Challenges women face while starting a business

Women in India struggle to be taken seriously when it comes to accessing funds as they are perceived to be low risk-takers
Last Updated : 12 September 2022, 08:07 IST
Last Updated : 12 September 2022, 08:07 IST

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The Master Card Index of Women Entrepreneurs states that only seven out of every 100 business enterprises are directly owned or run by women. Unlocking female entrepreneurship in India is a complex endeavour, but it offers an unprecedented opportunity to change the economic and social trajectory of India for future generations.

Following are the three biggest challenges faced by women-led businesses:

Accessing funds

Money is the fuel for businesses to run smoothly. Women in India struggle to be taken seriously when it comes to accessing funds as they are perceived to be low risk-takers. More often than not their own friends and family do not feel very confident about supporting women’s initial entrepreneurial journey. Banks and other financial institutes do not consider women credit-worthy, especially unmarried women who’re looking for such opportunities.

A solution is for more female investors to support one another. Women are frequently unaware of most of the financial schemes and assistance programs devised by the government and other high-end institutes, and as a result, they miss out on significant benefits. There is a need for more awareness of what is already available for women in business, rather than them taking the more difficult path due to ignorance.

Lack of industrial knowledge

Even while no formal education is required to open a business, the majority of women nevertheless lack the fundamental knowledge of accounting, purchasing, sales, and competition analysis. This is due to their inability to manage direct markets practically and the absence of appropriate role models. Women lack the connections, systems, and expertise needed to operate a successful business. Despite the gradual dismantling of stereotypes, there remains a general lack of exposure in these fields. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education can help female entrepreneurs bridge the gender gap. Digital literacy has also resulted in a revolution in empowering women to obtain the necessary tools for learning.

Societal bias and male dominance

Despite an increasingly educated population, women having limited access to relevant business and technical skills is a major impediment in scaling and tapping the necessary resources. Hence, the dominance of male counterparts is viewed in almost every field, challenging women’s security and mobility. Cases of harassment at workplaces and women not being paid equally as their male counterparts have also been on the rise.

With important law reforms, vigilant law enforcement, and an effective judicial system, the situation can be sufficiently improved to create a safer environment for women attempting to enter entrepreneurial roles. Women are expected to follow typically set gender roles and even halt their business operations due to minimal reasons. Social permission to work can be difficult to obtain because of cultural practices, social beliefs and safety concerns. Hence, society needs to be more supportive and welcoming towards women who want to make it big through hard work and consistency.

(The writer is the co-founder of Saral)

Published 12 September 2022, 03:07 IST

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