Over the last decade, the Indian economy has noticed steady growth. Even there has been a parallel growth in the number of startups of these startups are operated by men. Women have the ambition to become entrepreneurs but they have to face a lot of biases in professional life.
There are barely any startups that are being operated by women in India. Female entrepreneurs are very critical for the country as it catalyzes women participation in the labor force at a time when the rate of India’s female labor force participation has observed such a low in history. It has fallen to nearly 17.5%. As per a report currently, only 7% of working-age women in India have paid jobs. Out of a hundred entrepreneurs, only seven are female entrepreneurs and 50% of these have become entrepreneurs out of necessity. To support their family or being the only bread earner of the family are the main reasons why women get into the business.
India ranks 70th among 77 countries in terms of the country covering female entrepreneurs as per the November report of 2020. Women manage household work, children, and family, create the monthly budget and can do what not. They can even manage the business along with managing the house and can excel in them as their decision making power and management are much better than men. Still, women are poorly represented in the business in India. They have to face a lot of difficulties to succeed in life.
Do you know as per the latest study the gross domestic product of India can boost by 16% by advancing women’s equality?
Unequal education is one of the main reasons for such disparity. It cannot just be a coincidence that there are comparatively more entrepreneurs in states which have high literacy rates. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra are among the top five states that have the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs.
Most people have a set thinking that this is not a woman’s world. They feel in financial matters men are more competent. In this stereotyped environment women, entrepreneurs are not treated with respect and also while having a conversation they can sense doubt. Such negative feedback makes the situation more challenging for women to develop a business mindset. This causes women to doubt their business skills and lowers the confidence too. Men think they are much smarter than women. Do you agree? Absolutely not! Do remember there is an inverse relationship between leadership talent and arrogance.
Entrepreneurs have to undertake risk to earn profit, but it is perceived that women are less willing to take up the risk. When they approach investors for finance they are treated differently than men. Investors prefer to help men as compared to women even though they have identical content. The other reason why investors do not want to lend funds to women is that they barely have a property to keep as security. Even the family hesitate to support the venture of the females.
As per the social norms of India women’s first and foremost responsibility is to look after the house. Women work five times more at home as compared to men at work. Family support is very crucial for the success of women entrepreneurship as they have to juggle between both house and business. If the family is supportive, women can fulfill their dreams and aspirations and can even touch the sky. In an interview, Mrs Sheryl Sandberg the chief operating officer of Facebook said that the career of a woman mostly depends on the person whom they choose to marry.
When women become mothers they often have to encounter many more hurdles that hold them back. They cannot get the benefit of maternity as they are the sole owners due to which many have to discontinue their business. If they start again they need a helping hand. Some are fortunate to have parents staying with them to take care of their children. Many have to struggle as they don’t have any option for childcare and if they hire nannies people make them feel guilty by thinking of them as selfish.
Safety is most important for women. They cannot work after a certain time in the evening and have to leave the office as commutes between the office and home are perceived to be unsafe. Delhi, the capital of our country and is among one of the four startup cities of India is notoriously poor in ensuring the safety of women and has reported extremely high rates of sexual crimes. Not only this women are abided by many restrictions by the family which decreases their freedom and thereby their economic participation.
If women want to seek loans for their business nearly they have to visit banks 4 to 5 times while men have to visit only twice as per the international Finance Corporation report. A mumMumbaised fashion designer Ashwini Mhetre wanted a loan of 49 lacs for her business but did not had anything to keep as collateral. So she applied for a collateral-free loan under the Chief Minister’s Employment generation program. Now it has been more than six months she has been waiting and chasing for it even though everything was in its place. She even tried to get a loan from a private bank but all her efforts were wasted. As per one of the official women do not have the confidence to secure high-value loans. This situation tends women to lose their confidence and leave them heartbroken. Even though we talk about gender equality still in the 21st century there is so much disparity.
These are the main causes of low women entrepreneurship in India. It is often said that a woman is always there behind the success of a successful man. If women rather than being at the back and supporting others stand for themselves they can surely promote economic growth, innovation and can create more employment opportunities. Women can overcome these barriers themselves and by the support of their family and the government which can increase the chances of their success. Equal access to both education and training should be provided to both men and women who would enable them to start their own business.