Even though the gender gap in the start-up arena is reducing, the pace at which it is happening is very slow. According to Nasscom, there are only 9% women in entrepreneurship
The Indian culture portrays women to be nurturing and caring with the power for relentless sacrifice. It’s time this changed. Women have plenty of commitments and duties towards their families. She is assumed to be the ideal wife, daughter, mother, aunt, and is constantly expected to fulfil every responsibility with utmost dedication. Men are taught to care, protect and assume financial responsibility as the head of household. However, when it comes to encouraging women to take up a job rather than a career, they are advised to pick jobs that are scheduled around their family commitments, including popular options such as teaching or government service (NSSO 2010).
As husbands and fathers, it is essential men believe that women should experience equal freedom to pursue their career choice. Men need to have the presence of mind to balance their career and share household duties. In India’s patriarchal society, women look to their fathers for the right judgement and solutions. It is high time fathers realised the sense of responsibility they have towards their daughters in ensuring they have continuous support and encouragement. Male role-models must inspire women according to their passions, skills and talents. Women must be empowered at an early age to form their own opinions and judgements about the world around them.
The gender gap has decreased over the years and there has been a palpable change in attitudes towards entrepreneurial women. There are plenty of women out there who attribute their success to a supportive home and work environment. Encouraged with flexible work hours, unbiased appraisals and equal opportunities, their responsibilities are acknowledged and accommodated to meet their personal commitments without hindering their professional growth. Even though the gender gap in the start-up arena is reducing, the pace at which it is happening is very slow. With only 9% women in entrepreneurship in the start-up ecosystem (Nasscom), there is a dearth of capable women awaiting to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit.
Globally, India has a higher ratio of women in corporate decision-making roles (Forbes 2015). The number of women graduating with a Master’s degree has almost doubled in the last decade (Census 2011). The future looks bright. Women are innately more emotionally intelligent, and with passion, motivation and ambition, they make great co-founders. There are a number of women with great careers and ideas, eager to build companies, but the fear of failure and its impact on their personal and professional lives can be an inhibition. This reflects the conflict between the environment in which they are raised and the one in which they live.
Women need positivity and encouragement to take the leap of faith required to embark upon entrepreneurship. This is best provided by her family, including the women. Too often, women tend to be a barrier to one another, reinforcing limiting ideas about their roles. The anxiety of failure shouldn’t stop a woman from believing in herself and pursuing her passion. As more women are encouraged to embrace their inner entrepreneur, men must become mindful about taking joint household responsibilities.
At GrowthEnabler, we make it a priority to provide equal opportunities. The business is driven by outputs, taking into consideration personal commitments and professional goals. It is time we let the women in our lives know that we want them to follow their passion, to emerge as tomorrow’s leaders.
The author is co-founder & CEO, GrowthEnabler