Vinita Bimbhet the national president of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) said that India can increase its target GDP from 16% to 60% if it enables or encourages women to participate in its economy on par with men. It seems it’s a farfetched dream for our country India. Women are lagging behind in economical activities just because they are backward or the weaker sex in the social structure of our country. There are innumerable reasons to support this fact which are lack of support, lack of confidence, indecisive nature of the fairer sex, mindset of the society and many more. Women are more likely to be found in low productive sectors such as agriculture and household activities.
According to the Human Development Report 2004, India is ranked 103 in Gender related Development Index (GDI). According to 2001 census, women constitute nearly half of India’s population. Among these 72% were engaged in agriculture, 21.7% in other non-agricultural pursuits with only 6.3% in household industries. In India, women are handicapped as far as running a business is concerned because they are not skilled enough and their support system is not strong enough. The shift from a homemaker to a sophisticated business woman is definitely not an easy task.
The problems which a woman entrepreneur faces are:
- Lack of family support: the families are not supportive enough, they may make the woman guilty of neglecting household work or they may not take charge of the household activities while the woman is out for work, this can hold back the women thinking her household is getting neglected.
- Lack of capital: many times the banks are reluctant to lend money to women entrepreneurs especially when the woman doesn’t have any family backing. Generally women lack adequate finance or legal knowledge for starting an enterprise.
- Lack of self-confidence or faith in oneself: there are not many role models to motivate women who want to start their own enterprise.
- Lack of right public/private institutions: Most of the women are unaware of the incentives and schemes laid down by the Government.
Women have the equal share and power to form a Government but still they are lagging behind. They lack the appropriate opportunity even if they have the right talent and capability. In our country they are considered to be homemaker foremost. According to a report by World Economic Forum known as Global Gender Gap Report 2014, Indian women spent an average of 352 minutes per day on unpaid work as compared to only 52 minutes per day spent by men. According to the same report Indian women are paid half of what men get for the same work and on an average, earn a quarter of what men do.
Women face legal hurdles too to start an enterprise. As women cannot be the head of the family she cannot get tax benefits, she can own a land but law keeps her from using it as collateral for loan. India holds a fierce and long battle to balance the gender gap that has been created over the years.
More and more women should be encouraged to participate in economic activities. It’s a myth that they are backward and this myth needs to be dispelled. They should be supported mentally, physically and financially to open their own small or medium enterprise if they have the want to do the same. Rural women should be encouraged to start cottage industries. They should be given essential training for sustaining their business. As our country holds more of rural population, rural women needs to be encouraged and motivated to participate in country’s economy. This is not only for empowering them but also for uplifting the economy of the country. Women should be made aware of the various schemes and provisions Government has laid down for assisting their enterprises.
Women themselves need to understand that beginning of any journey is tough and it can get tougher considering the various adversities and challenges they have to face. It is very true that staying motivated is really tough, but it’s a battle they have to win. They need to believe in themselves and plunge in. Women are the hands that rock the cradle, they are the homemakers or the managers of their house and they also have the ability to run a nation. They have to understand that the economy of their country is largely dependent on them and they need to work towards developing it at par with men.