Overcoming Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face

Neha Bajaj, Founder & Director, Scroll MantraThe True Entrepreneur is a Doer and not a Dreamer’ this quote by Nolan Bushnell eloquently states what it truly means to be an entrepreneur. It takes hard-work, dedication, resilience and a positive attitude to achieve success. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy feat for any person regardless of labels put on gender or race. However for women the journey to success comes with its own restraints. Nonetheless, in recent time women entrepreneurs are making their mark across various sectors. According to the Sixth Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organisation in India 14 percent of business establishments are led by female entrepreneurs. This means out of the 58.5 million businesses only 8.05 million are headed by a female entrepreneur. These businesses are as diverse ranging from corner shops to venture- funded start-ups. Having said that, the number is only going to grow from here. Women have come a long way since the dawn of the 21st century.They have made their stand amongst the world leaders and are some of the greatest influencers of the country. However, despite some changes women entrepreneurs compared to their male counterparts still face hardships on their road to success. All business owners have to face challenges but women because of their gender have to face unique obstacles. They have to work twice as hard to prove themselves. One can attribute this to the prejudicial notions society has about women holding leadership roles.

Many women are discouraged to take leadership positions as they are believed to be sensitive and emotional to handle business operations. Women are considered the backbone of a family.
They are stated to form the building blocks on which the family’s foundation is built. Because of this pressure to conform to societal roles, women entrepreneurs usually find themselves conflicted between commitment to the family and business. Work- life balance is a goal of many entrepreneurs to achieve regardless of gender, but this concept weighs more heavily for women who have to simultaneously juggle and take care of their families along with their businesses. They have greater pressure to fulfil their duties combined with society looking down upon them for not being able to give their full undivided attention at home. They have to constantly defy stereotypical notions and prove themselves ten times harder. In most cases of married women unfortunately it's the mother in law who are not supportive of their daughter in law’s career.

Work- life balance is a goal of many entrepreneurs to achieve regardless of gender, but this concept weighs more heavily for women who have to simultaneously juggle and take care of their families along with their businesses.

Due to this archaic thought process, even investors at times are wary of investing in businesses led by women. It is easy for a male to raise a loan or capital because most bankers and investors would rather risk their capital with male entrepreneurs. This can be attributed to the lack of trust many investors still have in a women running a business venture on a whole. Women still face societal discrimination with many people believing that some tasks or responsibility is better left being handled by a man. The way to handle such roadblocks and challenges is to never give up. Entrepreneurs need to set aside their gender labels and develop a tough skin. The road to success is never easy there are numerous bumps in the road that one has to struggle their way out of. Nonetheless in the end all the hard work will be worth it.

Women entrepreneurs should stop thinking of their gender as their weakness, but should wear it like armour which would help them defeat the stereotype mentality of the society. Women should take inspiration and motivation from female role- models such as Oprah Winfrey, Indra Nooyi, Priyanka Chopra who have excelled on their own merit in their respective fields. These women are truly an epitome of success which they have achieved through complete dedication and hard-work. To conclude, these are just some basic challenges faced by women entrepreneur, we all have our own battles to win. Being an entrepreneur is no cake-walk, it takes incredible amount of courage just to take the first step. Starting your own business is probably the biggest risk one takes in their entire career and with women it’s even harder. However, once the first step is taken you can make the way as you go. Dare to take the first step!