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Day 42 – Q 5.Critically evaluate the status, challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in India.

5. Critically evaluate the status, challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in India. 

भारत में महिला उद्यमियों के लिए स्थिति, चुनौतियों और अवसरों का समालोचनात्मक मूल्यांकन करें।


Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent and women entrepreneurship is the most unexplored part of the economy, especially in developing countries like India. Women entrepreneurship is gaining importance in India in the wake of economic liberalization and globalization.


Status of Women entrepreneurship in India:

  • In a survey conducted by Dell and Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI), India was ranked 16th/17 countries only above Uganda. Countries like Turkey, Morocco and Egypt has outperformed India. 
  • Only about 16 percent of Indian women own or run businesses, according to the Economic Census conducted by IMF. More than 90 percent of companies run by women are microenterprises, and about 79 percent are self-financed.
  • At present, women’s entrepreneurial role is limited in the large-scale industries and technology-based businesses. But even in small scale industries, the women’s participation is very low. As per the third all India census of Small-Scale Industries, only 10.11% of the micro and small enterprises were owned by women, and only 9.46% of them were managed by women
  • The participation of women has increased in the past decade. Yet, women constitute only one third of the economic enterprises. 
  • The government has introduced schemes like Skill India Mission, Stand Up India, Mudra scheme etc., which have helped Indian women to start their own business.
  • The Self-Help Group promotion through schemes like Bank linkage or Kudumbashree / Jharcraft etc., have generated women run business all over the country.
  • Many women start a business due to some traumatic event, such as divorce, discrimination due to pregnancy or the corporate glass ceiling, the health of a family member, or economic reasons such as a layoff.

A new talent pool of women entrepreneurs is forming today, as more women opt to leave corporate world to chart their own business plans. Skill, knowledge and adaptability in business are the main reasons for women to emerge into business ventures. 


  • Conflicts between Work and Domestic Commitments: Women’s family obligations also bar them from becoming successful entrepreneurs especially in developing country like India.
  • Heavy household responsibilities leave a demand on women especially those in rural areas who have more children. They are required to perform their traditional role as housewives and therefore, they have fewer hours of free time than men, both during the weekend and on weekdays.
  • Lack of family support- Sometimes the family may make the women feel guilty of neglecting household duties in her pursuit of business obligations. Cultural traditions may hold back a woman from venturing into her own business. Male members think it is a big risk financing the ventures run by women.
  • Marketing and promotion of business poses challenge to women entrepreneurs specially with the patriarchial and stereotyped mindset of the society. E.g. A school in Bihar rejected a proposal to supply books as it was run by a women.
  • Lack of confidence and faith-lack of role models undermines the self Confidence of women entrepreneurs. The activity of selling is considered abhorrent to the female gender. As per ILO report there is a prevailing stereotyping in India against women entrepreneurship especially in rural areas.
  • Unlike men, women mobility in India is highly limited due to many reasons. E.g. A single women asking for room is still looked with suspicion.
  • Indian women give more emphasis to family ties and relationships. Married women have to make a fine balance between business and family. 
  • Gender gaps in education: HDI reports shows that the Gender gap is as much as 100% in several of the states (E.g. Mean years of schooling for women is around 5 years compared to 7.2 years for men). they often lack the Combination of education, vocational and technical skills, and work experience Needed to support the development of highly productive businesses.
  • Lack of finance: impeded by lack of personal identification, lack of property in their own name and the need for their husband’s countersignature on many documents.
  • Legal constraints in family law- The institutional and legal environment is critical to the growth of female-owned enterprises. Laws regulating the private sphere specifically those regarding marriage, inheritance and land can hinder women’s access to assets that can be used as collateral when securing a loan


Economic development of the today’s woman is crucial for economic development of any country specially a country like India. The dependency on service sector has created many entrepreneurial opportunities for women that they can utilize to enhance their social standing and reputation.

  • Increasing awareness among parents is shattering the patriarchal mindset and stereotyping within the families and hence women are seen as potential resources to do business.
  • Increasing Urban population has shattered the patriarchal mindset about women which has increased opportunity for women. E.g. the incidents of dowry have come down and marriage of women is not a liability and hence provide additional capital for ventures.
  • Government promotion to women entrepreneurship through various schemes by providing capital support.
  • International recognition of women entrepreneurial potential and increasing international support. Recently NITI Aayog organized Women Entrepreneur Summit with Ivanka Trump as chief guest which saw numerous investment support.
  • Increasing Literacy and education level of the present generation women which has provided an opportunity to involve in business activities.
  • Promotion to traditional crafts through various government schemes like Tribes India etc., has increased the self-help groups which are mainly driven by women.
  • The rising digital market has increased the market exposure and ease in setting up of enterprise which has helped in mobility constraints of women.


When women move forward, the family moves, the village moves and then ultimately the Nation moves forward. The glass ceilings are shattered and women are found indulged in every line of business. The entry of women into business in India is traced out as an extension of their kitchen activities. There is a need for more Awareness programme, training Programmes, skill development, loans and subsidies, grievance forums etc., promoting women entrepreneurship.

(Note: Distinguish Sociology points from governance points. Practice writing sociology points in paper 1)

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