Women Entrepreneurship For Socio- Economic Development

Dr. D. Mukhopadhyay
Out of total population of the world, more or less fifty percent is supposed to be the male population and more or less fifty percent is supposed to be the female population in accordance with the law of nature. Economic prosperity and social wellbeing of a nation invariably depends on the combined strength of innovation, creativity and intellectual support and effort of both men and women. In simplicity, equal contribution to the cause of socio-economic development should come from both but the picture in reality is quite different. There is significantly low rate of women-participation in innovation and entrepreneurship in any economy and it is more prominent in the third world and developing countries including India. No country can achieve sustainable economic growth and prosperity unless gender gap in women-participation in bringing about economic progress is reduced at the first instance and it is gradually eliminated. Women can play a significant role in any society at par that of men. India is aspiring to be one of the major economic power houses in the globe in near future and it is very difficult to achieve this objective without contribution of women. Women-entrepreneurship is a vehicle through which rapid economic development is possible. Gender discrimination is required to be eliminated and Indian women need to be given adequate space in the society so that they can come forward and take part in nation building.
It is an imperative to lessen the gender gap and promote women entrepreneurship in order to bring about economic progress and poverty reduction. Indian women are creating a mark in many fields of science and technology, research and innovation and they have immense potential to become entrepreneurs and can create job for others. Historically speaking, earlier women were deprived of legal rights to their property and earnings and left to be competent to enter into business agreements. They were not allowed to participate in trade and commerce without permission from their husbands. It is only the nineteenth century when women were able to own, inherit and control property by dint of adoption of the Married Women’s Property Act in the United States of America and United Kingdom. Earlier, access to education was denied to women in many societies of which India is one of them. However, of late , societies are changing very fast and the civil society has started to acknowledge the contributory role of women in economic development and social wellbeing. The role of women in economic development received a prominent room in the pioneering work of Ester Boserup, a Danish Economist, who examined the economic impact of development projects on women from third world countries and found that women are by and large excluded from socio-economic process. Entrepreneurship development needs innovation and creativity and women are equally suitable for this avenue as men since they are not less innovative and creative than men in any way. Entrepreneurship is a management process of idea generation, launching and running a new business . It is an effort to assume risks , develop, organize and manage a business under competitive economic environment. There are many social , cultural and psychological factors which act as the bottlenecks in the path of women entrepreneurship in India.
Women entrepreneurs come across different problems which include funding problem, networking problem, non-cooperation from the family and challenges of ethnicity and these are conquerable definitely. Indian economic development is possible only when there is equal participation of male and female both. India is economically promising country in the world. Indian women should be given opportunity for launching new ventures and managing the same. India is the second largest populous country in the world and perhaps it shall never be possible for any Government to provide suitable employment to everybody. As compared with past, Indian women have achieved certain remarkable milestones but still much is left to be achieved. It is mentionable that there still exists gender bias and even many so called enlightened and developed society is unable to acknowledge the substantial contribution of women .
The decision makers need to understand that no nation can achieve economic success unless its fair sex is given equal opportunities, safety and security. Now, everybody is talking in terms of sustainable development but sustainable development is not possible to achieve in the presence of gender gap. It needs no mention that women account for a half of any country’s talent base and therefore women participation in the nation building can greatly enhance productivity and fosters economic development. Women in India still are struggling for education, access to resources, gender discrimination and right for property in many ways. Women need economic independence and entrepreneurship is an effective way for securing economic freedom.
The economically developed countries have reached to this stage of development because they are enriched with the equal contribution by women in the society . To become entrepreneur, basic input required is education and education can generate confidence and confidence in doing and succeeding in any economic endeavor is a must. The role of women entrepreneurs in the domain of economic development has been well recognized in the developed countries but it is not very comfortable picture in India. But Indian women have already achieved immense intellectual standard and perhaps second to none. To call a spade a spade, Indian society hardly ventured wholeheartedly to capitalize the inherent potential of Indian women the way it should be. The are many factors that hinder the process of women entrepreneurship and those hindrances need to be removed by the society. In many research studies, it has been found that gender related development index of a country is significantly correlated with per capita domestic product. It is perhaps important to mention that economic development of a country is invariably not independent of advancement of women. It can be seen that economic growth is faster and steady in those countries where progress of women is advanced and not restricted. On the other hand, it can also be seen that economic progress is stagnant or retarded in those nations where women have been restricted. Confidence for self determination, self esteem and career goal are the principal inputs that can smoothen the path of women entrepreneurship in India and these motivational attributes have to be extended by the families in particular and the Indian society in general. Now Indian women are at liberty to choose any suitable career path in order to achieve self satisfaction and entrepreneurship is one of the noble vocations for fruitful utilization of talent. Entrepreneurship is the option for career of women that can ensure economic freedom and consequently reduce economic dependence on their husbands. The basic requirements in development of women entrepreneurship is to make aware the woman regarding her existence, identity and the contribution that she can make towards the economic growth and development of the nation. The primary instinct necessary for entrepreneurship has to be developed in the minds of women from the different stages of receiving education. The government has a remarkable role in framing the curriculum for imparting fundamental knowledge along with practical implications in management process of an enterprise. The management knowledge in the areas of finance, marketing and operations and sense of positive thinking and attitude are prerequisites for being an entrepreneur. The government of the country should facilitate in offering skill development courses and training in order to pave the path for women entrepreneurship development. Moreover, the successful women entrepreneurs should also act as advisors for the contemplating entrepreneurial women and boost the morale and confidence. Government should be liberal in providing infrastructural facilities on priorities for women entrepreneurs in terms of allocating industrial plots and other incidental assistance. However, it may be mentioned that of late , various State Governments and Central Government of the country are found to be thinking in positive direction for overall development and social recognition for Indian women and it is recommended that the same approach needs to be intensified so that it becomes a revolution for bringing about major change in traditional attitudes and mindsets of the Indian society. Women entrepreneurship is a model for achieving sustainable economic progress of the nation at large and Indian women should be allowed to compete with the women of the economically developed nations in the field of entrepreneurship in the forthcoming days.
(The author is Professor of Management, School of Business and Dean-Faculty of Management, SMVDU)


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