8 Nov 2017, 08:06 — 4 min read
The winds of change have been blowing at the workplace in India. Women are a growing force, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts who have long dominated this sphere of life in the country.
There are cracks in glass ceilings around the nation with many women breaking through to carve themselves a niche right at the top of the pyramid. Increased financial independence and increasing literacy and awareness of rights are also encouraging women to to speak out. Issues that concern them and changes they seek that would otherwise not be forthcoming from society are all within reach with the new atmosphere that safeguards the female perspective in society.
However, one measure on which India is still far behind in is the number of women entrepreneurs. In India, the Sixth Economic Census shows that women constitute only 13.76% of the total entrepreneurs, i.e., 8.05 million out of 58.5 million entrepreneurs. The vast majority of these are rural establishments where the entrepreneur is the only employee.
Studies around the world have shown that women, though they start fewer businesses, succeed at the same rate as men. That is, women are just as likely to ‘make it’ if they are establishing a startup.
Furthermore, women are more likely to invest in the well-being of their employees and consider environmental and the needs of the community at large. Individually, the money they earn is more likely to go towards the education and nutritional needs of their children.
Despite this, to have such a small percentage of entrepreneurs who are woman shows that their are significant barriers to starting a business for women. Some are:
1. Financing: Financing is a major barrier. In rural areas, women are not considered a safe bet when loans are being given out. The expectation is that they will give up the business if some domestic responsibilities get in the way. In an urban setting, there are many factors as well impeding women entrepreneurs- one is that 95% of VC fund members are men who naturally gravitate to men giving the whole process of financing a gender bias. Women are more likely to self-finance their enterprises which inhibits the entrepreneurial spirit which is always helped by financing.
2. Societal pressure: Societal pressure is a big factor as well. Women are generally told that the domestic sphere is their domain and starting up is man’s work. Starting a business and seeing the process through requires support from family and friends. With the support non-existent, or only present when a woman starts an appropriate enterprise like a bakery or a salon, women who could have started another type of business are discouraged from undertaking the endeavour.
It is also true that with time there is a gradual increase in the number of women owning and running companies. Given that women do have to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the domestic burden, we find a growing number of a group of women known as ‘Mompreneurs’. These are women who are raising children and also running their own companies. It is estimated that 1 in 10 women entrepreneurs is a mompreneur.
Women, just as men, dream of making a mark in society and providing for their families. In today’s world, it is inexcusable that women are not given the same opportunities afforded to men to realise their ambitions.
Let us take a moment to celebrate the entrepreneurial women who have already shown us the way. Pioneering and brave, their legacy will inspire and women will continue to have a growing role in the working life of our society.
Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
We are a team of experienced industry professionals committed to sharing our knowledge and skills with small & medium enterprises.
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