a significant role in the gender digital divide. Women are disproportionately affected by poverty, which can limit their access to technology, education, and other resources needed to fully participate in the digital world. They are also more likely to work in low-paying jobs that do not require digital skills, which can further limit their opportunities for digital inclusion.

In many parts of the world, women face barriers to education, which can make it difficult for them to acquire the digital skills they need to succeed in the modern economy. Additionally, women are often responsible for a greater share of unpaid care work, such as childcare and eldercare, which can leave them with less time to engage with technology. These factors can create a vicious cycle where women’s lack of access to technology and digital skills perpetuates their economic and social disadvantage.

There are a number of things that can be done to address the socioeconomic factors that contribute to the gender digital divide. These include:

  • Investing in education and training programmes for women, particularly in STEM fields.
  • Providing affordable access to technology for women, such as through community centres or public libraries.
  • Creating policies that support women’s economic empowerment, such as equal pay laws and affordable childcare.
  • Encouraging businesses to adopt inclusive hiring practices and create opportunities for women in the digital economy.

By addressing the socioeconomic factors that contribute to the gender digital divide, we can create a more equitable and inclusive society where all people have the opportunity to participate fully in the digital world.

Cultural factors

Cultural factors significantly influence women’s participation in STEM fields and their attainment of digital skills. In many societies, traditional gender roles and stereotypes discourage girls from pursuing education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). From an early age, girls are often directed towards subjects perceived as more suitable for females, such as languages or the arts, while boys are encouraged to excel in STEM subjects. This gender bias in education perpetuates the idea that STEM fields are not for women, leading to a lack of female role models and lower expectations for girls’ capabilities in these areas.

Moreover, cultural norms and expectations may also limit women’s opportunities to develop digital skills. In some cultures, women are expected to prioritise domestic responsibilities over their professional pursuits, leaving them with less time and resources to engage in digital learning or pursue STEM-related careers. Additionally, societal biases and prejudices may discourage women from entering male-dominated STEM fields, creating a hostile and unwelcoming environment that hinders their career progression.

The intersection of cultural factors and gender discrimination further compounds the challenges faced by women in STEM. In many workplaces, women are subjected to gender-based stereotypes, microaggressions, and outright discrimination, which can manifest in various forms. They may be overlooked for promotions, receive lower salaries than their male counterparts, or be subjected to sexual harassment and assault. These experiences create a hostile work environment that discourages women from pursuing STEM careers and undermines their ability to advance in their fields.

Addressing cultural barriers and promoting gender equality in STEM requires a multi-faceted approach involving policymakers, educators, employers, and society at large. It is crucial to challenge traditional gender stereotypes, raise awareness about the importance of women’s participation in STEM, and provide girls and women with equal opportunities to excel in these fields. By creating an inclusive and supportive environment, we can empower women to pursue STEM careers and contribute their unique perspectives and talents to shaping the future of technology and innovation.

The digital gender divide has a number of negative consequences for women. It can limit their access to education, employment, and healthcare. It can also make them more vulnerable to violence and abuse.

There are a number of things that can be done to address the digital gender divide. One important step is to increase access to technology for women. This can be done through a variety of means, such as providing free or low-cost devices, offering digital literacy training, and creating safe online spaces for women.

It is also important to address the cultural and political factors that contribute to the digital gender divide. This can be done through education, advocacy, and policy change. By working together, we can create a more equitable digital world for everyone.

Here are some specific examples of how the digital gender divide can be addressed:

Governments play a crucial role in bridging the gender digital divide and empowering women in the digital age. Here are some key actions governments can take:

  1. Provide free or low-cost devices to women:
    • Governments can implement initiatives to distribute free or low-cost devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to women from marginalised communities.
    • This can be achieved through partnerships with telecommunications companies, educational institutions, or non-profit organisations.
    • By providing affordable access to devices, governments can enable women to participate in the digital economy and access essential services.
  2. Offer digital literacy training:
    • Governments can offer digital literacy training programmes according to the needs of women.
    • These programmes can cover basic skills such as using email, accessing the internet, and navigating social media platforms.
    • Governments can also provide training on digital safety, online privacy, and protection against cyber threats.
    • By equipping women with the necessary digital skills, governments can empower them to use technology effectively and safely.
  3. Create safe online spaces for women:
    • Governments can create and support safe online spaces where women can interact, share ideas, and access resources without fear of harassment or abuse.
    • This can include online forums, discussion groups, and social media platforms specifically designed for women.
    • By providing safe online environments, governments can encourage women’s participation in digital spaces and foster a sense of community.
  4. Implement policies that promote gender equality in the digital world:
    • Governments can enact policies and regulations that promote gender equality in the digital sector.
    • This may include measures to address the gender pay gap in the tech industry, ensure equal access to digital infrastructure, and prevent discrimination based on gender in online spaces.
    • By creating a supportive policy environment, governments can encourage businesses to adopt gender-inclusive practices and foster a more equitable digital ecosystem.

By taking these actions, governments can empower women to fully participate in the digital age, unlock their potential, and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.

Businesses can:

  • Hire and promote more women in STEM fields:
    • Set goals for increasing the representation of women in STEM roles.
    • Train managers to identify and address unconscious bias in the hiring process.
    • Create a pipeline of female talent by partnering with schools and organisations that focus on STEM education for girls.
    • Provide mentorship and sponsorship programmes for women in STEM.
    • Offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain top female talent.
  • Provide paid parental leave:
    • Offer paid parental leave to both mothers and fathers.
    • Make sure that employees have access to affordable childcare options.
    • Create a culture that supports employees who take parental leave.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements:
    • Allow employees to work from home or have flexible hours.
    • Offer part-time and job-sharing options.
    • Be open to negotiating work arrangements that meet the needs of individual employees.
  • Create a culture of respect and inclusion:
    • Train employees on unconscious bias and how to create an inclusive workplace.
    • Set clear expectations for respectful behaviour.
    • Hold employees accountable for their behaviour.
    • Create a safe environment where employees feel comfortable reporting discrimination or harassment.

By taking these steps, businesses can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace that is more attractive to top talent and more productive overall.

Individuals can take several actions to address the digital gender divide:

Educate themselves:

  • Learn about the gender gap in technology and the implications of this disparity.
  • Understand the systemic factors contributing to the divide, such as societal stereotypes and biases.
  • Stay informed about initiatives and organisations working to close the gap.

Support organisations:

  • Donate to or volunteer with organisations working to bridge the digital gender divide.
  • Promote and share their work on social media and with friends and family.
  • Encourage governments and businesses to support policies and programmes that promote gender equality in technology.

Mentor and encourage women:

  • Mentorship can provide women with guidance, support, and encouragement to pursue careers in STEM fields.
  • Encourage young girls to explore STEM subjects and provide them with role models.
  • Advocate for inclusive workplaces that support women’s career advancement in technology.

Challenge gender stereotypes:

  • Challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes that discourage women from pursuing STEM careers.
  • Promote positive representations of women in technology in the media and popular culture.
  • Educate others about the importance of gender equality in technology.

By taking these actions, individuals can contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable digital landscape for everyone.


To conclude, while success remains subjective, one gets to choose their own remote freelance success metrics. It may vary from time to time and depend on priorities; however, one always has a choice between factors ranging from quantitative to qualitative or a mix of both. So, choose wisely. Being a woman professional might not have been easy in a conventional set-up but with the change in how businesses work now, freelancing is the right choice when it comes to being financially independent and managing time effectively without compromising on the most desirable aspect of work-life balance. I believe that both clients and women professionals understand the meaning of the phrase ‘Time is money’.



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