Need for more women as job creators

If India has to grow at a high rate of 9-10% per annum year after year for three decades or more, it cannot happen without women and without women becoming entrepreneurs. In the last decade, India has witnessed a change in outlook towards entrepreneurship amongst various stakeholders. Women have come up in large numbers to start their own business and although there is a long way to go, India has witnessed a phenomenal growth in women entrepreneurship in recent times. Economic empowerment of women leads empowerment of the whole family. It also leads to fulfilment of 2 SDG goals –Goal 5 which is equality  and empowerment and Goal 8 which is inclusive and sustainable economic growth. As India continues to craft its growth story, bringing women to the centre of economic activities is no longer a societal need but an undeniable imperative to achieve its goal of a robust economy. Despite the giant strides in economic growth, gender imbalance in entrepreneurship remains a major challenge. Women own just over 20% of all micro and small enterprises compared to 80% of businesses owned by men.

With women comprising of 50% of the total population , India’s growth narrative has to be through women led development.India needs job creators and not job seekers and there has been a conscious effort to initiate schemes and make policy level interventions to promote women entrepreneurship.There are around 61 central government schemes and policies promoting women led enterprises ,out of which 40 are specifically for women. There are schemes for access to credit, training of women entrepreneurs and incubation and acceleration support.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that women ,in comparison to male counterparts ,have to scale more mountains in their professional journeys .Although less severe as compared to the landscape of the past,the challenges faced by women on account of gender bias are unfortunately ,still prevalent.No doubt ,times are changing but starting a business is a difficult journey,not only from content perspective also from  psychological support perspective.Both support and ambition are needed and has to be nurtured. There is now  an increasingly concerted effort amongst all stakeholders to support women entrepreneurship.    In fact, both public and private stakeholders are aware of the benefits that increased participation of women can bring to the table.Many women of immense talent and focussed vision have made a place for themselves in this dynamic industry while also inspiring and empowering an entire generation of future visionaries to come to the front.

There are no doubt some common challenges like access to capital, biases, networks and technology that women face. Along with that ,social norms and education levels also negatively impacts a women’s entrepreneurial journey. But women have to realise about some inherent strengths that they have , as it is seen that women often excel in taking responsibility and that makes them natural empathetic leaders. Some inherent strengths like the following are associated with women and it is important that women realise these inherent strengths and capitalise on the strengths.

          Ingrained resourcefulness, be it at home or at office

          Unmatched organisational skills

          Strong work ethic and diligence

They also need to be aware of certain inherent weaknesses  like the following that majority of the women have

  • Unknown barriers of dreaming big
  • Self doubt and imposter syndrome plagues most women.
  • They are also impacted by the ‘Golem effect’ and this his often  leads to low expectation.

Confidence is critical, whether in a board room full of men or by yourself in your workplace. Entrepreneurship is also about daring to dream big and being passionate .Passion helps in going through challenges. It is important to understand that superheroes are normal people with super normal will power. Building business is like boxing—unless you don’t get punched enough, you will not become a champion.

Some suggestions for aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs

  • One  needs to come out their comfort zone
  • Dream big and let nothing stop you. What is needed is heavy dose of paranoia and curiosity
  • Acknowledging that failure is a part of the process important. In fact one should celebrate failure, identify role models and mentors. Getting over the fear of making mistakes is the most liberating process .It allows you to think of failures as learning opportunities and actually be happy that they happened.
  • Always draw inspiration in women who have outdone in their respective fields and the trials they have gone through to be Indira Nooyi , Falguni Nayar, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw ,Kalpana Chawla or P V Sindhu

Remember that if you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to build their dream.

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