The WADE SISTERS – Binding the community of Women in Design

By wadeasia 11 May, 2022

WADE ASIA is an eco-system created for women in design by two sisters Vertica Dvivedi and Madhurima Chowdhury. It was conceived in 2016 to bring the community of female designers in a common ground. In 2020, it will be celebrating 5 years of Women-led Development with designers from India and South East Asia in New Delhi from 09-10-11 October 2020.

WADE ASIA has connected several thousands of women and inspired lacs of people. The WADE Awards have recognized the work of more than 5000 women and recognized the work of more than 150 women from 15+ states of India. Speakers from London, Sydney, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal and other neighbouring countries have been part of WADE ASIA.

WADE doesn’t charge any fee for entering the event. It doesn’t even charge for its extremely popular conference with knowledge sessions, masterclasses, and material workshops. WADE ASIA doesn’t charge money from women to submit award entries. In fact, more than 50 awardees who win the coveted WADE AWARD every year are paid their travel fees for to & fro commuting.

Entrepreneurship is tough, social entrepreneurship even tougher. It is good to see the determined young ladies doing good. Sharing an excerpt from the interview of Vertica Dvivedi and Madhurima Chowdhury with Sneha Sharma.

Q. WADE ASIA is doing a lot for women in design. Most of the events charge for such services even from students. Why is WADE not charging a fee?

Vertica Dvivedi: The intention to serve was at the core of starting WADE ASIA. As a woman entrepreneur who wants to see other women rise, I wanted this platform to provide maximum support and bring in women from different corners. The pressure to make this social initiative sustainable is a great responsibility too. However, to do so, the easy way people opt is by charging a hefty amount from attendees. I didn’t want to do this as this would stop the neediest women from joining this platform – the startups, young women in design, students of art & architecture, aspiring designers, etc.

What is the use of creating a platform for women where the most needy wouldn’t be able to gain from it? However, a platform for the privileged cannot serve any community but a handful of people who may not even need such a platform.

Thus I opted for the tougher way. The 1st edition and larger part of the 2nd edition were organized through self-funding. Later we collaborated with MATECIA Building Material Exhibition and IIR Conference while keeping the format of WADE ASIA untouched & undisturbed. In the future, we may charge small fees for running value-added services for the community.

Q. Does the community of women in design value the great work done by WADE ASIA?

Vertica Dvivedi: Yes, it values the work done by WADE ASIA. WADE has received tremendous support and applause from the design fraternity. We often receive messages from the stalwarts of design asking us how they can support us in WADE ASIA.

Women in Design from across India pour in their love for WADE ASIA. Some of the opinions are very close to my heart and I check them often during tough times. They give me the strength to move on.

Do check some of the current opinions HERE.

Q. Your work has proved that Social enterprises can grow respectfully while not diluting the objectives.

Madhurima Chowdhury: We do not want to fail the women in design. If WADE ASIA fails to become a sustainable business model, how will we lead by example? We want to inspire the women in design and see them succeed. WADE should be able to help them rise and lead by walking the talk. While the positive intent to serve, rules the working of WADE ASIA, we needed to take prudent steps in entrepreneurship to ensure WADE ASIA’s objectives are not diluted while we scale-up and expand the platform. We are on toes to facilitate women in design to make their mark in the world, not just in Asia.

Vertica often quotes Rosa Parks, “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”

Q. Is WADE ASIA only for women?

Madhurima Chowdhury: WADE AWARDS are for WOMEN, REST is for ALL. The platform is gender agnostic for 90% of the activities – Knowledge-led Conference, Material Workshops, Design Galore, Business Meetings, Jury, Speakers, Exhibition, Innovations, Installations, etc. The WADE team facilitates learning & sharing for women and curates the event to ensure women go back with the maximum takeaway.

Q. Why Women?

Vertica Dvivedi: (Smiles) I ask why not?
(All the three women laugh in mutual agreement with the obvious answer)

Q. Let me change the question to: Why was WADE ASIA started?

Vertica Dvivedi: WADE ASIA started because I saw a huge gap and wanted someone to fill that up. I wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.

Women were working in silos. There was no platform to meet, network and collaborate. The work of women was not getting documented or recognized. There was also a need for young women to have a platform where they could learn, listen to their mentors and leave inspired. There was a need for a platform that could holistically spread the work done by women and talk about their achievements beyond the boundaries of the design fraternity.

Women like octogenarian Didi Contractor received her 1st award in WADE ASIA when she was 88. Architect Namita Singh, a Padma Shri nominee and architect of Asia’s largest naval academy also received Life Time Achievement Award in WADE. Likewise, the stories are endless…!

Q. What is there for participating brands in WADE ASIA?

Madhurima Chowdhury: WADE Partners value the international quality of the platform we have created. We are professionals and they value professionalism. It is encouraging to see the participation grow and the way WADE ASIA is loved for not just being a business event but a meaningful and respectful platform. Partners are happy with its collaboration with MATECIA Building Material Exhibition and IIR conference as it has expanded their possibilities. Brands get the opportunity to Present, Exhibit, undertake Product Workshops, understand the needs of the Designers & Architects and also meet the important Government officials, Builders, Decision-makers and Top Dealers and Business leaders in retail who are part of WADE ASIA.

Vertica Dvivedi is the founder of WADE ASIA, the platform for women in design, architecture, art, engineering, construction and professionals working for the built environment. She is also the chief curator of the annual architecture conference. Vertica Dvivedi is the recipient of several awards for entrepreneurship and ASIA BOOK OF RECORD holder for the mass attempt which created a world record with the largest formation of W shape on ground by all women. W stands for Water and Women. It also stands for WADE which is the largest platform for females in architecture, interior design, art and engineering in Asia. For WADE FOUNDATION, she is the chairperson and have started to work passionately for Water Awareness. Website:

Madhurima Chowdhury is the associate director of WADE ASIA and its founding member. She co-curates the annual conference and is heading SURFACES REPORTER city architecture & design events called THE TALK OF TOWN.

Sneha Sharma Gupta is a researcher and writer. She writes about entrepreneurship and work-life balance.

About WADE Asia Conference & Awards

WADE ASIA is one of the most prestigious national conferences on Architecture, Design, Art and Engineering and the largest platform for women in design in Asia.

The 5th celebration of WADE ASIA’s annual event will take place on the 09-10-11/ October/ 2020 at the NSIC Grounds, New Delhi with participation from INDIA and SOUTH EAST ASIA.

It happens concurrently with MATECIA Building Material Exhibition and IIR Conference & Awards. If you are working for the built environment or building material industry, you should NOT MISS attending WADE ASIA.

WADE has created a World Record in 2018 for the Largest W shape created on ground by all women, awarded by ASIA BOOK OF RECORDS.

Check out the photos of WADE ASIA 2019
A mega success story Check out WADE ASIA & IIR 2019 in a video
Here is a video that talks about the purpose of WADe ASIA.