Entrepreneurship was one of the many aspects which have been biased against women. It was a pre-decided job which only men were considered capable of doing. But, few initiatives have tried to change this notion and make entrepreneurship the most gender-friendly role anyone can take.
In the past few years, various government or non-government programs and initiatives focused on girls’ education. Likewise, Empoweress is also an initiative by the Metropolis group that emphasizes on the fact that education can prove to be an asset to a woman, her family, and the country. Empoweress aims to spread awareness to a larger group of women to follow passion and dreams.
The gender stereotypes which were more prevalent in society decades ago are breaking gradually. The role of women in our society has changed drastically for the betterment. Women are competing at par in the corporate positions, previously regarded as masculine positions.
Transformation and women entrepreneurs
Today in India, we can proudly state that women entrepreneurs are not a vague miracle. While Kiran Shaw Mazumdar, Falguni Nair, Indra Nooyi, and the likes flagged the way, women came forward and claimed their positions in the boardrooms. A few decades ago, women in India had taken up entrepreneurship in small and medium scale from time immemorial. However, most of it started with a necessity to manage their family life and homes.
But at present, women are no longer restricting themselves to specific sectors. No career field is left without women leaving her mark there. Women are now taking the lead in entrepreneurship as a matter of choice, and their ingenuity across sectors. From conventional industries like food processing, agro-products, handicrafts, and textiles, women entrepreneurs are now venturing across various sectors like real estate development, ITES, BFSI, Pharmaceuticals, hospitality, tourism, etc.
India has been waved as one of the fastest-growing start-up ecosystems globally, with 11% of the adult population being directly engaged in early-stage entrepreneurship. The total share of women entrepreneurs in the modern start-up ecosystem is also gradually increasing. India has witnessed a steep rise in the number of women driving in as entrepreneurs and helping others in setting-up large businesses.
Despite several challenges, the rise of professional networking platforms has lent a hand to create a supportive ecosystem for women. Changing trends in the corporate, social, and higher education sectors further enable women to take a leap and realize their entrepreneurial potential. These include:
Increasing focus on diversity in the workplace has ensured that more women have access to opportunities in the corporate world. Even as the 21st-century corporate world moves to expand into a global marketplace, women with deserving credentials are able to work not only at the local or national landscape but, they are also able to experience international work cultures, allowing women with an equal opportunity to acquire and enhance their proficiency in the sector of their choice. This, in turn, has empowered women-force to start off on their entrepreneurial journey.
With the development of varied corporate opportunities, women are exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related fields of education, previously considered a male domain. Apart from STEM, there has also been a gradual rise in women taking up specialized management education in various sectors like logistics and supply chain, finance, international business, textiles, etc.
3. Financial Freedom
Because of the right education and corporate opportunities, women of the millennial generation are experiencing financial independence. While in India, women had always been an active contributor in the household work.
4. Access to mentorship
The international exposure and a more supportive work environment have helped women have better access to professional mentors who can guide and nurture their professional expertise. The evolution of opportunities, financial independence, and knowledge support is empowering more women entrepreneurs to seek and associate with peers and equivalent entrepreneurs at various networking platforms, offering them the opportunities to grow, learn and address challenges in a more knowledgeable and guided manner. Today, women entrepreneurs are gaining access to expert mentors and solution providers and building a strong collaborative network beyond gender biases and sectors.
5. Social Dynamics
From shared responsibilities at home and supportive maternity policies at work, more women are empowered to pursue their professional goals and ambitions. There has also been a transformation in the gender-defined roles and expectations, making it more dynamic and individualistic. Further, this empowerment has given women entrepreneurs a voice and opportunity to work in areas related to the welfare of other women. The number of start-ups addressing issues ranging from women’s health and maternity to women’s hygiene and mental health are areas that are now being addressed, thanks to new age women entrepreneurs.
Now that women entrepreneurs are rising and making their presence felt because of the above factors, there is still a long way to go from being a mere 16% to a full 50% Indian start-up and entrepreneurship ecosystem. From technology to finance, and from art to retail, women as entrepreneurs, are expanding their presence, making the most of every opportunity. As a country with the most extensive and fastest-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, women are firmly set to raise their flags high, mark their ground, and drive growth in impeccable partnership with their male counterparts.