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BW Businessworld

Women, Business and Entrepreneurship: Challenges Faced

A woman should trust her leadership skills and march on.

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Shatter the glass ceiling that limits your dreams. Pick up the pieces and pave the way for your dream- a dream that is going to define who you are.

The Indian economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world. Over the last decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of startups launched. The majority of these have indeed been launched by men. But the good news is that women have shown much interest in business and launching new ventures. The problem is that the success ratio for women is far less than that of men due to various cultural reasons, lack of business resources such as development and training. 

In a society like ours, where women cannot realize their full potential, the economy suffers. In a recent survey, it was found that GDP can increase by $0.7 trillion in 2025 or 16 percent if we advance women's equality in India. Many women who are brave enough to start the entrepreneurship journey are often inspired by role models like Bill Gates and Elon Musk or are introduced to the business world by their male friends. The government has also played a crucial role by launching various schemes welcoming startup business ideas by women. 

While more of the exact data is not available, according to the latest figures recorded around 2014, the percentage of firms where females were the owners was 10.7 percent. The number has increased since then but not at the rate at which it should have. On paper, the numbers today might look fascinating but there are various issues that women face when it comes to women entrepreneurship. Here is a look at some: 

Social Expectations

Women, sometimes walking into a crowded room for a seminar might look around and see only a handful of women present. In this situation, she might freak out and tell herself to change her attitude and think from a male’s perspective. This is everything that is wrong with women entrepreneurs. Staying true to yourself, your beliefs are what made you who you are today. No gender should be able to change that.

A woman should never let anyone dictate her way. Trust your leadership skills and march on. You are what you are because you believed in your goals. If you didn’t, now is the time. It’s never too late to begin, to work towards yourself and get recognised. It’s true that unfortunately, as a woman, you are going to be questioned along the way but it’s up to you to stand strong and get what you want or step down and let them win. As a woman entrepreneur, things haven’t been served on a platter to me. I have handled rejections, failures, and learned from each experience that I have had. These experiences have made me who I am, and I can’t complain.” 

Raising Capital

To have an idea is great, but accessing funding to implement is probably the biggest challenge you will face. Especially, as a woman entrepreneur, it is difficult to pitch in your idea and not get questioned in a way a man would never be. This is one of the biggest challenges that women entrepreneurs face. They handle more rejection than men. Sometimes they might be judged for the way they look, or for the way they dress. The key is to believe in your idea and make it hard for the other person to say NO. 

Male domination

As much as we hate to accept this fact, the corporate world is still considered to be a male-dominated industry. Hence, women entrepreneurs have a hard time and sometimes are not taken seriously. Some people wouldn’t want to accept a woman as their leader simply because of male egoistic issues that continue to breed in our society. It makes it even harder for women to gain the respect which they deserve. 

Balancing work and family

This point again points directly to our wrong societal and cultural beliefs. A woman does not come with the tag of a household runner. Our society often tends to make a woman feel guilty for spending more time at work. But if a man is in a similar situation, he would be praised for working so hard to provide for this family. This is where women entrepreneurs face the challenge of their growth being limited as they have to rush back home. The corporate world indeed offers more flexibility to women but there is no denying that they won’t be picked for major projects because of the image that they need to be home. 

There are many other reasons like coping up with failure, building a support network, and so on. In a nutshell, women entrepreneurs are increasing and flourishing but that doesn't mean that the challenges don’t exist. The challenges can only be addressed when men learn to treat women as equals, set aside the ego, and work towards building India as the world’s largest democracy. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Neha Yaduvanshi

Neha Yaduvanshi is the Founder of Vastada Consulting.

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