Around the world, finding a job is much tougher for women than it is for men. The current global labour force participation rate for women is a little below 47 percent. And for men, it’s 72 percent. When someone asks what’s holding back a woman in the workplace, it’s very difficult to conclusively answer because there are no real data points or research reports in place.
Levelling the playing field is Kalaari Capital’s CXXO initiative — a vibrant community of women leaders championing the next generation of women founder-CEOs for inclusive growth and opportunities.
The State of Women Entrepreneurship Survey 2023 aims to collect primary data about the challenges and biases women face every day. The survey and report will be used to create programmes to support women in all walks of life and design future policies. Responses will remain confidential.
Fighting barriers and opportunities ahead
Despite modest gains in representation over the last eight years, women are still dramatically underrepresented in boardrooms and leadership positions.
Only seven out of 100 entrepreneurs in India are women and of them, nearly half get into business out of necessity rather than aspiration, says a November 2020 report by the Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE), a gender research and advocacy organisation.
Women who run their own businesses face multiple difficulties — the biggest of these is gender bias with respect to financial access. Studies show that their loan applications are more likely to be delayed or rejected. Gender bias and social norms are a few other hindrances.
The need of the hour
Female entrepreneurship is particularly critical for India because it catalyses women’s participation in the labour force, at a time when India’s Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLFPR) is at a historic low. Boosting women’s participation in entrepreneurial activity can give the required push the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem needs to spur creativity and innovation among many other aspects.
While the need to break barriers is widely recognised, there is still a long road ahead for women to overcome conventional norms and challenges. Such a push requires creating a nurturing ecosystem that acts as an enabler.
Vani Kola, founder and managing director of Kalaari Capital, an organisation that has empowered several visionary entrepreneurs adds, “We should embrace equity, not just because it is the right thing to do morally, but economically as well. It is the right choice for the economy and the country. Female representation continues to be under-addressed both in entrepreneurship as well as senior leadership roles, and CXXO’s mission is to level the playing field for women in technology and support entrepreneurs through capital, coaching and community. This survey is a step in that direction that will provide empirical evidence and further our cause supporting women in leadership positions.”
Conquering unconscious bias
Even the best-intentioned people have unconscious bias. And working environments are full of biases that crop up every once in a while.
This particular survey is important for several reasons. It will provide powerful insights into the experiences and perspectives of female employees, which can help employers identify and address any issues or barriers that may be preventing them from reaching their full potential. Additionally, it will also help employers measure and track progress towards achieving gender diversity and equality in the workplace.
Kalaari Capital’s CXXO has thrown light on the fact that women leaders are paramount for a thriving startup ecosystem. This programme is fighting all odds to ensure more opportunities for women to enable inclusive growth.
Identifying unconscious biases, creating best practices and strategies for fostering a more inclusive and equitable work environment for all employees, are all crucial for designing inclusive policies and socio-economic development.