Breaking Barriers: Women Driving Social Change Through Entrepreneurship Mayank Patil May 22, 2024

Breaking Barriers: Women Driving Social Change Through Entrepreneurship

women entrepreneurs

Did you know that in India, 20.37% of women are MSME owners, accounting for 23.3% of the labor force?

Women entrepreneurs and their increasing presence in India have significantly influenced the country’s economic and social demographics. Women’s participation in the labour force has helped millions of families to pull out of poverty and has significantly contributed to job creation. Women are well known for their leadership skills and dominate in new-age industries such as electronic manufacturing, where more than 50% of the employees are women because of their better productivity levels and high-precision work. This attitude towards work and commendable business skills have also emphasized the significance of women in the modern workforce.

Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs

Did you know that, as per the Google Bain report, only 20% of the businesses in India are owned by women?

  • 1. Fewer sectors are women-friendly

Despite the measures and policies to promote gender equality, men still dominate the entrepreneurial ecosystem of India. According to a report, most women-owned businesses in India operate in low-revenue sectors, while men dominate profitable sectors like construction, manufacturing, etc. The male-centric nature of many industries also forces women to operate in sectors historically defined as “women-friendly,” such as education, apparel, and beauty care, among others. It essentially limits their opportunities, experience, and capabilities to a significant extent.

  • 2. Lack of institutional and social support

Most women business owners do not get the social support they require from families, peers, and the immediate ecosystem to initiate their business. Lack of mentorship from the business community can also be considered one of the main challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in India. This case is no different when it comes to institutional support in India. Although there are schemes for promoting women’s entrepreneurship, many do not receive timely help or guidance from authorities. This absence of a proper support network adversely affects their confidence and ability to take risks.

  • 3. Poor Funding Prospects

The funding scene in India has massive gender biases. Businesses led by women in the country lack access to capital due to investors’ prejudices and other factors. According to a report by Innoven Capital, of all the organizations that received funding in 2019, only 12% had at least one female founder. Many angel investors and VC firms are reluctant to invest in women-led businesses, while financial institutions and banks consider women less worthy of credit. In addition, many women in India do not have property or assets in their name, which comes up as an issue while applying for collateral loans or private financing.

  • 4. Limited mobility

Limited mobility is one of the basic issues faced by women entrepreneurs in India. They can’t travel alone or stay at hotels for business purposes without worrying about their safety. Though many financially independent women have started investing in cars, the number of women owning motorized vehicles in India is lower than that of men. All these factors restrict the mobility of female business owners.

Stories of Resilience and Innovation

One of the most notable contributions to women’s entrepreneurship is by Elaben Bhatt, a notable Gujarati working relentlessly in this field. She founded the Self-employed Women’s Association (SEWA). She received many international and national awards, such as Padma Bhushan and the Ramon Magsaysay Award, for organizing the informal sector for SEWA.

SEWA can be considered one of the largest cooperatives working for women, with over 2 million members from around 18 states in India and neighbouring nations. Founded in 1972, SEWA was inspired by Gandhi’s principles and aimed to address the unique requirements of indigent informal workers. SEWA organized its members into various groups: worker’s cooperatives, producer’s groups, savings and credit groups, and social security groups. These groups were responsible for addressing economic issues, education, housing, healthcare, childcare, and violence against women.

Strategies for Success

Did you know that the deal volume plunged by a staggering 34.58% to 174 deals in 2023 compared to 266 in 2022?

The slowdown also reflected on the overall landscape, suggesting that ventures and investors were more cautious about engaging in startup funding. However, different strategies must be followed to excel, which are as follows:

  • • Confidence and self-belief

Self-confidence is a win-win tool for women entrepreneurs. As a female entrepreneur, an unshakable conviction in your concepts and skills is the key to success. You must acknowledge yourself as a valuable asset, a subject matter expert, and a key change agent of meaningful transformation.

  • • Embrace resilience in the face of challenges

The entrepreneurial road is full of obstacles, failures, and suspects. Resilience is the only way to face difficulties and achieve better results. Instead of considering failures impenetrable barriers, you must regard them as important learning curves fueling transformation and development.

  • • Diversity and Inclusion

Inclusion and diversity are ethical objections that foster achievement and innovation toward accomplishing the goal set in entrepreneurship. You should embrace diversity in all its forms and nurture respect for different opinions, identities, experiences, and personalities.


In conclusion, women entrepreneurs in India are responsible for driving social change and economic growth, with their participation in the labour force contributing significantly to job creation and poverty alleviation. However, they continue to face formidable obstacles, including limited access to men-dominated sectors, lack of social and institutional support, poor funding prospects, and limited mobility. Despite these challenges, women entrepreneurs have showcased remarkable innovation and resilience, exemplified by personalities like Elaben Bhatt and organizations like SEWA. To overcome these challenges and excel in the entrepreneurial landscape, women must cultivate confidence, embrace resilience, and champion diversity and inclusion. By leveraging the inherent strengths and adopting strategic approaches, women entrepreneurs can continue to break barriers and drive meaningful change in society.

Write a comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *