Challenges Faced By Indian Businesswomen and How To Overcome Them

  •  Women run only 14% business enterprises in India
  • Lack of education and patriarchal issues are challenges
  • Women also find it difficult to raise credit for their business
  • Collateral-free loans, workshops can make a positive change

Women are in charge of 8.05 million businesses in India that employee 13.48 million people. To put it in perspective, women run only 14% of all business enterprises in India, which is an alarmingly low number. While more women are making a foray into the world of business, the path is paved with numerous challenges. Talking about these challenges and addressing them is important, especially in the larger scheme of things. Are you wondering why? Consider this: According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, India’s GDP can increase by 16%–60% by 2025 if more women joined the workforce.

So, here’s a look at 4 key issues that act as deterrents to women entrepreneurs and ways in which they can be overcome.

Lack Of Education

 According to the 2011 Census, only 65.46% women in India are literate, whereas male literacy is over 80%. This means that women often do not get the formal education and knowledge that they need to run successful business enterprises. Moreover, even as a businesswoman who wants to hire other female employees, you might find it difficult to do so given the lack of literacy. So, workshops and training sessions, especially on matters pertaining to business, are crucial towards giving women a footing in the business world. If you, as an entrepreneur have insights to offer, training women will go a long way in boosting the productivity of your enterprise, as well as opening up opportunities for other women.

Difficulty In Accessing Credit

 Many women in India don’t have access to basic bank accounts, let alone have property in their name. As a result, it can become difficult for you to get access to finance, be it to meet set-up costs or to improve cash flow. Without access to sufficient finance at the right time, you may find it difficult to keep your business afloat, let alone focus on expansion or diversification. If you find that a lack of collateral is coming in the way of doing what’s best for your business, look into collateral free business loans for women that eliminate this problem.

Patriarchal Society And Attitudes                        

 Even in the 21st century, India is still a largely patriarchal society, which doesn’t accord the rightful dignity to women in the workplace. This can make it difficult for you to deal and negotiate with third parties such as vendors and distributors. Secondly, due to a patriarchal attitude where women aren’t considered to be as skilled as men, especially in matters of business, you may face insubordination issues or not be taken seriously. The only way of undoing years of social conditioning is to stick to your guns, be patient, and have faith in your leadership and decisions. Let your work communicate that you know what you’re doing and have matters under control.

Responsibilities Arising Out Of Defined Gender Roles

 In India, traditionally, men are viewed as the breadwinners while women are in charge of taking care of all the other aspects of life, from running a household to raising children. Despite more women entering the workforce as businesswomen, there is little to no change in the distribution of work. You may often be expected to run a business whilst juggling your other responsibilities. And, the pressure of maintaining a balance can often become unmanageable. Instead of putting your business on the back-burner, delegate where you can, have a frank conversation with your partner and family. Work towards establishing a system where you can give your personal and professional life equal attention.

While this only touches upon the many challenges that women face in the business world, it serves as a sound starting point to ease your journey as a businesswoman in India.

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Author: Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.