“It’s not what they want you to believe in, it’s about what you want to believe in”
Uncontrollable events can bring tragic or brutality to one’s life but, controllable events can do wonders. Women entrepreneurs in India often are deprived of certain advantages which their male counterparts can easily acquire.
Allow me to build the case of a certain Geeta, who was in her final semester of diploma in mechanical engineering in 1980. A girl pursuing mechanical in itself might sound unconventional, more so in the 80’s era. Due to her diligence and ability, her father allowed her to pursue her dream. During the beginning of the final semester, she got stuck with an amazing business idea and, she spent several days on ideation and planning. Then she thought of asking her father for the seed funding. She ran to her father with her dream project that had the perfect idea, plans, execution, model & ROI as projected. She believed she could be in a position to have it all over in less than two years.
Her father listened to her without a blink. It reminded him of the way she used to persuade to get a chocolate or toy from a shop. After thoroughly explaining her business plan, she stood there waiting to hear a ‘yes’ from her father. Slowly, her dad got up from the chair, patted her and said, “Geeta, it sounds very good, but first get married, then you can start the business with the help of your husband.”
There came a sardonic feeling in her mind which she neither could spit out nor swallow in. Geeta, who was a spirited girl kept the suggestion as a bitter pill and, thought of a plot that she would negotiate with her husband on their very first night.
On that auspicious first night, Geeta walked into the room with a glass of milk distancing herself from her husband. Her husband, Krishna, was enthralled by her ambitious business ideas and, said, approaching her, “Sweetheart, let’s have a baby first, then you can work on your idea without any problem”. Like many other women, Geeta fell for the trap.
After her first child was born, she seldom could find any time for herself. About four years gone, the child started going school and Geeta thought that it was time to chase her dreams. But, she had to conceive for the second time to make a happy family of hum do hamare do (we two and our two). Another six years had gone by. Geeta realised that her life had been put in an auto-pilot mode. She also felt that she had not been in touch with the fundamentals for a long time and, was not in a position to start a business.
Entrepreneurship for Geeta seemed a distant dream. She learnt to stitch, to bake, and such other things. Geeta went ahead with this now and, turned those skills into a business gathering fund partly from her father and partly from her own savings. After some time, there was a need of external funding as well. Being a woman, she faced a lot of questions as what would happen to the business if her marriage turns awry? Will the business go into the ICU? Nobody asked about her future business plans. They were mostly concerned about her marriage. Heartbroken, she also started thinking about her marriage and children. Somewhere, she did believe, it’s a men’s world.
A lot of women like Geeta give up when it comes to their marriage or personal life. But, there are also women like Indu Jain, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Indra Nooyi, Vandana Luthra and many more, who chose to showcase their passion and ambition to the world. But, still, it’s a fact that a lot of female entrepreneurship fails to bloom because of the fear of the failure and societal pressure. But some women find a reason to keep their failures in the backseat and, drive all alone to be called someone they want to be. It takes courage and persistence to stand against the men’s world and make them believe that “yes, it’s hard to be called a successful female entrepreneur, but it is not IMPOSSIBLE”.
– Santa Santosh Avvannavar, CCO & Gauri Agarwal, Intern, QtPi Robotics
– Picture Credit: cofoundher.com