Entrepreneurship is a great challenge, especially if you are a woman. In addition to their efforts and expertise, women entrepreneurs often struggle harder than their male counterparts to make it bigger and more visible in the business community. Of the 100 Indian entrepreneurs, only 7 are women, according to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs. According to a Google-Bain report, only 20 percent of the country’s businesses are owned by women, and a 2021 World Economic Forum report also shows a huge 72% gender gap in the Indian labor market.
While there is no denying that over the past decade women have started their businesses and are successful, some of the struggles that women entrepreneurs must face are still there. Despite everything, millions of women entrepreneurs worldwide are still struggling to overcome the challenges they face regularly.
As almost 1/3rd of businesspeople in the world are women, it never looked better to them in the papers. Unfortunately, these numbers speak only part of their story and men still run the bulk of the business. As in many parts of the world today, gender norms affect the business ecosystem and create major challenges for women worldwide.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs in Business
- Lack of Social and Institutional Support
Most women business owners do not get the social support they need to start their businesses in families, peers, and instant environmental programs. Lack of entrepreneurship training is also one of the biggest challenges facing women entrepreneurs in the country.
Although there are programs to empower women entrepreneurs, many women do not receive timely guidance or assistance from the authorities. Lack of a proper support network adversely affects their self-esteem and risk-taking ability.
- Work-life balance
Women, all over the world, are expected to play a key role in managing the home and caring for their families. Having a business and running a business means long hours, therefore, for women, the balance of working life can be a problem. In the case of working mothers, caring for their children takes a lot of time and energy, and this often compels them not to put their business first. Men, on the other hand, often have second-hand responsibilities when it comes to household responsibilities. However, the situation seems to be changing now as more men are aiming to contribute to household chores.
- Lack of education
Women make up 68% of the country’s illiterate people, according to a UNESCO education report. Women entrepreneurs who do not have formal education can face many problems when it comes to issues such as business development, accounting, financial understanding, or day-to-day operations of the company. A lack of skills, knowledge, and resources required to run a business can reduce the chances of turning their business into a successful one.
- Financial Problem:
Finance is considered “the lifeblood” of any company, be it large or small. However, women entrepreneurs suffer from a lack of funding in two areas. First, women often do not have assets in their names to use as collateral for making money from external sources. Thus, their access to external financial resources is limited.
- Society for Men:
Male chauvinism is still a daily practice in India. India’s constitution speaks of gender equality. But, in practice, women are considered able, that is, weak in every respect. Women suffer from men’s bookings about women’s role, ability, and power and are treated fairly. In short, in a male-dominated Indian society, women are treated equally to men. This then serves as a barrier to women’s entry into the business.
Women’s Business Growth
When women are concerned, they reportedly make up about 14% of all Indian businessmen. We still have a long way to go, however, the growing numbers of women who support women’s empowerment in business are a positive sign. Significantly, the banking sector has been dominated by women for the past decade, and women, in general, seem to dominate all sectors that affect the industry. This reflects and has a profound effect on the beliefs, self-esteem, and desires of other women.
All in all, this creates a strong network of women who can support each other and play mentors and policymakers for those who need guidance. A 2015 study by McKinsey showed that with equal participation of women in the economy, India’s GDP could increase by 16-60% by 2025, which translates into an additional $ 2.9 billion in the Indian economy.
According to the Sixth Economic Census conducted by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), of the 58.5 million businesses in India, 8.05 million are run by women entrepreneurs. India’s projected GDP growth for 2018-2019 is 7.3 percent, making India the fastest growing economy in the world.
Today, our country boasts several successful women entrepreneurs who have made successful business ventures around the world. However, the journey was not easy. Only when their families, investors, and society make sincere efforts to reduce gender barriers will it be possible for women entrepreneurs to flourish in the corporate world.
– Amrin Ahmed