Increasing economic opportunities for women is the key to accomplishing the vision for development set forth in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Women constitute 13.3 per cent (8 million) of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs in India, 82 per cent of them in micro-units run as sole proprietorships.
Studies suggest that 10 to 30 per cent of the enterprises registered as ‘women owned’ are not actually owned, controlled, or run by women. The pandemic has further worsened the situation and put women entrepreneurs at higher risk of business closure. Recent research by Microsave highlights that as many as 82 per cent of women-owned micro, small or medium enterprises (MSMEs) reported a decrease in their income, as compared to 72 per cent of male-owned enterprises. They face greater restrictions, decreasing demand, rising costs of inputs, inability to access markets, and an increased burden of care work at home, among other factors that severely affect their income. The story is no different for the startup sector. Funding for women-founded and co-founded startups in India fell by 24 per cent due to the impact of Covid-19.