By Maya Palit
Although women comprised a mere 13.76 percent of 58.5 million entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs around the country are hoping that the Union Budget, set to be announced in February, will roll out schemes that will assist women by ensuring easier access to funding, loans and other banking policies, and promote women in technology.
A meeting of women entrepreneurs in Vishakhapatnam yesterday was meant to discuss the proposal of adding more benefits for women to Modi’s Stand Up Scheme (although assessments surrounding the one year anniversary of the Rs 500 crore Stand Up Scheme, launched last January by the Prime Minister, have pointed out its many flaws, including the fact that less than half the companies that applied were recognised as start-ups, and the total funding for start-ups had actually decreased over the year).
In in the larger scheme of things, women’s participation in the country’s workforce is still dismally low (incidentally, the gap in economic participation widened around the world in the last year, says this report by Oxfam). And according to a recent article in Bloomberg Quint, only 23.7 percent of Indian women, as opposed to 75 percent of men, are active in the workforce. And in urban areas, the figure is even lower, at 16 percent. So while the Ministry of Women and Child Development is expected to receive 20 per cent more funds than last year, which will be used to launch a new maternity scheme amongst other promised benefits, the inclusion of more women in the workforce is a vital area which deserves attention.