The New Millennium: Women Entrepreneurship Battling Gender Pressure

The New Millennium: Women Entrepreneurship Battling Gender Pressure

The New Millennium: Women Entrepreneurship Battling Gender Pressure

Women have to be entrepreneurs within a social system that still expects them to do household chores, obey caste and class, and prepare families to go to school and work.

The emphasis on empowering women without altering the larger social structure manifests itself in at least two ways.

Entrepreneurs and state officials are transforming Bengaluru into a city where the world’s ‘backend’ technology work is channelled into a new start-up hub known for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Since 2012, I have been tracing the many sites and works through which this ‘Start-up City’ has been built. One of the major sites for making citizens entrepreneurs has a special focus on making women entrepreneurs.

There are networking programs for women entrepreneurs, special sessions on technology organized by Google, a training program at the Indian Institute of Management (Bengaluru) and informal groups for mentorship.

Why then do so many women entrepreneurs I met fail to make enough money or make a mark as entrepreneurs?

Writing about the ‘gender order of development in the new millennium’, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) professor Ananya Roy underlined that neoliberal ideologies and austerity politics have created space for liberal women who live in poverty.

And wants to work to eliminate him. This woman is enterprising and effective. She can take microfinance loans for the betterment of her community.

It makes policies women-friendly by making women entrepreneurs, creating value and eradicating poverty. Roy writes that this turning point in global development ‘marks how development takes place through women-oriented policies that serve to uphold traditional gender roles of social production.’

During fieldwork, I experienced how this gender hierarchy of development shapes the competitive entrepreneurial world of start-up capitalism.

Women have to be entrepreneurs within a social system that still expects them to do household chores, obey caste and class, and prepare families to go to school and work.

The emphasis on empowering women without altering the larger social structure manifests itself in at least two ways.

In the first, women were forced to compete for funds in a world of male-dominated start-ups.

For example, at a start-up festival in Bangalore, I took part in a ‘perching session’ in which entrepreneurs briefly explained their company and their idea to a fund-raising panel.

Women stood up to talk about their companies – math games for kids, HR mentoring initiatives for re-entrants into the workforce, ideas for party games.

He received a sharp response from the funding panel. Financiers were looking for projects that could be massively successful and could generate enough publicity to meet the needs of the current market, rather than create their markets.

There the women learned business tricks and understood how they could reshape their enterprises. But the problem was not just with the idea, but the problem is that start-up entrepreneurship is a male-dominated field.

It calls for dynamism in the areas of innovation, networking and leisure, which constitute the start-up world.

Meanwhile, several women entrepreneurs went home to look after their young children before the evening networking event.

When women entrepreneurship emerges in these circumstances, it cannot change the social structure that demands women’s time and energy.

It attempts to fit them into a masculine world that demands relentless hours, mobility at entrepreneurship sites, and a commitment of unlimited time to growing the business.

Women entrepreneurship is not considered valuable, as women are not recognized as entrepreneurs.

Funders see them as housewives because of their primary devotion to household chores. Another approach, which has taken the common question of women entrepreneurship as a challenge, is through dedicated training and mentoring.

As such, the reputed IIMs run targeted training programs for women entrepreneurs.

Goldman Sachs has a global program, run as an online course, to equip women ‘with the practical tools and knowledge to successfully manage the demands of their growing business.

Entrepreneurs are offered flexible options to re-skill themselves again and again: this is an important part of neoliberal economies, which requires us to prepare ourselves for ever-changing market conditions.

If the competitive male-dominated world of start-up capitalism does not recognize women as entrepreneurs, then targeted efforts of women-only groups focus on individual empowerment and skills with the same leeway as to the larger framework in which women are considered entrepreneurs. Assistance in efforts to be recognized or funded.

Unless women’s work in the household is recognized and compensated as labour, women are considered a secret labour force, which needs to be trained to create value for the economy.

Instead of training women to compete in this impossible economy of high valuations or isolating them into women-only groups, we need to re-evaluate how we value different forms of work and market transactions. How to fulfil the ethos outside of giving.

CATEGORIES
Share This

AUTHORDeepa Chandravanshi

Deepa Chandravanshi is the founder of The Magadha Times & Chandravanshi. Deepa Chandravanshi is a writer, Social Activist & Political Commentator.

COMMENTS

Wordpress (0)
Disqus (0 )
error: Content is protected !! Subject to Legal Action By Chandravanshi Inc