Author: Avi Maheshwari, III year of B.S.W.,LL.B. from Gujarat National Law University
Jawahar Lal Nehru, the country's first Prime Minister, once said that 'when a woman moves forward, her family, her village and her entire nation moves forward.’ A woman plays a key role in not only theupliftment of herself and her family, but also the entire nation. Women empowerment is an ideal necessity for the proper development of our society, and the involvement of Women in Social Entrepreneurship is a crucial way in achieving that. Social Entrepreneurship is the kind of Entrepreneurship, i.e., the creation of businesses and ventures leading to the upliftment of both the consumers and the Entrepreneur, in which the Social Entrepreneur creates and implements ideas and products that are applied to any social cause. These Entrepreneurs create products and services that solve significant issues prevailing in the society affecting vulnerable communities.
A woman social entrepreneur is essential for society, especially in a predominantly orthodox society like ours, where women working and owning businesses is not acceptable by a considerable portion of the society. Women are bound by certain restrictions and are not allowed to work, let alone start a business of their own. A considerable part of society still believes that women should indulge only in household activities and leave working with the husband or the male member of the family. These orthodox thoughts of the society are contradicted if a woman works in entrepreneurship.
However, with changing times, many women have entered the world of entrepreneurship. They have created excellent products and provided services that have directly addressed society's critical challenges. These successful women have solved vital issues and challenges and inspired other women in their communities to stand up and make a change for their society. Anyone can be a social entrepreneur with an idea, execution, and vision for providing services to society.
In recent times, the number of women entrepreneurs has increased significantly. More and more women are taking up relevant roles to solve and bring changes in society. According to a research paper published by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the gender gap in social entrepreneurship is much smaller than the gender gap in entrepreneurship as a whole, suggesting that social entrepreneurship can be helped in increasing the participation of women in the economic and social activities.
This report also concluded that women-led social enterprises were more innovative than men-led social enterprises. Scientifically, women are more sensitive toward specific social needs, and such problems can only be addressed efficiently by those who are more sensitive towards it, or who share a passion for the issue.
Similarly, a report by the Brain Research Institute, UCLA, stated that women are more empathetic in nature, which was related to the fact that women are better at understanding the situation of the needy and the vulnerable people by stepping in their shoes. This understanding helps women channel through innovative ideas and solutions to the problems of the needy and the vulnerable communities.
Women-led enterprises usually have catered to a lot of the challenges faced by one of the most vulnerable communities in Indian society, women themselves. In many fields, like medical, child care, nutrition, skill development, education, and sanitation. Etc. Women of the community lack majorly in terms of proper access. Women-led enterprises address these issues, providing assistance to vulnerable women, and leading to the overall development of society.
Aditi Gupta started Menstrupedia, which educates women on the subject of Menstruation, which is treated as a taboo subject. Sheetal Mehta co-founded Shanti Life, which provides loans at low interests, while Sairee Chahal started Sheroes.in, which basically provides women looking for work resources and opportunities.
These organizations are run by women and have been very successful, not only in capital formation but also in providing women empowerment and the development of society. There still are a lot of challenges faced by these entrepreneurs, who are often subject to exploitation, are not provided enough financial and moral support from the society and the governments, the women entrepreneurs are often targeted by people with orthodox mindsets, who don't believe in women bringing a huge change in the society and, just like any social entrepreneur, they cannot prioritize profits over social welfare, which while has its advantages, has often stopped a pool of social entrepreneurs in pursuing their enterprise.
Involvement of women in Social Entrepreneurship is essential not only from an economic point of view but also for the benefit of society, especially the vulnerable and exploited communities. Promoting women's entrepreneurship is the need of the 21st Century to achieve and meet the development goals and empower women in society.