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The rise of women entrepreneurs in India

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New Delhi: Digital platform in India is seeing a rise in the participation of women, be it in the form of entrepreneurs or purchasers. They are gradually setting their foot firmly in this space and utilizing the technology to its fullest to grow their businesses.

And the appreciation comes from not only women entrepreneurs but also businessmen who have turned their start-ups into a hugely successful venture.

“Women entrepreneurs are more celebrated than male entrepreneurs. One may not hear the name of men entrepreneurs having a new start-up, but the news of women having a start-up spreads rapidly,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO and Founder of Paytm, told IANS on the sidelines of a seminar here.

Kanika Tekriwal, who started her own company “JetsSetGo” at the very early age of 27, shared similar thoughts when asked about women’s involvement in start-ups and going digital.

“Women start-ups are getting more recognition than men. It is all about women’s empowerment. Being a woman and doing a startup is probably the best thing to do in this era,” said Tekriwal.

Raj Kundra, a well-known face in the business world, CEO and Founder of Best Deal TV, said that women’s contribution has to increase as he felt the Indian market is still male-dominated.

“Women are far more innovative and hard-working. There is so much of potential in them. They can contribute immensely to the economy,” said Kundra who proudly added that his company is setting the target of employing an equal number of male and female employees.

Talking about the contribution of women in start-ups and digital business, Sharma too conveyed similar thoughts.

“Though the participation of women entrepreneurship in digital field has been seeing a rise, yet the start-up owners feel that more involvement of women is required to bring more diversity in business,” added Sharma.

Kundra, who proudly said that best ideas come from women, particularly mentioning how his business is driven by his actress-wife Shilpa Shetty, further added that women entrepreneurs should utilize the social media platform to its fullest for publicising their business.

Sharma, too, appreciated that women are now gradually becoming more comfortable with technology. They are coming out from the shell of being the only PR, marketing or HR representatives.

But the road to success for women entrepreneurs is definitely not easy.

“Investors never take business women seriously. At times, it really becomes difficult to make Indian investors believe in your ideas. Raising money often becomes a major hurdle for women entrepreneurs. Also, at times, employees don’t take women bosses seriously,” said Tekriwal.

“The number of women entrepreneurs have been less as funding has been less for women’s own start-ups. She has to fight to make room for herself,” said Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO, Sheroes, a career search portal exclusively for women.

Sharma also added that personal background of a woman also turns into a hurdle while attempting to start a business.

However, despite all odds, these entrepreneurs strongly believe that women’s involvement, participation and contribution are going to be equal as those of businessmen in the coming few years.

“Make sure one is not going into fashionable business. Women entrepreneurs should invest in start-ups that only interests them, which is core to themselves,” Sharma suggested to those who are planning their own start-ups soon.

Kundra suggested that nothing can go wrong for an aspiring woman entrepreneur if she analyses and does good research about the present market scenario before launching her service.

Tekriwal advised that confidence and belief in oneself constitute the mantra of success for women entrepreneurs.

(Somrita Ghosh, IANS)

 

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Women In India Turn To Technology To Stay Safe From Harassment

Police in many Indian cities are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints

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Women, Harassment
Women stand at a crowded place in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, Oct. 9, 2006. Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a survey Thursday. VOA

New web and phone apps in India are helping women stay safe in public spaces by making it easier for them to report harassment and get help, developers say.

Women are increasingly turning to technology to stay safe in public spaces, which in turn helps the police to map “harassment prone” spots — from dimly lit roads to bus routes and street corners.

Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey released Thursday, as improving city access for women becomes a major focus globally.

“Women always strategize on how to access public spaces, from how to dress to what mode of transport to take, timings and whether they should travel alone or in a group,” said Sameera Khan, columnist and co-author of “Why Loiter? Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets.”

#MeToo, Victim, Harassment
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician M.J. Akbar takes the oath during the swearing-in ceremony of new ministers, July 5, 2017, at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi. The Indian minister and veteran newspaper editor announced his resignation, Oct. 17, 2018, while still insisting that the accusations of sexual harassment are false. VOA

Reported crimes up 80 percent

Indian government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016.

The fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 put the spotlight on the dangers women face in India’s public spaces.

The incident spurred Supreet Singh of charity Red Dot Foundation to create the SafeCity app that encourages women across 11 Indian cities to report harassment and flag hotspots.

“We want to bridge the gap between the ground reality of harassment in public spaces and what is actually being reported,” said Singh, a speaker at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference on Thursday.

India, Harassment
Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi. VOA

The aim is to take the spotlight off the victim and focus on the areas where crimes are committed so action can be taken.

Dimly lit lanes, crowded public transport, paths leading to community toilets, basements, parking lots and parks are places where Indian women feel most vulnerable, campaigners say.

Stigma attached to sexual harassment and an insensitive police reporting mechanism result in many cases going unreported, rights campaigners say.

Apps are promising

But apps like SafeCity, My Safetipin and Himmat (courage) promise anonymity to women reporting crimes and share data collected through the app with government agencies such as the police, municipal corporations and the transport department.

Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi
People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India. VOA

“The data has helped in many small ways,” said Singh of the Red Dot Foundation. “From getting the police to increase patrolling in an area prone to ‘eve-teasing’ to getting authorities to increase street lighting in dark alleys, the app is bringing change.”

Also Read: Women And Girls In Poor Countries Are Using Contraceptives More: Report

Police in many Indian cities, including New Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh, are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints, promising prompt action.

“Safety apps are another such strategy that could be applied by women but I worry that by giving these apps, everyone else, most importantly the state, should not abdicate its responsibility towards public safety,” Khan said. (VOA)