If women are half the country why don't they receive half the opportunities? We in India have been grappling with the sliding female workforce and are concerned about job creation. Women, skilled or otherwise, are stuck due to not enough opportunities coming their way, lack of employable skills, and also not significant support systems. Recognising women's entrepreneurship is key for economic progress because it taps into a vast pool of untapped potential.
Women make up half of the world's population, and by empowering them to become entrepreneurs, we can unlock a significant source of innovation, creativity, and productivity. When women are given equal opportunities to start and grow businesses, they can contribute to job creation, income generation, and overall economic growth. By recognising and supporting women entrepreneurs, we can harness their talents and drive economic progress in a sustainable and inclusive manner.
Women entrepreneurs can drive economic progress
As the founder of Upcyclie, Namrutha Ramanathan is passionate about building a sustainable future for the next generations through her fabric waste conversion start-up. Established in 2021, the company makes a variety of bags and accessories out of fabric waste, for eco-conscious consumers all around the world. Upcyclie makes bags and accessories out of fabric waste in association with women from marginalised communities and sells them to eco-conscious consumers all over the world.
"Digital has helped me set up, run, scale and pivot my business, given new experiences too," she says. "YouTube Creator studio is great for me to edit my product videos. And now I am building a generative AI tool for my business where we make memory pieces for young mothers. Every mother in metros hoards at least 15 kgs of her kid’s clothes as memories. These go to landfills if unused at the right time. We show them what they can transform into bags and accessories- through generative AI. This saves approx 500 tonnes of fabric waste in a year."
Women entrepreneurs bring unique perspectives and experiences to the business world. They often face different challenges and have different priorities compared to their male counterparts. By recognising women's entrepreneurship, we can create an environment that addresses these specific needs and enables women to thrive. This can lead to the development of products and services that cater to a broader range of consumers, fostering diversity and inclusivity in the marketplace.
Recognising women entrepreneurship is not only about achieving gender equality but also about leveraging the diverse skills and perspectives that women bring to the table for the benefit of the entire economy.
Women have historically faced barriers and discrimination in accessing resources, networks, and opportunities for entrepreneurship. By acknowledging and supporting women entrepreneurs, we can break down these barriers and create a more level playing field. This can help to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship and empower women to take control of their economic destinies. When women are given equal opportunities to succeed as entrepreneurs, it benefits them individually and contributes to a more equitable and inclusive society.
With the help of technology, women entrepreneurs can access a wide range of resources and tools that were previously unavailable or difficult to access. For example, they can use online platforms and marketplaces to reach a global customer base, enabling them to expand their businesses beyond local markets and increase their revenue potential.
"A lot of our communication with volunteers and audiences for awareness building is done through social media and other channels, that allow us to reach a wider audience in India," says Navya Naveli Nanda of Nimaya. "We also use social media as a platform to talk about issues that still affect women today, and our community has grown over the last 3 years mainly due to the ability to connect instantly through using technology. Our programs and initiatives use technology in the form of online training modules to ensure our programs are engaging for our audiences."
Technology also helps women entrepreneurs overcome traditional barriers to entry. It allows them to work from home or flexible locations, which is particularly beneficial for women who face constraints due to family responsibilities or cultural norms. Additionally, technology provides women access to information and knowledge, enabling them to acquire new skills and stay updated with industry trends.
Technology also fosters networking and collaboration among women entrepreneurs. Online communities and social media platforms provide spaces for women to connect, share experiences, and seek advice from their peers. These networks can be particularly valuable for women who may have limited access to traditional business networks or face isolation in male-dominated industries.
Views expressed by the author are their own
Suggested Reading: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Making Impact By Leveraging Tech