Our society does not encourage women to develop entrepreneurship skill even if they are capable of doing so
It needs a good education and fair degree of experience to land a job in reputed organizations, especially in international agencies. International jobs ensure better life and guarantees better future. But to get such jobs one is expected to have international degrees along with few years experience. Culture of nepotism discourages many to even apply for such jobs.
Deepty, one of my best friends, graduated from Japan and completed her Master’s degree from Australia with good grades. She was recruited as a Program Officer in a prominent international organization based in Australia, but her personal engagements brought her back to the home country.
With the experience of working in an international organization abroad almost for two years in the development field, she applied in more than 24 organizations within six months in Nepal. Only two of them shortlisted her. One demanded a recommendation from a person working there. The other promoted their own staff. Her dream to be settled here got shattered within a few minutes. But she did not give up. She started her own enterprise and is a leading women entrepreneur of Nepal today.
I am not trying to generalize but the truth is that the culture of favoritism has discouraged youths to seek better opportunity in international organizations. Various requirements, unfair competition and tiresome short-listing process demoralize applicants. Business or some form of an enterprise can be the best option for such people.
Women can make a difference in the business sector in their own way. With the constitutional provision of a representation of women in various sectors, women of Nepal have risen up. An overwhelming number of women were selected in local level elections last year. Nepali women have made history by taking up highest offices of head of the executive, judiciary and legislature. Bhawani Rana created history by becoming the first female president of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI). Her two decades long experience in the business sector enabled her to rise to this coveted position.
A number of women have started their own business ventures with their own initiatives. Women’s overwhelming involvement in media, banking sector, film industry, handicraft business, online shopping, fashion designing, travel and trek show they can make the difference. Their active and potential engagements in entrepreneurship not only contribute to job creation but also change the stereotyped role of women. Their involvement in entrepreneurship also helps ensure inclusive growth.
But despite this, women entrepreneurs still have a long way to go in Nepal. Women’s mobility toward leadership is restricted on several fronts. Existing patriarchal mindset of the society has set some norms and values for the female members of the family which they are supposed to follow without complaining. Majority of parents want their female members to be involved in either government service or in teaching profession. Very few want them to become entrepreneurs.
Women’s literacy has sharply increased in recent times. But they are yet to be empowered economically. Our society does not encourage them to develop entrepreneurship skill even if they are capable of doing so and even if many others have set the example by becoming successful entrepreneurs.
For long, business and entrepreneurship have been seen as male domain. Few women who tried to break this tradition involved themselves in family business or basic entrepreneurship sector such as child care centre, homemade products or garments. Inadequate financial resources, family barriers, lack of gender-sensitive policies and social bias against women have prevented them from aiming higher and achieving their goals. These barriers need to be broken.
Some have achieved tremendous success in the field of entrepreneurship. We need to encourage more and more women to make their mark in the business sector.
Entrepreneurship could be a lucrative field for women. It is the right time to step ahead for providing conducive and flexible workplaces for women to get into it. To achieve the sustainable development goals, the government should encourage women to get into entrepreneurship of their choice.
Women’s role is paramount for economic growth. Women entrepreneurs could play an important role in generating employment, financially empowering women and raising their living standards. Countries like Nepal should make a collective effort to practically empower them.
Number of programs can be introduced for mobilizing women in accelerating industrialization. By creating investment-friendly environment, Nepal can motivate women to come up with innovative business ideas which could alter the country’s future economic landscape.