Article 16 of the Constitution of India is clear in stating that “there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office”. However, this has not manifested itself in equal representation at the highest level. If we gathered together the number of top women leaders heading businesses in India, they could be easily counted. If taken together, women CEOs from BSE 100 companies and BSE 500 firms, there are roughly a dozen of women leaders at the top of businesses.
This should be of concern to all businesses and employers, not just because gender equality is morally right, but also because it has several financial benefits—which ultimately how businesses measure themselves.
In an article published by Forbes magazine, it was stated that in India, women constitute about 30 percent of corporate senior management positions which is notably higher than that of the global average of 24 percent. But regarding overall workforce, India lags far behind—113th out of 135—when it comes to the gender gap. And women entrepreneurs constitute only 10 percent of the total number of entrepreneurs in the country.
According to statistics, India has barely 27% women represented in its overall workforce which is among the lowest in Asian countries.
But the question in time is what is it that makes women entrepreneurs in India somewhat lag behind. The following can be a probable answer:
- The societal setup
While India has come a long way since independence, we cannot overlook the fact that the society is still largely patriarchal. Needless to say that this presents a lot of challenges for women to either scale up the corporate ladder or come up with entrepreneurial ideas.
- Lack of support
This might come as a surprise, but in most cases Indian women do not get enough support while it comes to setting up a business or trying to climb the corporate ladder. There are many business areas to which women are not exposed to and need support to succeed. Unfortunately, they are not the ones who are supported enough.
- Financing their business
Another major issue faced by Indian women are funding their businesses. In the recent times when the startup ecosystem was creating its ripples many women entrepreneurs took the plunge. However, it was reported that many of them faced difficulty in acquiring finances just because of the gender they belonged to. Many investors were not ready to believe in their ideas.
Women entrepreneurs have an edge over their male counterparts. And, Edges matter to investors.
One of the obvious reasons for investing in women leaders in India is that women control the vast majority of household spending. This is because women are more likely to understand customer perspectives. Studies also reveal that women are better at building long–term relationships with clients than men. Needless to say that lasting relationships help businesses and employers tremendously in the long run.
In an interview with the Economic Times, Kartik Hosnagar, a professor at Wharton Business School, stated that if India needs to boost its entrepreneurial setup, it needs more women in the startup ecosystem.
Most of the statistics reveal that organisations with the women in top leadership positions have been able to perform much better than those with an all-male board of directors.
Needless to say, that, if more women venture into the world of business and take up entrepreneurial roles, it is going to have a substantial positive impact on the society and economy at large.
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