Social Issues

What is the growth rate of women entrepreneurs in India and how effective is their leadership?

Start up India, Stand up India. This slogan has given rise to innovators and inventors of the country and women have fared pretty well. The percentage of women entrepreneurs have grown significantly during the past few years but there is still a long way to go to make our women shine on the world platform. Only 14% of the Indian businesses are run by women. Although today’s woman has strong business acumen and can spearhead large corporations, there are many hurdles in women running a business. They need to work extra hard to prove their mettle and there are many male dominated industries and jobs which consider less of women.

 

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Rashmi Sinha, Sabina Chopra, Swati Bhargava, Radhika Aggarwal and Shahnaz Husain are the leading examples of women entrepreneurs in India. These superwomen have not just made us proud but have paved the way for young girls who aspire to lead MNCs and organizations. They have been role models and mentors to millions of aspiring women entrepreneurs and have tried to level the playing field for men and women.

 

Studies have shown that women can MANAGE more effectively and efficiently than men. Case in point, Vandana Luthra, from a home maker to a multimillionaire; she has single handly made VLCC what it is today. Ekta Kapoor is another businesswoman who has excelled in her field owing to her amazing leadership skills.

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How ActionAid supports causes in India?

ActionAid envisages a world without: Poverty, Patriarchy and Injustice; a world where everyone enjoys the right to life with dignity.

ActionAid is present in 25 states and associated with 83 long term projects (1-10 years) and 420 short term projects (up to 1 year). They have collaborated with many organizations and civil society groups and work on issues pertaining to women safety, women empowerment, human rights and livelihood rights.

Women Empowerment + Safety

Problem: The average Indian household is deeply entrenched in ideas of staunch patriarchy. Atop this patriarchy are the problems of women’s safety and violence towards women.

AA provides employment opportunities and promote women’s rights and dignity. They ensure political, economic and social independence to women. The interventions of AA encompasses women’s work, gender division of labour, wages and unpaid work. To enhance women’s rights, AA’s interventions also encompasses training boys and men along with girls and women on sexual health and reproductive health issues. AA with its campaigns and interventions aim at women empowerment and women safety across the country.

Recent achievements of ActionAid:

  1. One stop crisis centres – being set up with support of State govt. (MP done, UP upcoming)
  2. Promotion of women’s collectives – more than 30,000 women are part of it
  3. 9,000 women were rendered soft skill trainings including weaving, craft making, driving and zardozi work; educational programmes with partner organisation
  4. Special support provided to 700 women survivors of violence
  5. Training on sexual health rights provided to 11,000 girls.

Livelihood rights And Support for Agriculture

Problem: Unjust land distribution, consequences of indiscriminate land acquisition for infrastructure, social exclusion of groups and caste in land ownership, lack of systems for farmer support – eg. Institutional credit, comprehensive risk coverage to offset increasing input costs and support price, short sighted overuse and industrial agro.

AA seeks to build a stress free and ecologically sound and sustainable process in the farming industry. It preserves natural resources and promotes agriculture that has low impact on ecological commons. It supports movements demanding land rights for the tiller, especially with excluded groups. It has also built seed banks and ensure access to every farmer.

The major part of the country’s GDP is contributed by the agriculture sector. To foster the economic growth, ActionAid has launched various campaigns ensuring better working conditions and livelihood rights to farmers, and restoring a progressive land reforms agenda to the corridors of policy making.

Recent achievements of ActionAid:

  1. Facilitated land titles to tiller (50,000 successes, 2 lakh applications filed)
  2. Procured access to social security schemes for informal sector labourers (58,000 cases)
  3. Created sustainable solutions for farmers and promoted appropriate tech
  4. Organised collectives for farmers

Women Entrepreneurs

Problem: Lack of education, patriarchal society, family ties and problem of finance. In India, being a woman entrepreneur comes with a long list of challenges.

AA aims at spreading awareness about women’s rights through collective enterprises. It impart several trainings on enhancing leadership qualities to ensure women empowerment. The trainings also focus on building technical skills of the woman entrepreneur.

Finance is the blood of any organization. A woman entrepreneur faces a lot of challenges to initiate a business due to lack of finances. AA ensures micro grants in the form of solar lights, pumps, nets, opening stock etc. to initiate operations of collective enterprises. It also ensures that a woman entrepreneur is not deprived of her livelihood rights.

The work of a woman remains undervalued during her entire life. AA ensures acknowledgement of a woman’s work both as an income producer of the family and the voluntary care work done by her. Various training programs are held both for men and women to sensitize them about the voluntary work done by a woman.

The success mantra of an enterprise is the network chain built by an entrepreneur. AA plans out various network building activities with various stakeholders including government authorities at the local, district and state level.

Child’s right to Childhood

Problem: A poor country like of ours is entrenched with child labour. Childhood is the basic right of any child across the globe and majority of the children living in shanty towns are deprived of this basic right.

AA aims to eradicate child labour from the country by educating, providing access to a protected environment and feeding every child in the country. To improve the overall situation, AA participated in a nation-wide study on the status of Right to Education Act by covering 1,100 schools.

AA is taking initiatives to improve the conditions of street children. It ensures that every child in the country is enrolled in a school under Right to Education Act. And, not just enrolment but it also look after the quality of education being imparted in schools. AA also facilitates scholarships for higher education to children so that due to lack of finance, brighter kids are not deprived of higher education.

Recent achievements of ActionAid:

  1. Enrolled 30,000 children into schools and 40% of them being girls.
  2. 1,706 cases of malnutrition addressed.
  3. Rescued 1,467 children from child labour and enrolled into schools.
  4. Rendered scholarships to 7,176 children from marginalised background, 35% of them being from Muslim communities.
  5. Supervised 1,500 schools pertaining to basic amenities and quality of education.
  6. 350 Anganwadi centres started functioning effectively because of the successful campaigns.
  7. Appointed 132 dalit women cooks in schools in the state of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Telegana and Uttar Pradesh.

ActionAid is doing its bit by driving campaigns to ensure women empowerment, women safety, access to human rights and livelihood rights etc. Join the movement and be a part of the change and contribute towards a better society. A society free from poverty, patriarchy and injustice. A society free from all taboos and stereotypes. A society where everyone enjoys right to life with dignity.