I have been brought up in an extremely liberal family where my parents never stopped me or my sister from doing anything. Rather they have always encouraged us to pursue our dreams, break barriers by entering careers which are otherwise considered as male bastions and thankfully the support continued even after we got married.
I get my entrepreneurial genes from my father. In his twenties he ventured into at least five to six different businesses even as he continued his regular job. Poultry farming to dairy, to farming in our city house, to making films & documentaries. The dot com boom was yet to come. And had it been there in the 80s and 90s, he would have ventured into that too!
But the sad part is, unlike me he could never leave his job and become a full time entrepreneur. He could never reach a point where he could ‘risk it’. Even when my mother had a full time, very stable, well paying government job that could easily support the entire family.
I hear similar stories even today. Many of my male friends are still creating back up plans before they can actually quit their jobs and go all out to pursue their start-up dreams.
Sure there are still more men entrepreneurs in the ecosystem and therefore we need to celebrate and promote women, especially mothers who are coming out and taking charge of businesses. But let’s just accept one thing as women first. Today if you decide to take the plunge, people will only encourage you with least expectations and the same is not true in case of men even now.
Here's why and how.
- In a family it is generally the men who take the major financial responsibility of buying a house, providing for children's education and health care. Sure women play a very important role. But it's like ‘his first’ responsibility. Therefore taking a financial risk for starting up is difficult for men.
- In case of bachelors too, there will be a lot of people - friends and family (girlfriend included) who will want a status report of his start up. And make him conscious about the fact that ‘he is jobless’! So any career breaks, detours are highly difficult to explain. Fortunately for women such breaks and introspection times are justified and often encouraged in the name of ‘marriage’, ‘husband’s relocation’, ‘kids’ et all.
- And most importantly, it is unfortunately the mental wiring of men themselves to not be able to take support - both financial & mental from his partner or from parents for a long time. And we all know that no matter how much funding a start-up receives, it takes a couple of years to stabilize and break even.
Yes, I have personally met both men & women creating these barriers within themselves and therefore in society at large. And call it the after effect of watching the film Ki & Ka which portrayed breaking gender stereotypes, or my ever supporting father, my husband who works hard to pave his way in the corporate rat race so that I can pursue my entrepreneurial dream, I do believe that breaking stereotypes is tougher for men and will always be a celebration for women.
Priyanka Purkayastha is a perpetual dreamer, idealist and like a true bong loves food and sharing opinions on everything. From decoding consumers of FMCG products for last 7 years, her life now revolves around books, authors & writing. She is a Marketing professional and founder @writersmelon, India’s leading community for book lovers & authors.