By Prasiddhi Pandey:
Whenever any topic regarding the status of women in India comes up for discussion, an image of discrimination, exploitation and illiteracy immediately conjures up in our minds. From the decline in their much-revered status in ancient times to the promotion of equal rights for them through reforms today, the history of women in India has always been eventful.
However, at the same time, there is another reality about women that cannot be ignored. In the last few decades, women have emerged as leading professionals in almost every field of work and one such area is entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship as a concept has gained recognition as a significant contributor towards the economic growth of the country. This could be attributed to various factors like family support, economic policies, awareness of democratic values and growth in literacy level. Today, approximately one-third of entrepreneurs in the world are women.
For sustainable economic development, it is necessary that both men and women make a combined effort. Building an entrepreneurial society requires an availability of equal opportunities for all. Yet, the participation of women as entrepreneurs has not been very impressive when compared to that of men. There exist certain barriers that hinder their progress. Even in this era of globalisation, women entrepreneurs face a number of challenges.
Scarce availability of reliable opportunities continues to be one of the key obstacles for women to undertake challenges. Several conditions are required to be taken care of for female entrepreneurs’ startups to prosper. We need sustainable and responsible workplaces for our women. This could be achieved by demonstrating links between productivity, gains and improved working conditions, good industrial relations and good environmental practices. Women should get to equally participate in the workforce of the country. This could be ensured by making available affordable child care and guaranteeing equal treatment at the workplace.
Despite a plethora of challenges to deal with, women today are breaking stereotypes and coordinating partnerships between national and international networks around the world. To encourage budding women entrepreneurs, it is necessary that they have access to reliable sources of information, stable finance and benefits of government schemes. They should learn about the legal procedures involved, attend business-oriented seminars and interact with those women who are already active as entrepreneurs. The problems of lack of information, social barriers, complex legal formalities, patriarchal societies and finance related issues must be resolved. A solution to these would enable women entrepreneurs to contribute not only towards income generation but also towards economic growth and development of the country as a whole.