A recent article about women-owned businesses in the USA notes that women have done better than their male counterparts, but stall at exceeding 1 million dollars in annual revenues, and growing past 100 employees.
While we could find no similar studies for Indian women in business, the idea of women and business coming together is not a new concept in India. Women all over the world have been contributing to the success of family business for centuries.
By contributing to the running of business, we not only mean lending a helping hand in the success of the business but also successfully running the affairs of home and hearth in the background.
The age-old saying ‘Behind every successful man, there is a woman’ originated from the fact that women have been contributing to business affairs behind the scenes for a long time.
Changing Roles of Indian Women In Business
Of course, the very idea behind women and business has long since graduated from background jobs to the front. The revolution started many years ago when women started micro enterprising. Initially the very idea of women entrepreneurs was limited to petty jobs at lower and middle level managerial positions in various trades and organisations.
In the ‘old days’, the role of Indian women in business enterprises was limited to running small boutiques or beauty parlours, secretarial jobs, lower managerial positions in local factories or working as farm hands. These jobs were meant to be a way of supplementing the family income.
However, the role of Indian women in business has grown beyond small ‘supplement’ jobs to running full-fledged enterprises. Small beauty parlours have grown into world famous salons (al la VLCC), while women running boutiques have become famous fashion designers (Ritu Beri) and women from small managerial positions have moved on to head large international establishments (Indira Nooyi of PepsiCo.)
This journey for the Indian woman to being an independent and successful entity has not been easy. It’s an uphill, but successful battle. Indian women in business are present in every field, whether in politics, oil, gas, electricity, retail, biotech, IT, construction, fashion designing, research, robotics or anything else you can think of.
Today, the job areas of Indian women in business are not limited to managerial positions, because women like to be at the heart of everything including marketing, sales and ground jobs, which were previously considered a male dominated zone.
Challenges Faced By Indian Women In Business
The biggest difficulty that women in business have been facing and continue to face is gender discrimination. Contrary to popular belief gender, discrimination is not just from the male co-workers but from other women also.
For some Indians, the idea of women and business is still a hard combination to digest, as it is in cultures where many women themselves do not want work and consequently, discourage others who want to do so. Indian women who do have the desire to use their talents to contribute to society and others must remember not to allow the insecurities of others influence their own choices.
Another important factor, which plays an important role in the success of women and business, is education. The importance of education for women has been slow in catching on, especially in India. Education gives women invaluable insights and confidence. It is this very confidence that helps them be successful in any field.
Indian women in business have made remarkable inroads in all fields in terms of business planning, marketing, investment, and making profits. They now have an equal role to play in every field of enterprise and have proven themselves by being pioneers in tasks they choose to undertake.
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