Women form the backbone of any progressive society. In our country, however, we have been fighting to save the girl children and set right skewed sex ratios in many states. While women across the world have been carrying the credit of ushering in pioneering innovations, our women have a tough time securing basics, such as education and healthcare.
Women Entrepreneurs in India
In Indian society, women have always been an active part of the production cycle. Be it agriculture, dairy farming, or other home industries, Indian women have been enterprising, bold, and sound in matters of commerce. In recent days, women across the country have started setting up business ventures and managing them very well. Haryana women, second to none in their potential, are also setting out on entrepreneurial journeys. Despite their brimming capabilities, however, our women are faced with opposition and challenges rather than a well-deserved applause.
Women entrepreneurs in Haryana face a double challenge a bias against girl children denies them the education and the opportunities available to their male counterparts and the lack of such learning and skills development inhibits any entrepreneurial ambitions. In many rural parts of the state, women venturing out of the household to work face much opposition and criticism.
According to the results of a sample study conducted in 2013 by researchers from the Kurukshetra University, about 39.2 percent of women entrepreneurs from the state reported that obtaining start-up capital for their ventures and businesses was the biggest challenge that they faced; businesswomen from the manufacturing and trading sector reported this problem more often than those from other sectors. About 16.4 percent of women entrepreneurs were faced with reluctant officials in the banks and other financial institutions which were approached for loans. Discouraged by families, officials, and others in the industry, working to set up their ventures has been an uphill task for these women, says the study.
Lack of awareness is a major disadvantage for aspiring women entrepreneurs in Haryana. Financial schemes to aid women entrepreneurs are scanty and even when such schemes are available dissemination of information about these is completely unavailable. About 40.7 percent of respondents of the study testify to this.
What needs to be done
Promotion of entrepreneurial interests among women requires a complete change in attitude in Haryana society and requires the state administration's intervention at various levels. The most important is an awareness drive promoting women's education and advertising their ability to start and successfully manage businesses. The state must work with various NGOs and women's rights organisations to encourage women from the state to set up small ventures and grow them, thereby achieving financial independence. Skills development is another area where the state needs to take initiative and organise training to allow women to learn and develop vocational skills.
Policy change at the highest level to promote financial assistance to aspiring women entrepreneurs is also imperative. Banks and financial institutions must both be willing to promote the ambitions of women wanting to set up businesses and must sensitise their officials to develop the right attitude in this matter. Trade unions and industries must be egged on to promote and uphold successful women entrepreneurs as examples worth emulation.
Despite the odds stacked against them, women from Haryana have always played an important role in production, manufacturing, and selling the produce from various household and other industries. The women of the state are now ready to play a more ambitious role in reclaiming prosperity and financial success. Is the state wiling to aid them? Are we willing to be part of their success? This is a question we must soon answer.