Women: Breaking Stereotypes and Creating Milestones in the Dawn of Entrepreneurship


Even as India continues its rapid economic growth, women in several parts of the country struggle against discrimination and inequality. In this rising world of women entrepreneurship, the question is why is it so surprising that women entrepreneurs would do well? Women are great at multi-tasking and juggling various roles, at the same time being caring and empathetic to fellow colleagues and people who work for them and have every bit of intelligence and intellect to run a successful business. Given the earlier generations ran houses full of large families in a given budget, a woman has maintained household accounts for over decades now, financial calculations and budgeting is a part of their DNA.
Given that 2018 has been cited as the ‘Year of the Woman,’ it’s clearly time for women to break the gender blocks and the sterotype to lead businesses successfully creating a niche in several industries for themselves.
Women-founded businesses in the formal sector represent approximately 37 percent of enterprises globally making it a market worthy of attention by corporates and policy makers alike. These entrepreneurs have cross the spectrum of micro to high growth, they have moved from supporting life to creating wealth. They include women running fashion houses, to pharmaceutical conglomerates and everything in between, all making critical economic contributions.
Women have always held a very important social, political and economic role in India and encouraged women like Indira Gandhi, or showcased the talent of several Bollywood actresses. Traditionally women dominated industries like media, communication and education.  However, now with an easier business environment with favorable policies has led to an increase in women entrepreneurial leadership in the country.
Entrepreneurship has witnessed a tremendous metamorphosis.  Earlier, it was restricted to the educated upper class men who invested their own fortune to build their empires. Then educated women started out with opportunities to make a significant mark as time progressed. However, what has remained unnoticed is that many uneducated women are also enthusiastically raising family incomes through micro ventures E.g. food tiffins from home for offices around, making papad and pickles, stitching clothes for their locality or running tuitions from home. These women are also making their contribution to entrepreneurship. And today when you modernize that role, give it the kind of shape of entrepreneurship and give it the facilitation; a woman entrepreneur emerges.
There are several challenges a woman faces in the work environment, time being the biggest one. However, a woman entrepreneur overcomes all of these hurdles through her innate qualities of multi tasking, perfection and focus. The desire to achieve beyond the homeground, to be happy doing things other than cooking and cleaning, to look forward to another challenging day are the fuelers to women entrepreneurship.
I am a women entrepreneur who has juggled work meetings with pick up and drops of my 2 kids aged 3 and 4, fed food while finishing my presentation, gone over with worksheets and activities, kissed them good night to sleep, and squeezed in time to write this article. However, no successful working woman, especially running her own business, can have it all without the fabric of female support system to fulfill her dreams as an entrepreneur.
A mompreneur- is a common term coined these days and consists of a big chunk of the women entrepreneur circle today. These women entrepreneurs have the toughest time to create the right work life balance between the work place, home responsibilities and time with children. The few factors that help them tide over this smoothly are time management and the art to prioritize between work and family over the course of the day.
They invest in relationships around them, whether it is within the family, amongst other mothers of their children at school who are sailing in the same boat as her, with colleagues at work, and even with the domestic staff at home who are eventually going to be her household backbone while she is at work. It is a known fact that the success of every enterprise depends on its workforce and investing into the right manpower and relationships. A company cannot sustain and achieve its vision and without an excellent human infrastructure. It’s this art of people management that women have a gift for and the ‘male world’ is recognizing it. This quality of building and maintaining relationships is evident from the percentage of human resource departments run by women in most large corporates.
Another fueling factor is paradigm shift in the mindset of most women which is that “It’s important to be happy with oneself”, “It’s important to find time for yourself” and ‘It’s ok not to be perfect’. In the midst of living for others, women never thought what is perfect for them. They never had the time to go out and use their mind and capabilities to the fullest and achieve their dreams. But the image of the perfect woman evolved with time. She finds it now ok to be out there to achieve her goals and her dreams and giving it as much as importance as the aspirations of her husband and her children. This acceptance has lead to happier women who are going into the world and starting phenomenal innovative businesses and creating a mark in the sand.
Entrepreneurship is a great equalizer. Business does not care whether the entrepreneur is male or female; all it wants is sales to fuel its growth. A great idea, hard work and salesmanship are all that one needs to set up a world class venture. So I think this is the time to sort of ride the wave NOW and make it happen!
About the Author
Dr. Rashi Agarwal, Director of Praxis Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. is also the founder and driving force of the company. She has a rich experience in the healthcare management domain in India and internationally in countries like USA, UK, Africa, Gulf, and Sri Lanka. She and her team have completed projects with several hospitals across the world in setting them and running them successfully. She is also a keen academician and is a visiting faculty for several healthcare management programs within the country and has also helped in setting them up. She has received her Masters in Health Administration from Washington University, St. Louis, USA.

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