With ‘Status Single’, India’s first, only community for single women, you are never alone

Status Single was founded on Facebook in 2018 by former Kolkata-based former journalist and writer Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

With ‘Status Single’, India’s first, only community for single women, you are never alone

HYDERABAD: Are you single? But looking for like-minded people to meet, hang out and travel with? If yes, there is an online singles community called 'Status Single', India's first and only community for urban single women in India.

Status Single, an online community for single women in India that was initially started on Facebook in 2018, celebrates being single in an otherwise patriarchal society.

Status Single was founded on Facebook in 2018 by Kolkata-based former journalist and writer Sreemoyee Piu Kundu and already has over 4,000 members.

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, 45, authored a book Status Single after speaking to various women in the community. She explored the hardships of unmarried women in her book, from discrimination in finding homes in big cities to coerced into heterosexual marriages.

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu during her the launch of her memoir 'Everything Changes'

The first offline meet-up was held in Kolkata in October 2021, and since then, offline meet-ups expanded in other cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Chennai, and Hyderabad.

The network, which started with a few friends, has grown to over 4,000 members from diverse backgrounds, including lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, LGBTQ+ singles, and women with disabilities.

Status Single members during one of the meet up

'Singlehood', according to Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, founder of Status Single, is a decision, and courage is what allows a woman to choose between dignity and disrespect.

Sreemoyee argues that single women in India face harassment and pressure to settle down, with marital status and motherhood playing a crucial role in social acceptance despite being extremely successful.

Sreemoyee with her unique initiative wants to remind every parent that their daughter's life is more than being married and having children. She also advocates for a shift in the world's perception towards women, advocating for a more respectful approach to their work, ambition, and dreams.

Status Single meet up in Kolkata

Sreemoyee also wonders why people aren't as enthusiastic and supportive of women's job accomplishments, personal development, and travel adventures as they were about pregnancies and engagements.

"A successful young woman in India faces a witch hunt from nosy neighbours, coworkers, and invasive gynecologists. Being single is entirely a choice, as is becoming a mother. It's important to get rid of the patriarchal construct of the biological clock, which binds women to their womb and also binds a woman to her womb, which makes us fearful of growing old. Everything in our lives is attached to external validation, unfortunately. I encourage single women to stand up for their choices, because living your life with happiness, self-love, and dignity is more important than ticking off a checklist. I'm glad that single women are slowly, but surely changing this patriarchal script, " said Sreemoyee Piu Kundu.

Members found family, close friends, soul sisters in the Status Single community in Hyderabad

The Hyderabad chapter of Status Single was formed on May 7, 2023 with a few single women from Hyderabad and all members have made it a point to meet once a month. The group has already grown to more than 15 women and there are plans to include more women from the community.

Not only do they meet once a month, but they also check on their members when they feel lonely or sick, which was one of the most important factors in starting this community.

Mahiti Kamdar, like many other single women, moved from Kolkata to Hyderabad with a new job and dreams of a new life, but fell ill with covid within a month. She was completely alone in the city and had no one to rely on as there were no members of the status community in Hyderabad.

Her colleagues were kind enough to bring her food and medicine when she fell ill during COVID19, but Mahiti eventually found friends and family after the Hyderabad chapter of Status Single was formed.

Mahiti said, "I learned about Status Single through a webinar that Status Single founder Sreemoyee attended. I was so moved by her story about being single that I contacted her on LinkedIn after the webinar. She connected me to the Facebook group, and after a few months, I started volunteering to organise monthly events in Kolkata in 2021 as a core team member. In late 2022, I moved to Hyderabad with a new job. Sree and I talked about starting a new chapter in Hyderabad after I had settled in well here."

Hyderabad chapter celebrating fourth anniversary of Status Single in Hyderabad

"This community has helped me not only celebrate my single status, but also accept it and wear it with respect. I used to be ashamed of my single status, but after meeting countless other women in the same situation who really enjoyed their single lives, I began to develop a different attitude. Being single comes with fewer responsibilities, which means I'm in charge of what I do, where I work, what my interests/hobbies are, and how I spend my money and so on. I started to become aware of the opportunities that come with singlehood: No need to ‘inform’ a partner of your every activity, you are your life choices and events, you are your own personal life’s boss, " said Mahiti, who now has many friends in Hyderabad thanks to the Status Single community.

"And this community has given me new confidence. When relatives or neighbours questioned my single status, I used to get upset. Now I simply answer with wit or exit the conversation with a smile and self-respect. No more fretting about who said what to whom, why only to me, and so on. I will choose not to get upset, snap, get anxious unhappy but rather focus my energies and efforts for self-growth and development. Hence, singlehood something that society still looks down on is truly my strength and power."

Single soul sisters of Status Single often make impromptu plans to lift up others

Harjeet, a 59-year-old Hyderabad resident, found emotional support through the Status Single group after losing her spouse and young son, who is survived by his wife and two children.

Harjeet, living alone in Hyderabad, receives a lot of emotional support from Status Single members, and they even cheer her up whenever she's emotionally low.

Mahiti, Writtika's impromptu plan to cheer up Harjeet

"We planned an impromptu meeting with her one day when she was feeling low. To cheer her up, Writtika and I took her out to lunch one day. The only requirement we imposed on her was that she dress up and put on make-up. Dressing up, for example, may appear monotonous, yet it might brighten up someone who is feeling low, " said Mahiti.

Singlehood is a choice like marriage says Hyderabad based IT professional Pragnya

Pragna Potta (32), an IT professional in Hyderabad who lives with her brother, believes that singlehood is a choice, just like marriage, and that it should be acknowledged, especially in this era when marriage still holds high importance.

She became a member of Status Single after discovering the 'Status Single' Facebook page through a feminism article on Instagram and she became a member of the Hyderabad chapter once it was founded.

Pragna, who believes that these kinds of groups are extremely important, said, "We live in an era where marriage is still very important. I'm not opposed to marriage, but I believe that singlehood, like marriage, is a decision that should be honoured. Being single has its own set of challenges, and it's nice to know that I'm not alone, and getting some help is always a good feeling. However, such communities should have an agenda and focal points. Meeting and chatting should not be the sole purpose of your visit. I've heard that there is some work being done to establish old age homes for the women in this town, so such things are also useful.

"It's been liberating for me. I'm living on my own, earning and setting up a house (rented though) gives me a feeling of accomplishment. He's always there for me, we are like very good friends who share almost everything with each other. There's no pressure, no dependency on me to do the household chores. We share responsibilities. Our parents come and live with us for a few days every month but things are better this way. There's no restrictions on going anywhere and doing what I want now. My parents are also ok since they thought my brother would have someone to take care of him. I'll also do the household chores so it's preparing me for my post marriage life, that's the sad reality! They still have hopes and try to convince me to get married, " said Pragna while discussing her experience living with her brother.

Sreemoyee Kundu believes that making friends with age is challenging, especially for women who lose friends to marriage.

She emphasizes the importance of company mainly on weekends, especially when one is bored or needs to share a broken heart or discuss work pressure.

"A community is more than one's blood family. It is a sisterhood founded on solidarity and support, as well as a genuine emotional tie because we live in comparable environments and face similar obstacles. I wish that the Status Single tribe expands in every city with women who support one other in sickness and loneliness like comrades." She added.

The Status Single community offers support not only during sickness or depression but also assists members in finding jobs, seeking mental health advice, and obtaining legal assistance.

"We have a common resource pool consisting of HR professionals helping other women get jobs and lawyers providing legal assistance. I also encourage our members to encourage more single women who are also professional experts to assist community members in crucial aspects of life such as legal, medical, mental health, and financial. We also intend to expand our community into other nations, and we are delighted to say that we currently have members in the UK and Dubai, " said Sreemoyee Kundu.

Birth of Status Single

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu experienced grief and confusion after losing her father to suicide, causing her to question her identity. Kundu's innocence was shattered by the discrimination her mother faced after losing her father, which drove her into loneliness.

Her widowed mother was forbidden to attend parties, celebrate aarti, or perform wedding rituals, which was very painful for Sreemoyee.

Her mother found happiness again when she fell in love with a 13-year-old younger man from another community, although she was considered older.

Kundu's decision to be single was influenced by more than just her mother's experiences. At 24, Sreemoyee, who had experienced abuse and been dumped by a man weeks before her engagement, decided she had had enough.

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu during her visit to Hyderabad

Kundu even suffered a nervous breakdown and almost stopped breathing due to her overwhelming shock.

Inspired by her desire to take ownership of her singlehood, Kundu wrote the book 'Status Single' in 2018 after recovering for which she interviewed over 3,500 urban single women in India.

During this time, she also founded the 'Status Single' community on Facebook, which works to empower single women, create a supportive environment, and to embrace singlehood.

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