How can you expand India’s current GDP by 27 per cent? It’s simple – ensure that women get equal participation in the workforce. Or better still; ensure that they get equal participation as start-up entrepreneurs!
The current ratio of women entrepreneurs in the start-up ecosystem in India is fairly low. According to NASSCOM, the number of female founders is 14 per cent (2017), a gentle improvement from 9 per cent in 2015.
So, how can we increase this?
- Stories of successful women in the start-up space, like Richa Kar (co-founder of Zivame), Swati Bhargava (co-founder of Cashkaro) and Tejas Paruleker (co-founder of Saffron Stays) need to be celebrated. If these stories get more visibility in colleges, it will inspire an entire generation of girls to seek opportunities in start-ups. In fact, these successful women founders ought to go on roadshows through the country to share their stories
- Early education in school makes a big impression on young minds! When students of Class XI and XII are educated about the basics of start-ups and aspects of entrepreneurship, we must hope that girl students will be inspired by the immense potential of startups. It will then be a matter of time to see young women floating start-ups, when they are ready to join the work force.
- There are many Apps specifically targeting the needs of working women, mothers etc. With the immense potential that an App provides, it is a matter of time before women are encouraged to turn towards setting up their own start-ups, knowing that there is a whole eco-system that defines a single place for these new projects.
- Just as there is a big move towards gender parity in the corporate sector and encouragement for more girls to join STEM courses in colleges, there should be a gentle nudge by VCs, government agencies and colleges to ensure greater parity in encouraging new start-ups by women.
A lot more can be done and needs to be done! Starting with a few baby steps in this direction, we can be on the path of equal participation for women in India’s start-up ecosystem!