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Role of Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship in India

Empowerment is a concept that is of equal importance to both men and women. The knowledgeable Indian women have to go a long way to achieve equal rights and position because customs are deeply rooted in Indian society where the socially setup has been a male dominated one. Since the turn of the century, the status of women in India has been changing due to growing industrialization, globalization and social legislation. Entrepreneurship is a state of mind, which many women have in her, but has not been capitalized in India in way it should be. Due to change in environment, now people are more comfortable to accept leading role of women in our society. This entrepreneur development is being recognized as an important untapped source of economic growth since women entrepreneur create new jobs for themselves and others and by being different also provide society with different solutions to management, organizations and business problems. They see the world through a different lens and, in turn, do things differently. The role played by micro enterprises in India is immense, as they are effective tool for sustainable livelihood, employment generation and empowerment of women. In modern India, more and more women are taking up entrepreneurial activity especially in micro, small and medium scale enterprises.

This paper focuses on women empowerment, leadership and support to the economical growth by emerging as women entrepreneur in India. It also focuses on the problems and challenges faced by them and provides with solutions and more opportunity to lead.


Women empowerment, MSMEs, women entrepreneurship, economical growth


“The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.” Swami Vivekananda

“There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved.”

Swami Vivekananda

“To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, woman is less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior: Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her man could not be. If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Reflecting into the “Vedas purana” of Indian culture, woman is being worshipped such as LAXMI MAA, goddess of wealth; SARASWATI MAA, for wisdom; DURGA MAA, for power. But the status of women in India, particularly in rural areas needs to address the issue of empowering women. Leaving a major number of urban and suburban women, the Indian women are still crying for simple justice. Ironically, women have not actively participated in their own emancipation mainly due to low economic independence. With their age, they have been raped, kicked, killed, subdued and humiliated almost daily. Women’s empowerment is not a Northern concept. Women all over the world, including countries in the South, have been challenging and changing gender inequalities since the beginnings of history. Many men who have been outraged at injustices against women have also supported these struggles.


  1. To highlight the problems and challenges faced by Indian women
  2. To emphasize prospects of women
  3. To suggest necessary qualities required for successful women


Study is mainly focused towards the secondary data collection from different sources like Journals (National

& International), publications, books and websites on women empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Literature Review

We know that women entrepreneurs play a significant role in the economy. They are different in their management, decision-making, and leadership styles. They differ in their motives, goals and aspirations. They operate in different sectors; they finance their businesses differently, and also have different parameters for measuring success. Being different, they also face challenges and obstacles different from those faced by men. Hence, there is a need to review the literature from different angles to be able to foster women entrepreneurship.

Kaushik Sanjay (2013) “Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in India.” International Journal of Management and Social Sciences Research (IJMMSR) ISSN: 2319-4421 Volume 2, No. 2. Social and economic development of women is necessary for development of any country. Due to changing environment, now women are easily acceptable at the entrepreneurial opportunity. Our increasing service sector also promotes the women entrepreneurship. The purpose of the study is to find out various motivating and demotivating internal and external factor of women entrepreneurship. It will also suggest the investment and interesting working time of women.

Chaudhary Neelam “An Account of Women Entrepreneurship Development in India: Challenges, Opportunities and Future Prospects.” The paper analysed women’s participation in entrepreneurial activities to highlight the contribution of women entrepreneurs towards economic development. It examined the facilitating factors and policies and programme of the government also exist to promote and strengthen the development of women entrepreneurship in India.

The Government of had ushered in the new millennium be declaring the year 2001 as ‘Women’s Empowerment Year’ to focus on a vision ‘where women are equal partners like men’. The most common explanation of ‘women’s empowerment’ ability to exercise full control over one’s actions. The last decades have witnessed some basic changes in the status and role of women in our society.

What is Empowerment?

The dictionary meaning of empowerment is the act of conferring legality. The word ‘empowerment’ is used differently in many different contexts. It is a concept that is of equal importance to both men and women but in Indian society women’s empowerment is yet an issue. It is a phenomenon takes place in all walks of life. In today’s development scenario, empowerment is the most frequently used term. It is also the most nebulous and widely interpreted of concepts, which has simultaneously become a tool for analysis and also an umbrella concept to justify development intervention. The empowerment of women is an active multi- dimensional process, which enables women to realize their full identity and powers in all spheres of life.

JSI Six Domains of Empowerment

There have been several efforts to devise micro indicators of empowerment. In this effort, Naila Kabeer, Linda Mayoux, Anne Marie Goetz, Rahman, Ackerley, JSI (John Show International researchers), Sara Longwe and Hashmi have provided their own indicators.

JSI Six Domains of Empowerment




1. Sense of Self & vision of a future

Assertiveness, plans for the future, future-oriented actions, relative freedom from threat of physical violence, awareness of own problems and options, actions indicating sense of security.

2. Mobility & visibility

Activities outside of the home, relative freedom from harassment in public spaces, interaction with men.

3. Economic Security

Property ownership, new skills and knowledge and increased income, engaged in new/non-traditional types of work

4. Status & decision-making power within the household

Self-confidence, controlling spending money, enhanced status in the family, has/controls/spends money, participation in/makes decisions on allocation of resources, not dominated by others

5. Ability to interact effectively in the public sphere

Awareness of legal status and services available, ability to get access to social services, political awareness, participation in credit program, provider of service in community.

6. Participation on non-family groups

Identified as a person outside of the family, forum for creating sense of solidarity with other women, self-expression and articulation of problems, participating in a group with autonomous structure.

JSI defines empowerment in a behavioral sense as the ability to take effective action encompassing inner state (sense of self, of one’s autonomy, self-confidence, openness to new ideas, belief in one’s own potential to act effectively) and a person’s status and efficacy in social interactions. In particular, it is the ability to make and carry out significant decisions affecting one’s own life and the lives of others.

Factors of Women Empowerment

The main factors of women empowerment were identified using factor analysis by taking into account the Eigen values of factors, factors loadings, and assignment of variables. Based on the Eigen value factor and factor loadings, seven factors were identified based upon their characteristics.

  1. Impact: It refers to an individual, is perceived degree of influence over outcomes in one’s work and family environments. In other words, an individual must have the opportunity to exert influence in order to have an impact on outcomes at work (Spreitzer, 1995).
  2. Self-determination: It refers to everyone’s internal need to control the environment (conger and Kaungo, 1988). It is also defined as women’s need to choose, to initiate and regulate actions or to choose the process and work behaviours at
  3. Being meaningful: The work done by women employees should be treated as valuable work. They evaluate the job based on their own values and feel that they are doing something
  4. Professional growth: It refers to personal development in job and Empowered women feel more professional growth in their career.
  1. Independence in decision-making: Independent women are treated to be empowered and make decision on their
  2. Competence and self-efficacy: It points at one’s work role efficacy or personal mastery; women must feel that they are competent to engage in the behaviors required by the organization or family. Thus empowerment is about self-actualization and competence. Competence and self-efficacy refer to enable the women to be confidence in their capacity to make the

Trust: Empowerment is connected with trust. Trust creates an atmosphere for empowerment and grows is such an atmosphere. Trust requires values like solidarity and maturity. Empowerment cannot be installed like software but must be grown.

Women Entrepreneurship in India: Problems and Challenges

Men and women, both follow the same entrepreneurial process in practice but there are many problems and challenges, which are being faced by women entrepreneurs in India. These problems and challenges are:

  • Financial resources: Women entrepreneurs always suffer from in adequate financial resources and working They are not able to afford external finance due to absence of tangible security and credit in the market. They even face problems in getting the requisite working capital financing day-to-day business activities. Male members consider it to be a big risk funding the ventures run by women.
  • Family obligations: A married woman entrepreneur has to make a perfect balance between domestic activities and business activities. Their inability to attend to domestic work, time for education of children, personal hobbies, and entertainment adds to their
  • Technology utilization: Women who enter areas requiring highly technical knowledge are either supported by their husband or achievement
  • Lack of knowledge of availability of raw materials: Procurement of required raw material is an issue for women Information of different sources of raw materials availability and high negotiation skills are the basic prerequisites to run a business.
  • Low mobility: The confidence to travel across day and night and even different regions and states are less found in women as compared to male entrepreneurs. This shows the low level of freedom of expression and freedom of mobility of women
  • Lack of risk taking ability: Investing money, maintaining the operations and ploughing back money from surplus generation requires high risk taking attitude, courage and
  • Managing employees: Managing employees is another challenge faced by women entrepreneurs in For any business it is important to find and retain good employees is very important for a successful business. Since women owned business tend to be smaller, they are often less likely to provide job security and retain good talent.
  • Marketing problems: Women entrepreneurs mainly depend on the middlemen for marketing their products who pocket large chunk of They exploit the women entrepreneurs. A lot of money is needed for advertisement in these days of stiff competition to capture the market and make their products popular.
  • Lack of education: Knowledge of modern technological changes, know how, and education level of the person are the major factors that affect business. The literacy rate of women in India is found at low level compared to the male They are unaware of new technologies or inexpert in their use, and often incapable to do research and gain necessary training.
  • Stiff competition: The male-female competition is another reason which develops hurdles in the path of women entrepreneurs in the business management process. In spite of the fact that women entrepreneurs are good in keeping their services prompt and delivery in time, due to lack of organizational skills and freedom of mobility of women

Qualities necessary for the Indian Women Entrepreneurs for their successful career

Robert D. Hisrich identified adequate commitment motivation and skills to start and build some of the important qualities of an entrepreneur.

Flexibility, good social behavior, open mind and desire to take personal responsibilities will fit in the qualities of a true entrepreneur. Some of the important qualities or characteristics that are necessary for a successful women entrepreneur are discussed below

1.     Desire to Excel

The first and foremost quality an entrepreneur should posses refers to a burning desire to excel. The entrepreneur should always engage in competitions with self-imposed standards with oneself to beat one’s last best performance. According to Mc Clellan, this high achievement motive strengthened him to surmount the obstacles, suppress anxieties, repair misfortunes and expedients. The entrepreneur must have a strong desire to be a winner.

2.     Hard work

Entrepreneurs who successfully build new enterprises possess an intense level of strong determination and willingness to work hard. They possess a capacity to work for long hours and in spurts of several days with less than normal amount of sleep. Through their hard work and intense desire to complete a task or solve a problem or overcome hurdles, they can be able to achieve the never-ending goal of excellence.

3.     Self confidence

Entrepreneurs must have confidence and belief in them to achieve their desired objectives. They strongly believe that they can beat anyone in the fields. They do not believe in status quo, rather they believe that the events in their life are self-determined and have little belief in fate.

4.     Initiative

An entrepreneur must have initiative seeking personal responsibility for actions and use the available resources for optimization of objectives. They take full credit for the success and assume full responsibility for the failure of the enterprise.

5.     Moderate risk-taker

An entrepreneur must be a moderate risk taker and learn from failures. The successful entrepreneurs are neither high-risk takers, nor gamblers. They take moderate challenging risk to attain moderate returns, which are influenced within their abilities and decisions.

6.     Innovative

An entrepreneur must be innovative and creative. Through his innovative ideas and creative thinking an entrepreneur can be able to engage himself in the analysis of various problems and situations in order to deal with them. An innovative entrepreneur introduces new products, develops new method of production, discovers new market and reorganizes the enterprise.

7.     Motivation

An entrepreneur should have a strong motivation towards that achievement of a task and must be able to exert considerable efforts in getting things done by others. He should be a person who likes working with people and has skills in dealing with them. He has to motivate people to act, through his interpersonal skills.

8.     Optimistic

Entrepreneurs do not believe that the success o failure of a new business venture depends mostly upon luck or fate or external uncontrollable factors. They are highly optimistic about the success of the enterprise. They use positive knowledge to support their thinking. They are rarely negative. They always look at the brighter side of the situation. They are never distributed by any internal or external threat to their business or intermittent problems in accomplishing their goals.

9.     Analytical ability

Entrepreneur must be realistic in their approach. They should not be affected by the personal likes and dislikes. At the time of crises, they must select experts rather than their friends and relatives to solve the problems. They must analyse the problem in detail before taking any decisions.

10.     Mental ability

Mental ability refers to the inner strength of an entrepreneur, which helps him to reach his goal. It is that ability which helps him to quickly respond to difficult situation. It consists of intelligence and creative thinking of an entrepreneur. Through this ability, entrepreneurs are able to adjust themselves with the changing business environment.

11.     Flexibility

Entrepreneurs should be flexible in their decisions in the sense that they should not be very rigid in the decision making process. If the situation demands a change in the decision that will be beneficial to the enterprise, then after analysing the pros and cons of the decision, the entrepreneur should revise or modify or change the decisions.

12.     Independence

Successful entrepreneurs do not like to be guided by others. They prefer to work in an environment free from interference. They like to be independent in the matters of decision making of their own business. They want to be their own masters and resist to be pigeonholed.


At present both Center and State governments are giving incentives, concessions and subsidies to entrepreneurs to start their own enterprise, particularly in industrially backward areas. These incentives and subsidies have positively attracted the entrepreneurs to start their units in rural areas. It also includes assistance of varied nature and also financial, organizational and managerial supports.

India needs entrepreneurs for two reasons:

  • To capitalize on new opportunities
  • To create wealth and new jobs

The country can achieve its economic growth when the women entrepreneurs start rising on the horizon of villages. When women entrepreneurs are more in the rural areas, they can provide better employment opportunities to the public. As a result, per capita income of the country will increase ultimately leading towards overall economic growth.

Network marketing also called, as Multi Level Marketing is the current marketing technique that is definitely an ideal career choice for any women who has the desire and the right attitude to become an entrepreneur. If these type of marketing help the women to become entrepreneur without any risk and financial constraints, it should be encouraged to spread across the country especially in the rural areas. There will be increase in women entrepreneurs in nearing future in India.


Women represent half the world’s population, and gender inequality exists in every nation on the planet. Until women are given the same opportunities that men are, entire societies will be destined to perform below their true potentials. The greatest need of the hour is change of social attitude towards women.

“When women move forward the family moves the village moves and the nation moves”.

Women empowerment is essential as their thought and their value systems lead the development of a good family, good society and ultimately good nation.

It can be said that today we are in a better position wherein women participation in the field of entrepreneurship is increasing at a considerable rate. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are considered as the backbone to the economic growth and development of Indian economy. At this juncture, effective steps are needed to provide entrepreneurial awareness, orientation and skill development programs to women. The unexplored talents of young women can be identified, trained and used for various types of industries to increase the productivity of the industrial sector.


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Authored by: 

Mrs. Brototi Mistri 

Assistant Professor

MET Institute of Management, Nashik


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