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Journey of Women Entrepreneurs Is Riddled With Challenges
Successful women entrepreneurs deliberate on the steps needed to help more and more women take up entrepreneurship
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In this golden age of globalization, digitalization and start-up booms, India is clearly seeing a revolution vis-à-vis women entrepreneurs. The sixth economic census released by Central Government shows that women constitute around 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurship in India.
Today’s women entrepreneurs do not come only from the established business families or from the higher-income sections of the population, they come from all walks of life and from all parts of the country. From running sports media firms to travel agencies and construction companies to running security and detective agencies – women are dabbling into fields that have traditionally been the bastions of male domination.
What is the relevance of fostering women entrepreneurship?
“Women don’t need any special attention,” said Kanika Tekriwal, Co-Founder and CEO, Jetsetgo Aviation Services while participating in a panel discussion on the need to encourage women entrepreneurship. “On one hand we are talking about equality and on other we are asking for special status for women. This is not right,” said Tekriwal. “Instead of treating this mission of helping women as a sort of agenda, entrepreneurship should be made ‘normal’, for everyone,” she added. By normal, she meant entrepreneurship should be ‘Gender Neutral’ as was pointed out by another successful women entrepreneur in a different panel discussion at the same event.
Taking forward the discussion, Niti Batra, Co-Founder and Director, Joy Travels said: “A girl should be treated equally not just by her parents but from the entire society.” Batra pointed to a ‘mindset issue’ in society when it comes to treating a boy and a girl child. She explained: “Parents, even though they treat both their girl and the boy child similarly, have different plans and expectations for them. For example, which job would be best suited for the girl and the boy”.
Citing the example of how a large percentage of women who are using the Internet were on the Gaming Apps, Ntasha B, Co-Founder, Venture Gurukool said: “Around 42 per cent of internet users, which are women, a majority of them are on the gaming apps. Then why are not many women in the field of development of Gaming. This clearly suggests a major gender disparity in the sector,” she said.
So how can women entrepreneurs tackle the challenges in a male-dominated society?
“It is all about not taking things personally,” said Ntasha B pointing to the ups and downs in the entrepreneurial journey. “Success in entrepreneurship is a lot about building a strong network of people, investors, and clients,” she added.
Taking forward the discussion, Niti Batra of Joy Travels said: “A woman entrepreneur brings a lot of diverse skillset to the table. For example, they are great multi-taskers, observers, and so on.” Her advice was clear: “A woman entrepreneur needs to hang in there, and should have a strong support system.”
Addressing the esteemed audience and a number of successful women entrepreneurs, Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld & exchange4media Group said: “The idea behind having such initiative is to discover new leaders, new entrepreneurs, and new women professionals who are entrepreneurs.”
“Entrepreneurship though does not differentiate between male/female, but being a woman entrepreneur is tough given the fact that a woman has to perform way many roles than a man. There are 70 initiatives in India that support women entrepreneurship and the more we have the better,” Batra said.