Women entrepreneurship in India





According to Mishra (2000) women entrepreneurship in India is increasing at a significant rate. Today, women constitute of 10% of the total entrepreneurs and are also making significant efforts to achieve economic growth in the country. However, women in the transitional economy are still facing issues like unavailability of resources, no support from family, gender discrimination, financial barriers etc (Singh, 2008).

On the other hand many Indian women are still undertaking entrepreneurship due to factors such as increased level of education, family support, help from various organisations etc (Kitching and Woldie, 2004).

Therefore, the current literature available has been studied intensively to identify the current status of women entrepreneurs in India, issues faced by them, the role played by government and various other institutions to support women entrepreneurs and to find out the factors motivating them to enter the business world.

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Davidson and Fielden (2006) defines Indian women entrepreneurs as women who are capable of establishing and running an endeavour of her own with confidence by balancing between her personal and professional life.

According to Rani (1996) quality of entrepreneurship is one of the important assets to promote entrepreneurship among women in India. Therefore, a SWOT analysis helps to understand better the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats faced by Indian women entrepreneurs. The SWOT analysis of women entrepreneurs is depicted with the help of Table 2


Rao (2005) highlights that from the past many years the social status of the women is increasing, so they have better access to education than they used to have in the past period. Thus, it helps the women to establish their own business as they are aware about their rights and are confident enough to manage their own place in the male- dominated society. Also, women are supported by their family and they can take decisions on their own. In addition to this, it has been observed that the employment level of women in unorganized sector has subsequently increased.

Likewise, the strength of the women entrepreneur lies in the loyalty and devotion toward their undertaking, support from family members and the planned approach used by them to run their business systematically. Also, it has been observed that the willingness of women to work hard is one of the most important entrepreneurial qualities possessed by them (Soundarapandian, 2002).


Sharma (2007) stated that women entrepreneurs in India lack the ability to calculate the amount of risk involved in the venture. Further, it has been analysed that women entrepreneurs in India lack the requisite knowledge to utilise the available resources and information in favour of their business venture as they do not have self-reliance. Due to the lack of confidence, they are unable to interact with people, which further results in poor marketing of their products and services. It has also been examined that women devote more time and attention towards their family and business management is a secondary phenomenon for them. This affects the growth of their enterprise as they are not able to concentrate on running their enterprise efficiently.

On the other hand, it has been observed that the growth of female entrepreneurs is hampered due to the existence of gender related issues in our economy. They experience difficulties in obtaining loans, finding suppliers for their products and services. Also, many women do not get the financial and moral support from their families; they are confined to the household chores and are not allowed to work. Lack of education required for running the business is also the main weakness encountered by women entrepreneurs (Rao, 2005).Furthermore, It has been illustrated that women employees face a lot of criticism of their work from the other members of the society which affects their attitude towards work and they lose confidence (Rani,1996).


Soundariapan (2002) shed the light on the increasing opportunity for the women in the field of business. It has been observed that the issue of gender equality has been taken into consideration by the society and various institutions are coming forward to prevent the gender discrimination. Also, government is taking required steps to empower the Indian women entrepreneurs by developing various policies like Equal Wages Act, increasing literacy level among females etc which proves to be extremely beneficial for the female in the society.

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Furthermore, Indian government is helping the female section of the society by providing them with equal opportunity to work. The Indian constitution has made a law to prohibit the discrimination based on gender and also formulated law for equal remuneration for both men and women. Also, government of India has developed a National Policy for empowerment of women (2001) and is taking crucial steps to raise the literacy level among female section of the society (League of Nations, 2007).


As per Rani (1996), threats are faced by every entrepreneur, be it men or women. However, women face major threats from the competitors and bigger enterprises as they are comparatively new players in the market. Another threat faced by women is the unavailability of funds to invest in the business, as women do not have capital of their own required to run the enterprise successfully. They also face the threat by the family members to leave the business and the work-home conflicts also affect their growth. In addition to this lack of incentive on the part of government and society also poses as potential threat for women entrepreneurs as they are not able to utilise these policies and rights or their benefits which may result in failure of their business enterprise (Rao, 2005).

Jai peera di, jai peera di, jai peera di.


According to Jalbert (2000) women entrepreneurs have completely changed the face of business internationally. It has been observed that one-third of the businesses in the world are managed by women. Women entrepreneurs hold a dignified position in many countries like USA, Holland, Sweden etc. However, in India women comprised of only 16.5% of total work force which is considered to be too low according to the census.

Furthermore, in India the concept of females evolving as entrepreneurs is relatively a recent phenomenon. In 1995-96 only 2, 95,680 women worked as entrepreneurs, which constitute only 11.2%of the total population of 2.64 million entrepreneurs. This is represented with the help of Fig.1 (Sharma and Parashar, 2008).

Benson and Yukongdi (2006) highlighted that the number of women entrepreneurs is steadily increasing in the Indian economy. However, the presence of women in management is only 3-5 % in India compared to around 10% globally. The presence of women can be seen mainly in service sector, HR related jobs and IT Industry. On the contrary, their participation in hard-core jobs such as marketing or production is considerably less. Only 2.3% of women hold the posts of legislators, senior managers and officials in the companies. Women in the age group of 29-59 years comprise of 54.9% of the total population but still they constitute only 17.8% of the total employees in the organized sector. Therefore, it clearly indicates that women are not given the same priority in work as their male- counterparts (The Financial Express, 2006).

On the other hand Tiwari and Tiwari (2007) highlighted that according to the census of 2001, the number of women workers is 22.73% of the total working population (in formal as well as informal sector). He further indicates that women are now entering different fields of entrepreneurship, apart from the traditional areas of business (like jam making, papad rolling etc.), which is a good progress for the development of women entrepreneurs in the country. The role of women in the business world has come into foreplay after the Tenth plan (2002-2007) of the government which planned on empowering the Indian women as the agents of socio-economic change and development. Today, women are entering in many industries like fabrics, engineering, plastics, garment industry etc. Due to emergence of women in the field of entrepreneurship, there has been a considerable growth of the Indian economy. The look of Indian economy has been changed by the women entrepreneurs, as the amount of employment and revenue has increased to a great extent. Also, the number of enterprises run by women is increasing at a faster pace (Singh, 2008).


  • Davidson, M. J. and Fielden, S. L. (2006) International Handbook of Women and Small Busimess Entrepreneurship. United Kingdom: Edwar Elgar Publishing Limited.
  • Benson, J. and Yukongdi, V. (2006) Women in Asian management. Oxon:Routledge.
  • Woldie, A. and Kitching, B. M. (2004)
  • Mishra, S.P. (2000) Factors Affecting Women Entrepreneurship in Small and Cottage Industries in India [online] . Available from: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/asro/bangkok/paper/fac_ind.htm#Introduction [Accessed on 10th Feb 2010] .
  • Rani, D.L.(1996) Women Entrepreneurs. New Delhi: A.P.H Publishing Corporation.
  • Rao, M.K. (2005) Empowerment of Women in India. New Delhi: Discovery Publishing House.
  • Soundarapandian, M. (2002) Small Scale Industries: Problems. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company.
  • Sharma, M. (2007) India's Transforming Financial Sector. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors (P) LTD.
  • Singh, S.P. (2008) An Insight Into the Emergence of Women-Owned Businesses As An Economic Force In India [online]. Available from: [Accessed 9th Feb 2010].
  • Tiwari, A. and Tiwari, S. (2007) Women Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. New Delhi: Sarup& Sons.
  • The Financial Express (2006) In search of equal opportunities [online]. Available from: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/in-search-of-equal-opportunities/92880/ [Accessed 14th Dec 2009].
  • Sharma, K.P. and Parashar, P. (2008) Entrepreneurship. New Delhi: V.K. (India) Enterprises.
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