Entrepreneur – largely a posh commercial term, whose significance a layman would not quite grasp at the first chance. Management books define the term as a person, who sets up a business, organizes and runs it, bears the financial and other risks and reap the profit. But nowhere does the definition of entrepreneur say it has to be a ‘man’.
Yet somehow we see that most of the renowned business figures of our country are men, or to be put correctly, most companies have a male CEO or spokesperson – Reliance, Tata, Birla, Infosys, Godrej, Mittal group of companies and so on. It is not that women did not have their share of success as business frontrunners, but the ratio is so lopsided, that it is almost ridiculous.
Here are 5 major challenges that a woman faces in India on her way to becoming a successful entrepreneur:
- NON-COOPERATION OF SOCIETY
In India, this is the first and foremost problem faced by almost every woman; not just in case of entrepreneurship, but every profession and career. Our society does not want to put its faith in a woman; it has stereotyped gender roles deeply etched in its mind which decides what a woman can do and cannot. And since one of the business’ main features is that it exists within the society, a woman has to face suspicions and lack of reliance in every step. Mutual trust forms the base of any business relationship, and if that is prejudiced against someone, it is hard to break through that.
- FAMILY TIES
In India, women are expected to be ‘Gharki Lakshmi’. Running the house, taking care of their family and children, manage the kitchen and other household works usually fall under the responsibility of the woman in the house. Even if she is successful professionally, the picture is not much different at home. This leaves very little opportunity for a woman to devote herself as much as entrepreneurship calls for.
- LACK OF EDUCATION
Education is the backbone of any sort of prosperity. In a country of more than a billion, women way fewer than men in numbers, and among them around 60% are still illiterate. When calculated with figures, that goes to a huge number of women who don’t even have the basic education. There are places where girls are not even sent to school, ever. It is absurd to expect that from such a demographic condition, we can have women as CEOs and presidents of the companies.
- MALE DOMINATION
It is no secret that our country is largely male-dominated. So in a business environment, it is not only assumed that a woman is incapable of a particular job, but it is also automatically assumed that a man can do it much better than her. Such preconceived notions are already deeply embedded in the people’s mind and sometimes, no matter how much a woman shows her hard work and dedication, it is not enough. In situations where a man’s chances of success are automatically taken for granted, a woman has to keep proving herself again and again. It is definitely a hurdle on the way to become a successful businesswoman if she has to keep winning her associate’s trust in her efficiency all the time.
- LACK OF EXPOSURE AND ACCESS
Just like lack of education, lack of exposure in case of a large portion of women population is a huge problem. Lack of exposure does not necessarily mean to be cooped up in the house, but to be cooped up inside their own mind. Most of the women in the question, even after receiving formal education, are not allowed to exercise their creative and/or logical abilities. They are often not allowed to be socially active and deprived of many practicalities. This is a paradox for Indian society because the same people who stop these women from having exposure are the ones who disregard women because of their lack of knowledge.
This list is by no means an exhaustive one. But in spite of all these, we have seen a spur of successful women entrepreneurs in Indian business scenario. While many already know the likes of Sudha Murthy, ChhandaKocchar, Indra Nooyi, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, there are some new names on that list like Suchi Mukherjee (Limeroad), Richa Kar (Zivame), Natasha Aggarwal (Mamma Mia), Upasana Taku (MobiKwik), NamrataBostrom (POPxo) and many more.