Challenges Women Encounter in Their Entrepreneurial Journey
Even with a great idea and the drive to succeed, a woman would face obstacles that her average male counterpart would not face when doing business
An ideal world would be one in which men and women running businesses are judged based on their merit and business acumen. Entrepreneurship is not for the fainthearted. It is widely acknowledged that entrepreneurship is extremely difficult for a variety of reasons - the business risks, the paucity of resources (capital and people etc.), just to name two.
Women a Minority When it Comes to Running Enterprises
Women comprise a minority of all entrepreneurs in India. According to an ILO report, only 1 in 7 entrepreneurs in India is a woman. This is one issue which can hopefully ignite a conversation and spark lasting change. There are barriers to women foraying into the world of entrepreneurship and there is a real need to understand and overcome these challenges.
Challenges Women Face
There are many reasons provided for challenges women face as entrepreneurs. The most commonly cited are lack of access to finance and societal pressure. If we could face the harsh reality, it boils down to one primary issue - women are generally discouraged from pursuing entrepreneurship. Where a man would be encouraged to set out on his own, a woman is generally advised that 'this is a bad idea'. That often explains the reflex society has.
Even with a great idea and the drive to succeed, a woman would face obstacles that her average male counterpart would not face when doing business. I have personally experienced an amusing vocabulary when asked 'how is your project doing?' and in the same breath, a male counterpart is asked 'how is your business doing?'. Though I don't doubt that the people were well-meaning, this distinction in diction does have an adverse impact on women looking to be valued for the worth of their work.
In an environment such as this, it becomes imperative for a woman to believe in herself.
Positive Changes in Society
Times are changing. More women are helming growing number of business around the country. There is a gradual shift in our society as it moves on from norms that stifled the ambitions of women only a generation ago. As an entrepreneur and an ambassador for women in business, I encourage this change, looking to inspire other young women with my example. It is important to not take these changes for granted and to continue to push for greater representation in the workplace.
Message to Women Considering Starting-Up
To those women who are wondering if they should take the step into the world of entrepreneurship, I leave them with a quote by Mary Shelley- "The beginning is always today". Don't be afraid to make a change in your lives. It is not wrong to desire change and it is fair to expect the world around you to change sometimes. And it will.
Summi Gambhir is Co-founder & Chief Experience Officer at GlobalLinker. GlobalLinker is branded by leading corporations and offered to their SME Clients & members, building potentially, the world largest small business community. Organisations offering GlobalLinker to their SME clients include MasterCard, Jet Airways, ICICI Bank and RAI (Retailers Association of India).
Prior to launching GlobalLinker, she has led the digital solutions & services side of her business, where she engaged with global leading firms including Citibank; Standard Chartered Bank; ETrade; AXA Equitable Insurance in implementing their digital strategies. Her experience spans several nations and Summi has helped corporations build and implement digital strategies in banking, insurance, aviation & hospitality sectors.
Summi is extremely passionate about empowering women entrepreneurs, and she has been recently appointed as a Country Ambassador & Digital Advisor for WED (Women's entrepreneurship Day - a day officially proclaimed by UN)