Equality – an eight letter word – is the first step towards empowerment. But gaining equality is a war in itself. From behind the closed four walls of the house to the open ground of entrepreneurship, the war of equality is always ‘ON’ for one gender. Which one? You guessed it right – women. From getting equal care, love and affection from parents to being recognized by the teachers for her achievements, to getting equal pay scale and a seat on the board of the company to even being accepted as the founder of her own destiny, women have lots of hurdles to cross to feel equal. It’s a pain to say that though women constitute nearly 49 percent of the country’s total population, their number in the India’s entrepreneurship is just 14 percent.
As female business leaders, they always struggle to be taken seriously in the male-dominated industries that don’t consider acknowledging their point of view, hard work and accomplishments. Being taken seriously on the funding table is another hardship female business leaders face. According to a study by HSBC Private Banking, more than one third of female entrepreneurs face gender bias while raising capital for their business. Several investors also want to invest in a startup that has a male co-founder, discuss with only them and consider their opinions as the final words from the company. So what should a female co-founder then? She should not bog down and pass on the leadership role to men, but fight for her right, fight for the equality.
But are such concepts hampering the best of investment opportunities? Indeed! It’s not just hampering the best of the investment opportunities but also killing some of the best business ideas that could be the next unicorn. In 2019, only 6.5 percent of the total funding raised ($20.44 billion) among the top 150 funded startups in India went to women founded or co-founded startups. So what is the ecosystem lacking?
Equality is the Power
Yes, equality is the power. But what kind of equality? Equality of participation of women in the world of entrepreneurship, equality of commanding respect, and equality of raising fund. There are several instances spread across the globe that speaks of how some of the male investors have tried to manipulate and take advantage of female entrepreneurs when discussing investment. Hence the need of the hour is to have more number of female investors, which right now is miniscule.
We also need to look beyond judging men for potential and women for performance. However, the good news is that the government has come up with several initiatives like funding, incubation centres and accelerators for women-founded companies. Equally emphasizing on a level playing role for women CEOs are some corporates who have come up with various programs to empower them.
The good news is, the shift is already happening. And the best news is, women entrepreneurs are already ready wearing their cape.
All the best to the ‘Invincible Ladies’!!!