According to Sixth Economic Census released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women constitute around 14% of the total entrepreneurship i.e. 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs, noted the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu. Out of this, 2.76 million women constituting 13.3% of women entrepreneurs work in agriculture sector whereas 5.29 million women constituting more than 65% work in non-agriculture sector. The average employment in women-owned enterprises is meager 1.67.
He said further that empowerment of women is central to achieving the objective of inclusive, equitable and sustainable development and it is not only a national goal but also a global agenda. He was addressing the gathering after inaugurating the International Conference on ‘Empowering Women: Fostering Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainability’.
A recent World Bank report has revealed that women employers tend to hire mostly women. This may be partly because of the kind of businesses set up by women entrepreneurs, such as small tailoring unit, beauty and wellness saloon, etc. Many of such women-owned firms offer only meagreemployment at nominal rate of 1-2 person per unit, giving credence to the finding that large number of women entrepreneurs are micro-household enterprises supplementing their family income.
The Vice President said that it is beyond doubt that given the right opportunities and proper environment, women have excelled in different spheres of life. He also stressed on the need to create suitable conditions to facilitate and encourage women to have full, active and unhindered participation in social, economic, political and public life so that their potential is realized fully for the benefit of the society.
The Vice President said that lack of equal access to education & employment, inequalities in the labour market, rising sexual violence and unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work remain the key barriers to their advancement. Saying that gender disparity hinders women’s empowerment and their integration in mainstream, the Vice President argued for a major shift in our mindset which would lead to a positive attitude towards women and their role in society. The Vice President said that women's active participation in decision-making has a positive impact on education, health, nutrition, employment and social protection. Women’s empowerment has a multiplier effect not only on their own lives but also on the family and the society, he added