In the globalized market the opportunities available have tremendously increased. A person living in any remote area has access to almost any part of the country and the world at large. The casual and interesting hobbies, which an individual developed in her child hood, can be tactfully converted to be a business opportunity.
"The opportunities are greater now than at any other time: a lot of the old debates about women and work have moved on to how to make professional life work for all executives," Mr. McAlindon says. "We would say women have never been so confident, nor so discriminating :: :: :: :: WOMEN IN BUSINESS EMERGING OPPURTUNITIES FOR BUSINESSWOMEN IN THE GLOBALIZED INDIAN ECONOMY By- J.P.BHARATHI, Hyderabad Entrepreneurship by definition implies being in control of one\''s life and activities. Programs for encouraging entrepreneurship among women are doomed to fail or at best to succeed partially when taken up in isolation. In the globalized market the opportunities available have tremendously increased. A person living in any remote area has access to almost any part of the country and the world at large. The casual and interesting hobbies, which an individual developed in her child hood, can be tactfully converted to be a business opportunity.
Promoting entrepreneurship for women will require an even greater reversal of traditional attitudes than the mere creation of jobs for women hood. This does not mean that we should wait for societal change to take place first. But it does imply that the programs should go beyond subsidies and credit allocation to attitudinal changes, group formation, and training and other support services. Studies have found that women enterprises are qualitatively different from men. Female enterprises tend to center on the delivery of services responding to traditionally unsatisfied needs. Women represent 40% of the worlds labor force but their share of management jobs rarely exceeds 20%.
In both developed and developing countries, women work 35 hours more than men every week. There are many women organizations, which are tremendously contributing to the upliftment of women. The day is not very far when Women will be considered and recognized for her commitment and virtues. At this juncture let us try to come out of the traditional barriers and think of the opportunities that the new millennium has to offer. In the globalised market the opportunities available have tremendously increased. A person living in any remote area has access to almost any part of the country and the world at large. The casual and interesting hobbies, which an individual developed in her child hood, can be tactfully converted to be a business opportunity. So women should not only think of the business proposal but also doubly become confident that any amount of criticism should not pull her off.
Today, women in advanced economies own more than 25% of all businesses. Between 65% and 90% of part time workers in industrialized countries are women. The opportunities available for business are tremendously high. Firstly many areas are unexploited. India is the fifth largest economy. It has the largest GDP in the entire continent of Asia. It is also the second largest country among the emerging nations and offers high prospects for enormous growth and earning potential in virtually all business areas. The largest aspect is the unextracted women power- House wives. Opportunities do come. To ensure that women can retain these opportunities certain things should be assured. Training in entrepreneurial attitudes should start at the high school level through well-designed courses that build confidence through behavioral games. This exercise would illustrate practical application of the academic knowledge being imparted regarding management (financial, legal, etc.) of an enterprise.
This curriculum should include simple project work designed to give hands on experience of assessing the marketability of a commodity or a service. Flexibility is the IN thing today especially for women .We want flexibility in everything - flexible attitudes, ideas and most importantly flexible work. More and more women are opting for convenient working hours so as to be able to do what they want, when they want. Understanding this line of thought and realizing the need to provide women with more opportunities to do their thing Ms Rachna Chhachhi started the redforwomen site. This site brings amazing flexible opportunities to women and lots of women have benefited from this. The success and popularity of this site speaks volumes of the excellent entrepreneurship of its CEO, Ms Rachna Chhachhi RED means Real Easy Decisions. In redforwomen helps finding an area of work where an individual is completely satisfied with what she does. Today majority of the opportunities are web based NGOs like RUDSET in Karnataka have succeeded in achieving reasonably high success levels, but others including governmental bodies have still not reached these levels. A look at the various schemes available reveals that under the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), finance is not denied for setting up a shop, and the Prime Minister\''s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) extends assistance for trading activity including simple trade finance.
IRDP is confined to rural areas and PMRY covers urban areas. Both schemes are limited to persons with very low-income levels. EDI Ahmedabad appears to be running a programme on these lines in Gujarat that could be replicated elsewhere. Group financing is being extended through banks operating with NABARD refinance, under the IRDP and the training and production centre programme implemented mainly through Mahila Samajas of the Karnataka Women\''s Development Corporation. They concentrate on group formation and extend working capital grants to groups to encourage them to break the exorbitant debt burdens already in existence within the community for the beneficiaries. At the second stage, the beneficiaries move into individual or group activity with bank loans extended on group guarantees. Group formation has proved remarkably successful in empowering women and introducing them to income generating activity, through bank loans. Such schemes need intensive monitoring and effort at the micro-level and are difficult to replicate. A widely utilized scheme was the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)\''s Mahila Udyam Nidhi which covers projects up to Rs 10 lakh and provides 15 percent margin money and a service charge of 1 percent (the promoters\'' contribution is only 10 percent).
This has been supplanted by the liberalized National Equity Fund scheme that covers entrepreneurs, where the margin money component has been fixed at 25 percent. For larger loans, no margin money assistance is generally available and women entrepreneurs have to follow norms applicable to others, that is to provide between 17 and 25 percent of the cost of fixed assets out of own resources. There is a case for setting up a fund for the purpose since irrespective of the name in which family assets are held (surprisingly, quite a bit of family property is held in the name of women) women do not enjoy the authority to pledge, dispose of or otherwise encumber these assets, and families are notoriously wary of using them to support enterprises for the women in the family. But selection of beneficiaries should be rigorously done with all the precautions listed above to prevent the scheme from being hijacked by enterprises controlled by men. The same situation applies in the case of collateral. There is a justified widespread demand for a waiver or reduction of collateral for women entrepreneurs because of the above difficulties. This has two implications. A generalized system of exemption of collateral for women entrepreneurs will definitely result in a proliferation of "women\''s" enterprises to take advantage of the facility. And bankers will find the open-ended benefit risky and tend to restrict financing under this scheme. This would be counterproductive for our purpose.
One practice, though not very satisfactory, that has been introduced in the Karnataka State Financial Corporation is again a screening approach through a committee of representatives from concerned agencies to ensure that the beneficiary is indeed capable of running the project and is genuinely in need of relaxation of this condition. But larger coverage is possible only with the backing of a special fund created for the purpose, as done by Women\''s World Banking for example. In the area of guarantees, several humiliating habits have become ingrained in financial institutions and banks. They tend to depend on male members accompanying women entrepreneurs for finalizing projects proposed by women and almost invariably insist on guarantees from males in the family. These degrading procedures should be scrapped and guarantees sought for any entrepreneur, male or female, only where the entrepreneur on record is totally unfamiliar with the project (in which case the guarantee of the person with expertise may be taken) or has inadequate net worth. Repeated gender sensitization programmes should be held to train financiers to treat women with dignity and respect as persons in their own right. A major area of difficulty for women entrepreneurs is marketing. Several initiatives have been put in place to remedy this defect. At the initial stages women prefer to be locked into programmes that ensure almost total marketing support, since they seldom have the time or the confidence to seek out and develop markets.
Even when they are otherwise in control of an enterprise, they often depend on males of the family in this area. Marketing means mobility and confidence in dealing with the external world, both of which women have been discouraged from developing by social conditioning. Women\''s development corporations try to hold frequent exhibitions and set up marketing outlets to provide space for the display of products made by women. Some NGOs have marketing vans. However, such arrangements are not adequately publicized and quality control is inadequate with no arrangement for adaptation to market requirements or consumer tastes. The Karnataka Women\''s Corporation has plans to set up a resource centre, which apart from acting as a data bank, will also provide counseling and prepare research and evaluation studies. Opportunity Over Discrimination While women don\''t name discrimination as a major issue, 53% of those surveyed said they had experienced it, with being underpaid the most-cited form. The old jokes about the boss chasing a female employee around the desk are a thing of the past.
"Discrimination has not gone away but, where it exists, it is losing its ability to demoralize and demotivate women," Mr. McAlindon says. "Women are succeeding by becoming first and foremost an executive who happens to be a woman -- not the other way round. Overall, women are concentrating more on opportunity than on discrimination. Gender bias also shows up in attitudes, such as the fact that 41% strongly agreed that women in their company have an equal chance as men to reach the senior management level. Flexibility seems key, whether it\''s taking time off for a child\''s school function, or business travel or finding new challenges. Part of that could be thanks to the Internet. "Women are confident about their position in the \''new economy\'' and it could be that the greater flexibility offered by new ways of working better suits the needs and preferences of women," Mr. McAlindon says. While 66% of respondents said that the Internet hadn\''t helped their careers, remaining said the new economy makes it easier for women to network. "The opportunities are greater now than at any other time.
A lot of the old debates about women and work have moved on to how to make professional life work for all executives," Mr. McAlindon says. "We would say women have never been so confident, nor so discriminating Obviously all the new and encouraging factors will surely contribute for development of women.
From : Bharathi Kaza
04th Feb ' 09
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