Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Since the 21st century, the status of women in India has been changing as a result to mounting industrialization and urbanization and social legislation. Over the years, more and more women are going in for higher education, technical and professional education and their proportion in the workforce has also been increased. Women are generally perceived as home makers with little to do with economy or commerce. But this picture is changing. In Modern India, more and more women are taking up entrepreneurial activity especially in medium and small scale enterprises. Despite all the social hurdles, Indian women stand tall from the rest of the crowd and are applauded for their achievements in their respective field. The transformation of social fabric of the Indian society, in terms of increased educational status of women and varied aspirations for better living, necessitated a change in the life style of Indian women. She has competed with man and successfully stood up with him in every walk of life and business is no exception for this. These women leaders are assertive, persuasive and willing to take risks. They managed to survive and succeed in this cut- throat competition with their hard work, diligence and perseverance. Even as women are receiving education, they face the prospect of unemployment. In this background, self employment is regarded as a cure to generate income .The Planning commission as well as the Indian government recognizes the need for women to be part of the mainstream of economic development. Women entrepreneurship is seen as an effective strategy to solve the problems of rural and urban poverty.
Women entrepreneurship is inherent and also a natural process. Entrepreneurship is considered as one of the most important factors contributing to the economic development of the society. Entrepreneurs have been considered instrumental in initiating and sustaining socioeconomic development. There are evidences to believe that countries which have proportionately higher percentage of entrepreneurs in their population have developed much faster as compared to countries, which have lesser percentage of them in the society.
Over the past few decades the role of women has been breaking the barriers of four walls. Today the roles of women are not confined to the traditional on as a mother / housewife. The role of modern women is much more than, what it was previously. However even after the 63 years of India’s independence the bias against women continues because of the cultural and traditional mores, which has affected lot on the female status and role. A woman has to play multiple roles. Besides playing the role of housewife/mother/daughter, she has to play different roles in community in the social settings simultaneously. Playing all the roles, women sometimes submerged her own self-role and her own real identity.
THE VARIOUS CONSTRAINS FACED BY WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS ARE SOCIAL ATTITUDE AND SUPPORT
The society plays a prominent role in entrepreneurial venture and success. Many researchers have been conducted to study the attitude and support to women entrepreneurs across the region. Some research concludes that, women received strong support from their social environment which she may have built either due to start up types requiring more social support or hesitation to enter the business formation forces.
· Marketing: The other hand women face marketing challenges in the form of competition from cheaper and substitute product, delayed payment and liberal credit terms. Women entrepreneurs neither have knowledge nor access to proper market, thus they sell their product through the middle man. This middle man exploits them and entrepreneur received for price than desired even if the demand of product is high.
· Finance: Finance is a critical resource for venture creation. It is very important that women entrepreneurs have adequate knowledge and information of the various financial institutions which are rendering financial incentives and many other help for the women entrepreneurs in the region.
· Operational: Women entrepreneur in India not only struggle at the time of establishment of enterprises but at operation stage also, they have lots to overcome with different functional difficulties. Usually women faced two fold operational problems and she has to overcome with problems of production process like, scarcity of raw material, lack of technical skills, lack of utilities and infrastructure facility
· Management Problem: It is normally believed that women have low managerial skill. But in fact women are stronger in more logic based skills though they are weaker in self promotion and handling frustration. The increasing number of female students and their excellent performance in management education is a proof to the fact.
· Mobility Constraints: Women in India have got restricted mobility, our society is a conservative society, and the career of women was limited to four walls of kitchen. Although now, women have got relatively more freedom in terms of entrepreneurial activity but also by the family members if they move out after normal hours. Though women faced lots of problems being mobile in entrepreneurial activity, the mobility problem has been solved to certain extent by the expansion of education awareness to all.
· Dual Responsibility: The most exploited individual of the day are the working women, as they have to perform dual responsibility, one at work and another as family as mother of wife. The level of women exploitation on family responsibility ground depends on her social dependence.
· Risk-Bearing Ability: One pre-requisites of the entrepreneurial success is risk taking. It is normally believe that women being feminist gender have low risk taking ability. They are being suppressed by the protected environment and are not allowed most of the time to take any type of risk even if she is willing or she has the ability to bear.
· Absence of Entrepreneurial Aptitude: Many women take the training by attending the Entrepreneurship Development Programmes without entrepreneurial bent of mind. As per a study, involvement of women in small scale sector as owners stands at mere 7 percent. Women who are imparted training by various institutes must be verified on account of aptitude through the tests, interviews etc.
· Quality of EDPS: All women entrepreneurs are given the same training through EDPs. Second-generation women entrepreneurs don’t need such training as they already have the previous exposure to business.
· Family Conflicts: Women also face the conflict of performing of home role as they are not available to spend enough time with their families. They spend long hours in business and as a result, they find it difficult to meet the demands of their family members and society as well. Their inability to attend to domestic work, time for education of children, personal hobbies, and entertainment adds to their conflicts.
· Credit Facilities: Though women constitute about 50 per cent of population, the percentage of small scale enterprise where women own 51 percent of share capital is less than 5 percent. Women are often denied credit by bankers on the ground of lack of collateral security. Therefore, women’s access to risk capital is limited. The complicated procedure of bank loans, the inordinate delay in obtaining the loans and running about involved do deter many women from venturing out. At the same time, a good deal of self- employment program has been promoted by the govt. and commercial banks.
· Shortage of Raw-Materials: women entrepreneurs encounter the problems of shortage of raw-materials. The failure of many women co-operations in 1971 such as these engaged in basket making were mainly because of the inadequate availability of forest-based raw materials.
· Heavy Competition: Many of the women enterprises have imperfect organizational set up. But they have to face severe competition from organized industries.
· High Cost of Production: High cost of production undermines the efficiency and stands in the way of development and expansion of women’s enterprises, government assistance in the form of grant and subsidies to some extent enables them to tide over the difficult situations. However, in the long run, it would be necessary to increase efficiency and expand productive capacity and thereby reduce cost to make their ultimate survival possible, other than these, women entrepreneurs so face the problems of labor, human resources, infrastructure, legal formalities, overload of work, lack of family support, mistrust etc.
QUALITIES OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
1. Creative: It refers to the creative approach or innovative ideas with competitive market. Well planned approach is needed to examine the existing situation and to identify the entrepreneurial opportunities. It further implies that women entrepreneur’s have alliance with clued-up people and constricting the right organization offering support and service.
2. Hard working nature: Innovative women have further ability to work hard. The creative ideas have to come to a fair play. Hard work is required to build up an enterprise.
3. Determination: Women entrepreneurs must have an intention to fulfill their dreams. They have to make a dream transferred into an idea enterprise
4. Ability and desire to take risk: the desire refers to the willingness to take risk and ability to the proficiency in planning making forecast estimates and calculations.
SUGGESTIONS TO OVERCOME THE PROBLEMS FACED BY WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN INDIA
Female entrepreneurship has been steadily climbing in recent years, but these new opportunities and growth are not without a unique set of challenges. Women entrepreneurs face many different ‘stumbling blocks,’ throughout their careers and offered the following suggestions:
· Finance cells: A large number of various finance cells may be open to provide easy finance to women entrepreneurs. These special cells should provide finance to women entrepreneurs at low and concessional rates of interest and on easy repayment facilities. Even these finance cells should manned by women officers and clerks. Efforts should be made to provide finance at the local level
· Build Relationships: Women often try to build relationships with prospective clients or customers, which can set themselves up for disappointment, Wesman said.’When they can’t make the sale they take it too personally because it was a relationship they tried to build,’ she said. ‘Instead of stepping back and thinking, ‘what did I learn from that sales experience?’ or ‘how can I use this to improve my next sales experience?” Wesman blames this on how women have been conditioned in society, and being uncomfortable with competition and wanting to be liked. ‘Then you take it really personally, because you are trying to sell based on people liking you,’ Wesman said. She said women need to build relationships, but shouldn’t be scared to be competitive when pitching sales.
· Marketing Co-operatives: Marketing co-operatives should be established to encourage and assist to women entrepreneurs. Government should give preference to women entrepreneurs while purchasing their requirements. These marketing cooperating will help the women entrepreneurs to sell their products on remunerative prices. This will help in eliminating the middlemen.
· Team Building: Many female entrepreneurs try to handle every aspect of the business alone, according to Wesman, and that’s a recipe for failure. It’s important that female entrepreneurs surround themselves with team members that have different strengths and expertise that can help run a successful business. Women think they can do it all themselves, and aren’t thinking about team building and tapping resources the way that men are. Men in the business world tend to realize that, whereas women are used to multitasking
· Educational and awareness: The educational and awareness programmers should be arranged to change the negative social attitudes towards women. The attitude of elders needs to be changed about the potential of girls and their due role in society.
· Training facilities: Training and developments programmers play very essential role for the development of entrepreneurship. Special training schemes should be so designed that women can get full advantages. Mobile training centers, part time training facilities etc. should be offered to attract more and more women to the training centers.
The role of Women entrepreneur in economic development is also being recognized and steps are being taken to promote women entrepreneurship. For ages together they have been confined to a secondary role and confined to the homes and you have to bring out so that they become self-reliant, self-respecting enterprising people. Though there are several factors contributing to the emergence of women as entrepreneurs, the sustained and coordinated effort from all dimensions would pave the way for the women moving into entrepreneurial activity thus contributing to the social and economic development of the members of the family and thereby gaining equality and equal importance for themselves.