Purnima – The Story of India’s Self Made Women Entrepreneurs

Woman? W-itemized? Weak? Well not any longer!

India, the country where the very essence of being a woman meant living in the shadows of men, the man being their father, brother or husband. However now, the scenario is different and better; ways have been paved for women in the field of science, technology and entrepreneurship, by women themselves.

New chapters are being written by them, each better than the last. We’re no longer the submissive ladies chained in patriarchal customs, we’re busy developing ourselves, becoming masters in whatever we do.

‘Purnima’, I’d like to call these women. Purnima in Hindi means the full moon and a full moon describes beauty, grace and gorgeousness that flows after completing a full circle. Over the years we’ve conquered our fears and overpowered the traditions that said we were meant to stay back home and cook. It’s time for a reality check and also time for you to excavate into details of ‘India’s Self-made Purnimas’. These three women, mentioned below, are the ones who understood that being a woman is a sign of strength and they chose to outshine men, thus being called India’s best self made entrepreneurs.

  1. Richa Kar – Comfortable yet sensuous lingerie wouldn’t have been available online in India had Richa not thought of this great idea to sell lingerie online. Her store, Zivame, is one of the best online lingerie stores, making her India’s best known and self made entrepreneur. She understands that the thing women need is a comfortable and sensuous and she has all her focus set in the direction. Without a quirk of doubt, Richa is India’s greatest Purnima, shining her way out.
  2. Falguni Nayar – Nykaa’s CEO, Falguni Nayar, is the incredible woman behind India’s makeup sensation. A store that sells makeup accessories from tip to toe, Nykaa is her endeavor to provide a beautiful outlook to women, a sensation in itself. Falguni Nayar recognized the makeup needs of women, and provided everything under one name. She’s definitely a star and we need to applaud her for her incredible work.
  3. Suchi Mukherjee – A fashion freak, Suchi chose to provide women with a fabulous collection of clothing that have been streamlined for the sober and glamorous occasions. Presenting a fantabulous line of clothing under the name Limeroad, this woman has given the finest collection to Indian women who have a special affinity for fashion.

All of these women, including a few more are creating milestones in their respective fields and their success is a reminder for all those who’re still struggling that there is nothing that can hold you back if you’re working to be successful and independent.

I’m reminded of another amazing woman, Indra Nooyi, the lady who said, “We have been in this revolution for decades. First it was just getting entry into this boy’s club… We clawed our way into this revolution at workplace, then we needed parity at pay. Not yet there, we are still fighting for that. We have to have equal treatment. We need to be treated as equals. I hate to be called ‘honey’ and ‘sweetie’ and ‘babe’. That has to change.”

Are we bringing about any change? Well certainly!

4 Home Business Ideas For Women

Women everywhere want to spend quality time at home with their young children and still feel accomplished in their careers. They want the freedom and luxury of being able to be home and have their own lives, yet still make money. That’s why finding some home business ideas for women can be difficult. Are there specific opportunities for women? Or is it a more even playing field online and from home? We’ll look at these questions as well as finding legitimate ideas for women starting their own home businesses.

Here are 4 home business ideas for women. These are just a few ideas out of many that are out there, so make sure you do your own research as well, so you can find the right opportunities for yourself. But, let me save you some time with 4 solid ideas you can start with right now.

1) Do what you know best with where you are now. Many small home business ideas start with where you are at right now. Look at the careers you have before starting a family, and research what you can do from home in those fields. You might find similar opportunities in related fields as well. It’s important to spend time researching what you are qualified to do, as well as what you can learn to do if you have the time to study on your own.

2) Find your niche and make your presence. Once you have figured out your home business ideas take the next step and make your presence online. If you are working with or for someone else, do your best and make an impression. If you are working for yourself, get your foot in the door. You can build your online presence around a website or blog that caters to your unique strengths. You can generate buzz through local directories, news websites, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and by visiting blogs and forums related to your niche, both professional and social. Get yourself out there.

3) Sideline ideas that could work. It’s also beneficial to look at your hobbies and tasks that you do daily, things not connected to your former work or profession. Are you an amazing cook? A skilled craftswoman? Into photography or web design? Are you known for your charitable works? Market yourself. Get involved in your community. You might just see more and more people requesting your services. You can make income from your hobbies and you may just find a new career path, one you can do from home.

4) The 21st Century. More and more home business ideas go to the internet each and every day. More and more opportunity for women is found online. You can start a blog, make it semi-popular by social networking, and add advertising (i.e. Google AdSense) and make money. You can become a freelance writer about any subject at all at sites like Elance.com. You can affiliate market other people’s products, and even conduct online research for companies. The opportunities for online work is limitless. Take your skills and find something that works for you.

These are just a few tips for you to get started immediately. Whether you renew your former career from home or venture onto something new, there are plenty of home business ideas for women out there, get started now!

Harnessing Our Strength As Women

In Africa, women are expected to play their roles behind the scene. Roles that include ensuring that the home is clean, meals are prepared, little ones are taken care of, laundry is sorted and so on.

These roles rarely vary among daughters and wives except for the marital duty the wife owes her husband and the daughter who has to attend to her education which some wives also do. Let’s note that in the typical rural setting, the girl-child may not have the opportunity to attend school instead she probably goes to the farm or any other duty assigned by her parents.

To get all these done, the woman is usually first to wake up and last to go to bed. She works from dawn to dusk hoping to have some minutes to spare just to put her feet up. She shuffles to do the chores, take care of the children and attend to her husband. All of these she does while trying to maintain her sanity, sometimes forgetting to take care of herself.

If she has a husband who feels a woman’s place is in the kitchen and the bedroom, then she is sure he will never raise a finger to help. Instead he puts his feet up reading a newspaper, watching the TV, browsing through his phone or even chatting with a friend or two while chilling with a cool drink.

When a child expresses himself or herself by crying due to a mischief from another child, hunger pangs or the need for an item that is beyond his reach or for some reason that one can’t wrap his fingers around; some husbands rather than raise a helping hand, either ignores the cry until the woman hears and rushes to attend to the need of that child or simply calls for her to hasten up.

Though women are fashioned to be nurturers but should this be done at their detriment?

Kudos to the great brothers, husbands and fathers who are always there playing their roles in assisting women in their lives and ensuring that the duty of keeping the home front smooth does not become a back-breaking task for these women. You are the best. Please keep it up. And for those who do otherwise, it’s not too late to start helping out. It will surely come as a surprise but on the positive side, a right-thinking woman will appreciate you more for these gestures.

How can women in whatever situation they find themselves improve their lifestyles? How can they harness their strength to better our lot?

First, time management. Truth be told, there is always something to be done in the home but there is the need to learn how to manage time. There is the need to set out time in between getting everything done for rest – a sort of me time.

Prioritize – know the time each duty takes to be done and work out a time to rest. This will definitely not be easy especially if the woman has to go to work or do school runs in between managing the home. If there is need to work a time-table, please do. This is for good at the long run.

Secondly, division of labour: If there are younger siblings or children in the home, they should be assigned to roles. This eases the stress. Children should learn to pick up after themselves. For example, when they play with toys, let them know that they have to return them to the toy box or toy corner or wherever it is the toys are kept when they are done. In doing this, you don’t have to pick up after them and that is minus one job to be done.

As children grow, they need to learn simple tasks like cleaning up after themselves, laying the bed in the morning, flushing the toilet. This might seem like small tasks but imagine been stressed up already and still having a lot to be one then you have to leave whatever it is you are doing just to attend to that. They need to learn to set the table and cleanup when the meal is over. Overtime they need to learn to clean the home. Sometimes a measure of firmness is needed to get these done but it’s all for good.

We can use this strength we have to achieve great things. Now, when time is being properly managed, one can get around to other things; not vain things but positive things like getting to read those books that have been on the bookshelf since they’ve being bought but have never being read, achieving that goal that has been set for a longtime, writing that proposal for the business idea you want to go into and so on.

All these can be achieved. Gone are the days when women were relegated to the background. Now, women are achieving feats that were previously thought impossible. Can you dare to be that woman? Can you dare to be a role model for your children and the upcoming generations? Can you dare to leave your footprint on the sands of time?

My answer is YES! I can be that woman.

Kudos to all women especially those who are saddled with so many responsibilities and are not appreciated enough, I salute you. You are awesome, you are great and you are beautiful inside out. Keep being the strong woman who you’ve always been.

Women Empowerment in World

Women empowerment in world cannot be considered as a uniform issue and treated with stereotyped measures. In different parts of the world the issues are different and therefore the needs are also different. We need to understand that women empowerment is not equivalent to a motorway where administration of stereotyped fast-track programmes will bring quick change. Making some women gain power in the present structures or making a few more to make informed choices in their life is not really changing the situation on the ground. The underlying conditions which affect women in the form of bias and discrimination exist in the social fabric of the society and therefore addressing the issue in a limited and stereotyped manner is not going to help women empowerment in world. What we need today is sweeping changes in the structures of society which are inherently biased against women.

Women empowerment in world: The waves of change

Now time has come to look women empowerment in world as a movement for change which gathers strength by creating and generating new structures and systems in the society which are gender neutral and which promote gender equality. In fact time has come when women empowerment in world should be considered something more than the usual activities involved with providing small scale project loans to women or which supports small-scale business activities to help women acquire money and the imagined power of money. This change in thinking is necessary because the hard fact is that money cannot act as a magic wand and wish away overnight the social norms, institutions and relationships that are part of our lives and which are primarily responsible for the wide scale discrimination and bias against women. Poverty reduction is not the beginning and the end of women empowerment in world. We need to acknowledge that it is just one of the major goals. On the other hand the real question to ask is whether women empowerment in world has been able to change the authoritarian structures behind the social norms, institutions and relationships which openly propagate gender bias and discrimination. The development model of empowerment does not answer this question satisfactorily and therefore the developmental model should be considered as one of the tools of empowerment rather than the beginning and the end of empowerment. The time has come when women empowerment in world needs to expand into the consciousness of women and awaken the power within each and every woman. Awakening this power should not be for just making money or gaining limited power in the present biased structures of societies but it should act as a catalyst for creative and generative change in all spheres of life. Such awakening of internal power and consciousness for creative and generative action will give birth to agents of real change. Through numerous pathways and diverse solutions these agents of change can bring genuine transformation in the society for the betterment of women and the whole of humanity. The process might look slow in the beginning but definitely the fire will catch on and the results will be visible in the long run. We need to accept the current reality that women empowerment in world is still a farfetched idea. To bridge the gap between the vision of women empowerment in world and the current reality of gender bias and disparity, we need action at local level as well as the global level. This can be only achieved through increased participation of women at ground level leading to their greater role in the decision making bodies at local level. This in turn will lead to greater economic participation of women, enhanced economic opportunity for women and socioeconomic and political empowerment of women. A ground level movement which gets entrenched in the local area and which grows in the local area will naturally act as a catalyst for enhanced educational attainment, better health care and nutrition and overall well being of women in that area.

Women Empowerment in world: Focusing on the ground level but simultaneously thinking globally

Women empowerment in world should be considered as an ongoing journey rather than a destination to reach. To do so we need to leave the typical baggage, assumptions and stereotypes that is currently followed in the name of gender and development. It is important to gauge the actual experiences of women on ground and find if it matches with the changes that are sought by the various programmes that are being implemented as part of the women empowerment programmes. As I said before the time has come for real and genuine change and in this regard challenging the existing institutionalized inequalities of an established gender order is very important. This challenge should be creative in nature in the sense that it lays foundations for generation of new structures based on gender equality. We must agree to the fact that women in different parts of the world have different needs and issues to be addressed and therefore one-size-fits-all interventions should be avoided. There are differences between countries and we need to acknowledge this fact and work by keeping these differences in mind. Development of empowerment models which suit to a specific situation is the need of the hour and by implementing programmes as per the need of the different countries, societies and localities we can make a profound impact at the ground level. But the real change that we are seeking will only come when at the ground level women participate in a campaign which begins from their inner self and which spreads like a fire to bring creative and generative change. Such a campaign shall enhance the social, political and economic participation of women at the ground level with a purpose that envisions everlasting change in the direction of gender based equality. This movement and campaign will be far more powerful and responsive than bringing few women into politics as this will make the political structures and other institutions of the society to be more accountable and responsive to the needs of the women. The traditional structures and institutions will be forced to adopt and change so that they represent the truth of today which is nothing less than gender equality and equal rights for women.

Women Empowerment in world: Local campaigns based on lived experiences

The mass campaign for change should be the goal for women empowerment in world but for that the movement should take root at the ground level. Such a campaign or movement will only take roots at the ground level if it is based on the local issues and it touches upon the lived experiences of the women at a particular place or locality. The first step of such a campaign should be to address the basic inequality against women in the society that exists in any number of forms. Addressing local issues or needs which stems from this inequality in the society is the best way to begin a campaign. The focus should be to give solutions to the needs and issues of the women at the local level through their own leaders. This can be done in the form of constructive and creative pursuits like offering schools and training institutes to develop local leaders. These leaders can take the campaign forward in their area by working on the local structures which require change. The schools and training institutes can thus act as the seed for developing the next generation of leaders who can work within the current structures as well as create new structures for the larger benefit of women and humanity as a whole. Once this happens then we can slowly think about building structures in society based on gender equality. The newer approach to women empowerment should thus focus on lived experiences rather than stereotypes. The campaigns or movements which originate at the ground level should be based on this newer approach of developing local leaders who can galvanize constructive change. Once this happens then the campaign can naturally move to become regional, national and global collations for change.

Women empowerment in world: Gender inequality as the primary impediment in Empowerment of women

When we talk about the need for change we should also understand the need for such change. The constructive change should try to bring about a social order which is based on gender equality. We have to be aware of the fact that the issues of gender inequality and gender based discrimination are the primary reasons for beginning a grass root campaign. Gender equality should be the real purpose for any such grass root campaign. The truth is that gender inequality is a big impediment in the way of women empowerment around the world. Gender inequality can be seen in the society in overt as well as covert forms in rural and urban settings and this includes violence against women, discriminatory practices against women and issues of inadequate and restrictive reproductive health rights. Gender based equality can be achieved only if we tackle issues related to gender based discrimination and bias at every level.

Women empowerment in world: Lessening the burden on women

Gender equality campaigns should also address changes that are required to lessen the burden of women. For example finding solutions to issues related to combining the child-bearing, breastfeeding, child rearing needs of women along with their participation in the workforce can make the life of women less harsh. Here men should be encouraged to shoulder the responsibilities of raising a family and they should take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive behaviour, their social and family roles. Further the major goals of gender based equality should be to make women at the grass root level capable to act and enhance their decision-making capability in local settings. The galvanized action at the local level by women will help them to promote equal opportunity for themselves and this will also profoundly help in impacting policy changes for their own good. Further local level activism will help in redressing gender inequalities, elimination of harmful practices, attitudes and discrimination against women and girls. This will create a zero tolerance among public for discriminatory practices like the urge of son, unequal care for girl children, violence in all forms including female genital cutting, rape, incest, sexual violence and trafficking.

Women empowerment in world: Readdressing gender inequality

We can influence the larger systems and structures to respond to the need for social, cultural and legal changes by creating sufficient force and momentum from the grass root levels. The campaign at the grass root creates momentum which can influence the higher structures of the society. There can be number of ways in which the grass root campaign can be initiated. It depends upon the local issues. To give some examples, common issues that can be taken up through the grass root movement include taking up services to women victims of violence, prevention and counselling services against violence including telephone hotlines, addressing inequality in health programmes, programmes to educate women about reproductive and human rights, offer training in literacy, employment skills, legal rights, parenting, child health and social mobilization. Strengthening the capabilities of women by elimination of gender gaps in secondary education, increasing adolescents’ and women access to sexual and reproductive health information and services are other major areas to focus.

Women empowerment in world: Sexual and reproductive rights for women

As I said before, women empowerment in world should focus on personal issues at local levels and one of the main issues is about women sexuality. There are major concern areas when we talk of women sexuality in terms of issues like sexually transmitted diseases and sexual violation. Women empowerment in world which works at the local level should address these issues in depth. Women empowerment should provide a strong platform for women to exercise choices over their own sexual and reproductive lives. Women empowerment should address very strongly the issues related to male predation and it should create framework and information for recognizing and celebrating female sexuality both positive and pleasurable.

Women empowerment in world: Focussing on enhanced security for women

Another major issue that affects large parts of the world is human trafficking. This problem arises because of the weak structures at the grass root level whereby women are forced into circumstances which lead to their trafficking. Human trafficking takes place because of the appalling socioeconomic conditions prevailing in the local area. Trafficking of women and girls and violence against women are issues which require strong legal measures along with ground level action.

Women Empowerment in world: Violence against the girl child and women

When we talk of issues related to gender discrimination then one of the burning issues is violence against the girl child and women. This is a major problem in many parts of the world. The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child should become a must. In large parts of the world the girl child faces unending discrimination and is subjected to violence of many kinds. In conflict zones the violence against girl child is widely prevalent. There is hidden violence against girl child and women who stay at home where even their reproductive and sexual health rights are contravened. This deprives the basic human dignity and is life-threatening. Even the survival of the girl child and her coming into the world itself is becoming a big question mark because of sex selective abortion of the female child and if she takes birth and manages to survive then she lives a deprived childhood with genital mutilation, lack of basic education, marriage at 12 years and rape. By the age of 12 the girl child already becomes infected with deadly sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and AIDS. This is a bitter truth in many parts of the world. Even if the child passes this period then still she enters into a life of drudgery as an unpaid servant of the house or in many cases turn out to prostitution. A few lucky go to school and college and manage to get education eventually to get married to someone and life a live of a house wife. Then the ordeal starts all over again for a life time with domestic violence and the burden of running a home without even the basic health, nutrition or reproductive rights in sight. Now these are issues which are actual ground realities and we need actions against them.

Women empowerment in world: Building from ground up to create global collations

The solution to gender based discrimination can only come if we work from the grass root level and create a campaign which moves upward. Once the women empowerment movement catches fire from the local area then it can move on to the regional, national and global levels with wide range of issues. This movement can then address discrimination and violence in many forms and cater to the needs for improving economic and political opportunity for women. Reducing discrimination against women in employment and earnings, reducing gender inequalities in property and inheritance and increasing women share of seats in regional and national government bodies can be the other issues which can be taken up as the campaign grows from locality to region and to national and international levels. As I said before at these levels improving women security by significantly reducing the incidence of violence against girls and women should be a major area of focus.

Women empowerment in world: Work at the Macro level

Women empowerment is distinct aim as we are still struggling with gender based discrimination, inequality and lack of fairness for women in every sphere of life. In this regard the need of the hour is to understand the practical realities of discrimination and inequality and then keeping that as the basis develop social policies for affirmative action through public debate, legal arrangements and legislation. All this can happen at macro level provided we have created a sustainable campaign at the grass root level. Without that everything will be superficial and policies and laws will only remain in paper.

Women Empowerment in world: The role of the state in empowerment of women

The role of the state in the empowerment of women is far less than satisfactory but the only way to galvanize the state is to start from the ground level and then move upwards. Creating a mass movement at the ground level by focusing on local issues can help us to shake the system and make it more responsive to change. At this level we can touch upon various issues that need to be urgently addressed. Among them we have new forms of violence against women that have emerged whereas freedom from violence that was previously made has eroded. Women empowerment in world should focus on these issues and make states more responsive to them. It is a known fact that states are not taking enough measures to ensure gender equality and protection of women human rights is not an important issue anymore. This can be reflected by the glaring gap between the international standards that has been set and the national laws, policies and practices that are implemented by individual states. In this regard even the role of UN as a coordinating agency also needs to be reinforced. But again the crux of the story is simple. If we want to make an impact at the state level and the international level, we need to start working first at the local level and then move to the regional, state and then the international levels. Top down approach is not going to pay much and in fact the work should start from down at the ground level and then move upwards.

Women empowerment in world: How to make the present structures accountable and responsive

We need to understand that the priority is not for increasing the numbers of women in top level organizations or structures or government bodies but the real change should come by making these organizations and structures responsive to the ground realities and thus positively influence their way of doing the business. The gender equality action plans signed by the governments and international organizations are actually not implemented. In this kind of scenario direct action through mass mobilisation at the ground level by focusing on the local issues and local leaders is the best way to create necessary heat and pressure for making the top level organizations and structures to respond and change. There are many instances around the world where the state apparatus clamps down on rights and silences the voice of dissent. Here the priority is lost for implementing laws and regulations that promote rights particularly that of women. Such authoritarian structures can be shaken for change only through grass root movements where real and genuine people come together as change leaders. This should happen in a creative and constructive atmosphere rather than on a destructive agenda. All grass root social organizations including men and women need to work together and finally hold governments to account for social justice by creating a grass root force which shall make the government to respond to the needs. Other impediments to progress at the macro level include lack of quality data disaggregated by sex, paucity of financial and technical resources for women programmes at both international and national levels, and confusion about the relative merits of gender mainstreaming versus women focused programmes. Behind these factors lie the questions of political clout and commitment.

Women Empowerment And Entrepreneurial Revolution

Women have generally been looked upon with contempt for centuries with various strictures inflicted upon them reducing their status to the mercy of men.

They have been confined to hearth and home. But now the perspective of the society has changed and a general thinking to work for the emancipation and empowerment of women is being developed so that they could also contribute in the advancement and welfare of the society.

Women constitute almost 50% of the world’s population. According to the last official Nigerian census in 2006, women comprised almost half of the then 140 million populace at 68.3million. United Nations updated figures for 2010 put Nigeria as Africa’s most populous, as well as most densely populated nation, at 155 million in 2010, the New-York based Centre for Reproductive Rights and the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) reported that 600,000 women die in the world annually and Nigeria accounts for 10% of this figure; 60,000 Nigerian women are dying annually due to pregnancy and child-birth related complications. In more comprehensible terms, the number translates to 164 women per day.

According to the Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, the latest Nigerian census revealed that women constitute 49.9% of the nation’s population; the under representation of women (2%) in the nation’s development processes in finance, business and investment fronts, renders 40% of the population inadequately positioned to contribute to the economic growth of the country.

As long as recorded history has lasted, so too has women’s oppression. To many people, it just seems natural that women are worse off, because of their smaller size or their capacity to bear children. Men comfort themselves with the thought that women need looking after. Not just the capitalist system to blame but also in feudal society, women occupied second place to men.

Early anthropologists began to speak of an earlier time when women, not men, ruled society.

The history of class struggles shows the continual effects of the “world historic defeat of the female sex” interweaved with and subordinated to class relations of exploitation.

The woman is an indispensable part of the family, for children are an economic necessity, but her role is a secondary one.

Women, though their economic activity was more centered on the home, played a large role in social life.

Why women are poor/oppressed

Women face many challenges both at home and in the marketplace when they decide to seek employment or engage in entrepreneurial activities.

Religion discouraged women status

Low literacy of women in the world: over 640 million of the women in the world are illiterates (UN Secretary General).

Amongst the world children, 121 million are not in school, most of them are girls.

Two-thirds of the world’s 774million illiterates adults are women (UNICEF statistics)

Girls represent nearly 60% of children not in school.

Educating a girl child is life saving for the world.

Women are more vulnerable to exploitation.

Uneducated girls are more at risk to be marginalized

Women’s rights and access to land, credit and education are limited; not only due to legal discrimination, but because more subtle barriers such as their work load, mobility and low bargaining positions in the household and community prevent them from taking advantage of their legal right.

Women status/employment- 90% of the world female labour are called housewives and excluded from the formal definition of economic activity.

Women work more hours than men and they are unpaid. The paid ones are paid 17% lower than men.

U.K, Germany, Italy, France- women are paid 75% wages. In Vietnam, Sri-lanka and Australia they are paid 90%

Women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn 10% of the income and own 1% of the property.

However, in some regions, women provide 70% of agricultural labour, produce more than 90% of the food and yet are nowhere represented in budget deliberations.

Women occupy only 24% of senior management positions globally, 34% of privately held businesses globally have no women in senior management. Managerial position- 39% in developed country, 15% in Africa, and 13% in Asia.

In Arab States, only 28% of women participate in the work force.

Women and society laws

First stage of discrimination begins with women when parents about. In Nigeria, most of the small-scale farming enterprises are owned by men. Women by nature have creative abilities, are blessed with ability to persist and pursue their desires, are good and patient nurtures of children, and this tenacity is usually transferred into business, are good innovators, have ability to develop passion for what they believe in.

Many researchers have shown that poverty is a malady that incapacitates its victim economically and indirectly subject him/her to a state of destitution, voicelessness, powerlessness and even violence (World Bank 2000; Okojie, 2002) Unfortunately, the most affected sex by the above incapacitation are women and children. Statistics show that women are poorer than men. The UNDP (2008) estimated that, about 70% of the world-poor are women. Women are poorer because they are more vulnerable economically.

The findings of Thane (1978), Showalter (1987) and Lewis Piachered (1987) cited in Magaji’s Introduction to Project Evaluation (2004) showed that women have been the poorest sex throughout the 20th Century and have formed a substantial majority of the poor since poverty was first recognized. On why women are the poorest sex, the physical strength of women and various challenges limit them to specific soft duties making it difficult to be enterprising.

Entrepreneurship development therefore is a crucial tool for women’s economic empowerment.

The benefits derivable from empowering the women folk are farfetched, starting with family advancement and eventually touching on the national and global economic advancement.

If women are empowered to do more and be more, the possibility for economic growth becomes apparent; eliminating half of a nation’s work on the sole basis of gender can have the detrimental effects on the economy of that nation. It is the nation that blends the strengths of women and men that will lead the world in development (Kiyosaki 1993) in the field of agriculture and other sectors.

A study found that of fortune 500 companies, “those with more women board directors had significantly higher financial returns, including 53 percent higher returns on equity, 24 percent higher returns on sales and 67 percent higher returns on invested capital (OECD, 2008).” This study shows the impact women can have on the overall economic benefits of a company. If implemented on a global scale, the inclusion of women in the formal workforce (like a fortune 500 company) can increase the economic output of a nation.

Entrepreneurship or investing is not an exclusive reserve of any gender. Both women and men generate the same result provided they follow the principles of investment. Kiyosaki (1993) proves with statistical data in Unites States, that women are better investors than men. Also, a study of National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC), found that women- only clubs achieved average annual returns of 32% since 1951 versus 23% for men-only investment clubs. The verdict is; women know how to handle money and can be greater entrepreneurs than men if the various obstacles to development is removed or minimized.

Furthermore, entrepreneurship will give women opportunities of owning businesses, thereby increasing their personal wealth. Women’s entrepreneurship will of course generate the needed employment in developing economies in Africa and bring in the long excluded population of women into the labour force thereby empowering them.

The best way to fight poverty and extremism is to educate and empower women.

The Limitations holding back women from achieving much like men in entrepreneurship development.

Finance

Manpower and Education

Culture and Tradition

Technology

Erroneous Ideas about Women

Entrepreneurial Attitude

Gender inequality

How Did Women Make Money In 1887?

Mrs. M.L. Rayne’s 1887 book, What Can A Woman Do? provides a fascinating look at how Victorian women could make money in the 1880s. It’s rich with information and vignettes that show what was possible for working women some 120 years ago. The opportunities for enterprising women were greater than most of us imagine.

The book is subtitled “Her Position in the Business and Literary World”. A sizable section is dedicated to women poets but it is the business opportunities for women that are most intriguing. Rayne looks at careers for women as well as a variety of ways women could make money on their own.

A chapter is devoted to women in the legal profession. The author notes that there were some ninety women practicing law in the United States in the 1880s, most of whom had graduated from the University of Michigan, the first U.S. university to admit women to its law school. In an early version of networking the author suggests that readers contact one of the female attorneys she mentions and ask them for advice on pursuing a legal career.

There is also a chapter about women in medicine. The author writes that Europe was far ahead of the United States in opening its medical schools to women. In the US, a medical school for women was opened in Boston in 1848. In the 1880s close to half of Boston University’s medical school students were female and Rayne lists four other US medical schools that admitted women.

Other occupations that are discussed in the book include stenography and typing; wood engraving; nursing; telegraphy; and government work. There is much discussion of wages and earning potential in the book. In the chapter on telegraphy, a profession for which there were actually specific educational programs, Rayne writes about the income disparities between men and women operators. Women were paid on average $500 per year while men earned an average annual salary of $840.

Rayne’s feminist bent extends beyond wage disparities. She writes of how a woman’s work is never done. A man goes home to rest and read while a woman returns home to work and weariness. Clearly Rayne was a woman ahead of her time. Chapters are devoted to women as inventors and women of enterprise. She writes of women who received patents for their inventions and women who started their own businesses.

A number of the ways to make money discussed in the book are still popular today. Raising chickens, even in the city and suburbs, is becoming more popular. The book includes a chapter on raising poultry that will be of interest to backyard poultry enthusiasts. There’s also a chapter on making money with bee keeping, another increasingly popular hobby nowadays. Other perennial favorite money making opportunities discussed in the book include dressmaking, housekeeping, cooking (today we call ourselves caterers), and taking in boarders (nowadays we call it getting a roommate).

For those who thought that women first entered the workforce in the 1970s or no earlier than the days of Rosie the Riveter, Rayne provides an eye opening account of women’s first forays into the working world. Whether it’s a century old perspective on making money with your own enterprise or an eye-opening look at the early days of feminism, What Can A Woman Do sheds much light on the early days of women in the work force.

Women & Business Partnership – The Good, the Bad and the Synergy

Team sports prepare boys for the corporate model of business. Girls, however, typically play closely with one or two friends. What great preparation for entrepreneurial partnership! So it is fitting, as women continue to start businesses in record numbers, that many are finding partnership is a comfortable format. In fact, business partnership works for women coming from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences including those tired of hitting the corporate glass ceiling, stay-at-home Moms, and women who want to turn their passions and their social connections into business ideas.

Partnership brings a wide variety of benefits including a sense of connection and someone to cover when you go on vacation. On the other hand, many partnerships end in crisis and conflict. To avoid partnership failure, your partnership needs to possess the following seven components of positive partnership.

Shared Values. Partners need a sense of shared standards regarding what is desirable, undesirable, good, and bad. These values will guide partners’ actions, judgments, and choices. Values, which often carry considerable emotion, may range from valuing family, prosperity, ambition, a work ethic, or a political persuasion. In addition to helping partners make congruent decisions, shared values serve to keep partners united.

Different (Complementary) Skills and Traits. Successful partners will possess different (complementary) skills and traits. The broader the partners’ range of skills, the clearer the division of their labor (and power) can be. It may be easy to distinguish the marketing person from the technical person in a business but other necessary variables are often not as easy to see. Michael Gerber’s classic book “The E-Myth” explains that a business owner needs to play three roles, Entrepreneur – the creative visionary; Manager, the administrator who brings planning, order and predictability; and Technician – the craftsperson. Partnerships have a distinct advantage in that two or more invested people are available to perform the three necessary roles.

Sense of Equity. Equity occurs when the rewards of a relationship are proportional to what each side perceives as his or her contribution. Strangers and casual acquaintances maintain equity by keeping track of the benefits they exchange. However, in long-term and more committed relationships it is not healthy to keep track. Instead, a sense of equity should be established. A perception of inequity (I am giving more then I get) takes a tremendous toll on a partnership.

Growing Together. From the moment we are born until the day we die, we are in the process of growing and changing. Partners and their partnerships are continuously undergoing this process of change. However, we are often not aware of the changes we’re experiencing. And, sometimes change is viewed as a threat to the status quo. Successful partners embrace change and growth, knowing that this attitude benefits both their individual and shared professional identities.

Proactive Conflict Management Strategies. Competing and avoiding are not effective conflict management strategies for partnership. Instead, successful partners will use proactive and strategic approaches to conflict management such as accommodation, compromise and collaboration to resolve their differences.

Shared Vision. Partners need a shared vision or plan for the future. Vision is what determines and expresses where an organization wants to go and how it intends to get there. A shared vision allows partners to focus on their goals and the methods they will use to achieve those goals. When partners hold different visions they become discouraged, overwhelmed, and disconnected. In order to create and effectively benefit from a shared vision, four tasks are necessary: creating the initial vision, translating that vision into the necessary physical actions, articulating and selling the vision to others, and holding true to the essence of the vision when reality changes the plans.

An Exit Strategy. It has been said that a graceful exit is proof of a successful venture. Without an exit strategy in place partners can be faced with making crucial decisions at a time when they were least levelheaded. An exit strategy is a shared sense of when and how an alliance will end and one should be included as the end-point in a business plan. However, while planning for the end may be a critical aspect of owning a business, it is also one of the most neglected. Exits are easy to avoid when the issue is not pressing and raising the issue might sour the deal or suggest a lack of trust. Four questions should be addressed when considering an exit plan: what events might trigger an end to the partnership; how will the business be valued at the end; which options for future ownership are acceptable; and what post-alliance ties and restrictions, such as non-compete clauses, need to be included.

When you enter into a partnership that is strong in these seven components you have the potential to create synergy and reap some amazing benefits. True synergy comes about when two (or more) people work together to create results that would have been unobtainable independently. In a synergistic partnership 2+2>4 and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Got A Business Idea But No Money? Here Are 5 Tips On Funding A Women Owned Business

More women are leaving the corporate world to become entrepreneurs. For the past two decades, majority women-owned firms have continued to grow at around two times the rate of all firms. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, the number of majority women-owned businesses increased 42% between 1997 and 2006.

One of the concerns faced by a woman business owner is finding the money to start or grow her business. While some women-owned businesses are funded through a small nest egg, others may turn to additional means of finance.

Here are 5 tips on funding a woman business start-up.

Borrowing From Family And Friends

This is one of the most common ways to fund a new business. Your family and friends are more likely to lend you their money if they are convinced by your business plan and idea. Borrowing money from people you know is a cost-efficient approach as you may not be required to pay extra fees or interests. However, it could potentially lead to strained relationships if you are unable to repay the money. Some individuals believe that they are automatically entitled to a piece of the business in return for the money loaned. Any stipulations associated with the “loan” should be put in writing to avoid any future misunderstanding.

Some women business owners are aware of the tension that can potentially arise from borrowing from family and friends. If you are one of them, why not ask your family or friends to help out in running your business such as taking orders, promotions, delivery and so forth.

Credit Cards

Small business owners reportedly use several credits cards to pay for expenses. This type of funding is expensive and risky. Failure to make repayments can jeopardize your personal credit. If you want to resort to this means of funding, make sure you can pay off your card before the interest kicks in.

Personal Loans

Banks are usually quick to approve loans less than $25,000 based on personal credit. If you need a few thousand dollars to spend on equipment or inventory, a personal loan is an ideal way of funding. The interest rate is less than that of a credit card. You will still need to submit a business plan to support a personal loan application.

Business Loans

You’ll need to provide collateral or guarantee in addition to a business plan or financial statements when applying for a business loan. The screening process is more rigorous. Business loans are typically available from $25,000 onwards. If you are using the equity of your home to get a business loan, you may be putting your home at a risk of foreclosure if you fail to meet your monthly repayments. Understanding all of the details regarding this type of loan is vital to protect the ownership of your home.

SBA Loans

When a larger loan is needed to acquire a building or an expensive piece of equipment, there are business loan programs for women provided by Small Business Administration (SBA). Please note that SBA only acts a guarantor but does not offer loans to small businesses. SBA reviews loan applications by borrowers. If a loan application is eligible, SBA issues a commitment letter on behalf of the applicant. This letter shows the willingness of SBA to guarantee the loan, which helps to speed up the loan approval by a lender.

There is an inherent risk of funding any business activities, no matter what type of funding you choose. The key is not to borrow too much to the extent that you cannot meet the monthly repayments from the income of your business.

5 Traits of Successful Women in Business

There was a time not so long ago when it was considered rare to find women in business. Today, more and more women are empowering themselves, starting businesses, and leveling the playing field with the men of the business world. Most women in business share common traits that help them become and remain successful. Below are a few of those traits.

Setting and Achieving Goals

Almost all successful women in business share the common trait of setting goals and then achieving those goals. Goals consist of anything you intend on doing and that you will strive to meet. By setting clear goals for yourself, you will give yourself a vote of confidence that helps to improve your overall business sense and drive.

Keeping Priorities Straight

It’s all too easy to get excited about something that leads you off the track of your goals. By keeping your priorities in order, you will keep your path leading to your ultimate goals. If you start to sway or stray from the path you are on, then you could run the risk of losing focus and eventually missing out on opportunities.

Time Management Skills

Smart women in business have great skills when it comes to managing their time. If you dedicate too much time to any one thing, other things get neglected. Dividing your time between the goals of your business will help you meet your goals more efficiently and within a reasonable amount of time. Great time management skills go a long way to help you work on the tasks that need you the most.

Overcome Challenges

Women who decide to become part of the business world need to overcome unique challenges. As a woman, the world is still biased and will not treat you fairly in a lot of instances. You are often forced to prove yourself where a man may not need to. You need to remain strong and capable, while also staying emotionally in line with yourself. By making yourself aware of challenges before they take place, you put yourself at an advantage over other businessmen and women. Every challenge you pass is another step closer to making your mark.

Take Time to Relax

Every once in a while, it’s good for a woman to take time out to pamper herself. Go to a spa, have a bubble bath, or simply take time off to spend with family or take a vacation if you need to. A little rest and relaxation can go a long way to recharging your batteries to take on new work challenges.

Women in business have many unique challenges that they must overcome in order to be successful. The traits above are some things that almost every successful business woman possesses. By knowing what these traits are, you can work toward making them part of your daily routine, and you will quickly notice some big things happening on your horizons as a business professional. When you’re ready to take on the world, do not hesitate, and move forward with the confidence you know is within you.

Best Business Ideas for Women In the Modern World

It’s no longer a man’s world out there. We live in a world where men and women alike rule the world; where women can be who and what they want to be without prejudice. According to the published report by the Catalyst, a non-profit membership association increasing opportunities for women and business, women make up the 7.6% of the Forbes 500 top earners and 46.7 % of the American workforce. Here are some of the best business ideas for women you should consider when thinking of having your own business.

In our world, men are not the only ones wearing the trousers; women nowadays are actively participating in making decisions for their careers, families, and their lives in general. For most women, starting a business can sometimes be gruelling. It’s hard to choose which idea can be great to start a business and a career. However, the most simple and unlikely ideas can sometimes become one of the best business ideas for women.

Any woman can be successful in any business she ventures into. Most women nowadays, like women who stay at home to watch over the kids, search for business opportunities that won’t compromise their responsibilities at home. For home-staying moms, you can start a home-based business.

Depending on your skills, capabilities, resources, and passion, a home-based business can be a great success. For those who are computer and internet-savvy, starting up a home-based virtual assistant service is one of the best business ideas for women. If you have a background in sales or customer service, you can start a call center facility. If you have superb writing skills, you can create a writing business, creating marketing and promotional write-ups for people and products.

Best business ideas for women include starting an interior design business, catering service, accessory-making and writing and PR services. A woman who enjoys baking, can start a pastry business; a woman who is passionate about beauty and wellness can start a spa or a beauty salon business. Depending on her skills, a woman who has technical dancing skills in ballet or musical talent like playing the piano, violin, guitar or any musical instrument can start her own dance/music class at home.

The list can go and on but before deciding which business idea to consider, take into account your capabilities, skills, budget, time, and the amount of passion that you can pour into that idea. Starting a business can sometimes be demanding, but with the right attitude and frame of mind, a start-up business can become a successful one.

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