Women Entrepreneurship: Essay on Women Entrepreneurship in India!
Women constitute around half of the total world population. So is in India also. They are, therefore, regarded as the better half of the society. In traditional societies, they were confined to the four walls of houses performing household activities. In modem societies, they have come out of the four walls to participate in all sorts of activities. The global evidences buttress that women have been performing exceedingly well in different spheres of activities like academics, politics, administration, social work and so on. Now, they have started plunging into industry also and running their enterprises successfully.
Therefore, while discussing on entrepreneurial development, it seems in the fitness of the context to study about the development of women entrepreneurs also in the country.
Before we discuss development of women entrepreneurship in India, let us first make a case for women entrepreneurship. The review of developmental literature reveals that the focus on the contribution of women in direct productive work was first brought about in 1970 with Ester Boserup’s book, ‘Women’s Role in Economic Development’ which was an outcome of Boserup’s research experience in India (Boserup 1970).
If David C. McClelland’s experiment (Ghosh 1998) proved as seed for entrepreneurship development programmes (EDPs) in India, so was Boserup’s research experience for women’s role in development. It was during 1970s; more attention was given to the women’s productive roles than the reproductive ones (like childbearing and rearing, housekeeping, and care of the elderly). In the 1980s, the gender and development approach took the women life into totality rejecting the public/private dichotomy which devalues women’s role at home.
The Planning Commission of the Government of India realized that economic development of country can take place only when women are brought in the mainstream of economic development. Development cannot take place unless the people at the grassroots’ level are not involved in the development programmes.
This, among other things, underlined the need for entrepreneurship development programmes for women to enable them to start their own small-scale industries. Accordingly, the focus on economic development made women the ‘subjects’ rather than ‘objects’ of development and ‘change agents’ rather than ‘welfare recipients.’
This also made women to move from margin to the centre by empowering women to gain control over their lives (Hooks 1984). Considering the dual roles of women at home and work, developmental approaches tried to harmoniously combine women’s home life with work life.
For example, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) has developed flexible programmes which work around women’s lives and within the context of broader policies and plans making women the subjects of development rather than welfare recipients (McClelland 1961).
Now that we have justified the case for women entrepreneurship, we can profitably discuss the important aspects of women entrepreneurship in India. Let us begin with understanding the concept of women entrepreneurs.