We talk about gender diversity and women’s empowerment only on topical days but even more so around the 8th of March. The day is dedicated to honouring women and their contribution, whether it is at a personal or professional level. In theory, everyone agrees that women have many of the skills needed for any business to flourish. Yet, as per the statistics, even in the fastest growing economy of India, there are only 14% women entrepreneurs. Not just that, the female workforce participation is at 24% which is worse than any other South Asian country.
Women entrepreneurs, especially, are faced with biases and challenges at every step of their journey. For instance, women and men leaders fight for the same thing, and yet men raise higher funding via-a-vis women. Barriers like these slow down the growth of businesses led by women.
Renu Shah, founder, Shakti – The Empathy Project (Step) said– “I think one of the biggest biases that still exist in this country is around the level of commitment (or lack of) by a woman entrepreneur. Many believe that given the juggling lifestyle that the women live- managing home and professional life together, they will not be able to contribute towards their business in a way that a man can. That is far from the truth, and on this women’s day, we must #breakthisbias and get rid of all those old-age notions that are hindering the growth of a woman in their chosen field. Being a woman, I can say with confidence that we do not need a society’s salute and acknowledgment just on the day dedicated as women’s day but need its acceptance of our capabilities, vision, and journey just as it would do for any entrepreneur every day”.
While there are some industries that are more welcoming towards the contributions made by women, there are still few with lesser representation from women. In theory, the unique perspective, and skills that women bring are welcome, but in reality, the struggle to be taken seriously, to be considered a true professional, better than or equivalent to men, is a battle still being played.
“I firmly believe that we don’t need just a day to celebrate the women, but we must make an effort every day to support them. Having said that, I do appreciate the global platform a day like this provides us to highlight the amazing journey taken and pinnacles conquered by women across all strata of life. Today the technology industry itself, which was once considered a bastion of men, has almost 34% women techies. It is heartening to see how we as women are #Breakingthebias on an everyday basis by setting new standards of multitasking and analytical thinking.” Said, Meghna Krishna, Chief Revenue Officer, Toch.ai
“There are enough and more success stories to prove how women are #breakingthebias every day through persistence and determination. I truly believe that the fresh and unique perspective that we women bring to everything we do makes us an asset. Being a woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, I lead by challenging the status quo every day. It was not an easy journey but definitely worth it. My message to my fellow ladies would be to never give up and always have the confidence to stand up for their beliefs. It’s through our grit and perseverance that we can conquer any mountains.” Akshita Gupta, Chief Executive Officer at ABL Workspaces.
Women around the world are honoured to be getting a dedicated day for themselves, but they expect more in terms of actions than words. There are many champions who are working towards #breakingthebias and levelling the playing field. With their contribution, we have come a long way, but there are still miles to go before they can rest.
Sairee Chahal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, SHEROES added, “As a nation, we need to invest in building highly scalable ecosystems that cater to the real-time needs of millions of women with entrepreneurial dreams. Easy access to key resources like credit and capital, can tip the scales for India’s women entrepreneurs, enabling them to reach their full potential. Additional platforms such as women-led marketplaces, mentorship, training and access to peer networks, will equip them further, with the tools and skills, to succeed in today’s digital economy.”