Happy Navratri

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Happy Navratri

Beyond the Glass Ceiling!

India is entering into the auspicious season of Navratri also known as Durga Puja, a festival dedicated to nine expressions of Hindu Goddess Durga. Millions of devotees will bow their head down to Ma Durga, yearning for growth, prosperity and health. However, the big irony here is that even though we worship women by giving her the utmost place in our hearts and home, we fail to transcend these feelings while appreciating them professionally.

While talking about women in the business world in India, there are many who have set examples and are our role models. Indrani Nooyi, Chanda Kochar, Ekta Kapoor and many more have excelled in their line of businesses such as corporate, media, fashion, entrepreneurship, etc. Despite of such examples, the hard truth is that we still are incapable to acknowledge their power, their potential and their capabilities. We form stereotypes and gender biases that still label the women as weaker sex.

India’s Startup Ecosystem is heating up with, with the news of a multimillion dollar funding for a new or existing venture becoming a weekly feature. Yet, when it comes to gender bias the Indian startup scene seems no different. Pick any recent startups who have received funding in last 24 months, I bet the 8 out of 10 startups would not have even a single female member in their founding team.

According to the recent article published by yourstory.com – “In the first half of this year, Indian startups have raised $3.5B funding. Startups had raised $1.7 billion in Q1 2015 alone. The number of deals in Q2 2015 has increased by 50% from the previous quarter. However, when we look at businesses with women at the helm — startups founded and run solely by women, the number is small and when we talk of the ones who have received funding, it does not even cross single digits.”

According to 2015 Gender GEDI index for Female Entrepreneurship measuring the country’s potential to encourage and develop the growth of female entrepreneurs, India ranks poorly at the position of 70 out of the 77 countries covered.

This trend is not specific to India or the so called third world countries. Gender disparity have been the issue across the world even in the developed western economies. Silicon Valley, the hub of entrepreneurship and home of startup itself has been criticized for this bias. According to an observation made by the Business Insider, the top 26 venture capital funds operating in Silicon Valley invest on an average less than 1 out 5 in female founded startups.

So what could be the possible reasons for such a mindset that sees so few women entrepreneurs. Is it that the women entrepreneurs are not trying enough or is it that they are not getting enough opportunities?

I feel it is neither, it is just the societal bias that has caused this glass ceiling to emerge. Try imagining a Businessman or an entrepreneur in your head. What do you visualize? Most of you will imagine a MAN and this is where this stereotyping lies.  I searched for Entrepreneur in Google’s Image Search and Below is a snapshot of what I found.

Crowdfunding Platform

 

It showed me only men as entrepreneurs in its top results! Need I say more?

It is human nature, where you tend to form a predilection towards people who look like you, who speak like you, dress like you and have similar interests. With most of the investors and Venture capitalists being male dominant, they tend to chose men over women when funding a business.

Good news is that times are changing and things are not that gloomy. Some of the women have bypassed these bias and out shown. To a quote a few – Anisha Singh founded one of the leading online portal mydala.com for discount coupons in 2009. Zivame, and e-commerce platform for lingerie was founded in 2011 by Richa Kar. Empowering women to find a suitable job, Ms Sairee Chahal founded Sheroes.in in 2014.

These women have not just been brilliant in what they have done but they have created new lines of business creating ample of job opportunities for the masses and an example for all to follow.

“Unleashing the power of female entrepreneurship can have a dramatic effect on a country’s economy. ” – Karen Quintos, chief marketing officer (CMO) and senior vice president Dell

This festive season, Dream Wallet vows to break this glass ceiling by continuing to recognize the capabilities, potential and talent of this new generation of women in India.

We, a gender neutral crowdfunding platform, call out to all the women who have a business, idea or even a dream they feel passionate about. Create a project with us and let’s take the next step toward success.