Insight on Development of Women Entrepreneurship in Nepal
Entrepreneurs are those who establish their business assuming all the risk and rewards of the venture on their own so that, many people in the locality can be employed. They play the key role in development and diversification of market with the innovation or modification of products and services. Entrepreneurs are known to be the sources of new ideas, innovators, and those who have creativity of thinking out of the box. Entrepreneurs are normal people but all normal people are not entrepreneurs.
J.A Schumpter defined women entrepreneur as, “Women who innovate, initiate or adopt a business activity.” Women entrepreneurship has a tremendous potential in empowering women and transforming society. It has been recognized as an important source of economic growth. Women entrepreneurs create new job for themselves and others, thus contributing to the solution to organization and business problem (Lalan Dwibedi, 2015).
From the Center for the International Enterprise to the Harvard Business Review, business experts have agreed for several years that the world needs to support the development of women entrepreneurs. Studies have shown that – when women gains access to their own financial freedom, they are lifted out of poverty, children begin to become healthier and the overall economic status of a country improves (Margarita Hakobyan, 2017).
Before talking about development we need to know why we need women entrepreneurs in upliftment country’s market:
- Economic Growth
- Dramatic Target for Poverty Reduction.
- Improved Innovation
Bushell (2008), Entrepreneurship for women is often seen as a journey out of poverty and a march towards equality. However in past, the women entrepreneurship in much of the developing world has gone little beyond informal business which ensures daily survival for women and their families. In Nepal, embedded structural and socio-cultural constraints challenge women entrepreneurship and make it hard for them to realize their potential as a leader.
Looking at the present scenario of the developed world, both male and female have equally established themselves as an entrepreneur. But the thing is different in developing countries, in context of Nepal, Nepalese women are not able to break the blockages that are stalling them to act on their own will. Nepal still follows the feudalism of cultural norms and beliefs which prevent women from being an entrepreneur. Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy task, it requires courage, intelligence, ideas, resources and support as well. However, women lacks the most is support as, – women are seen as the one who handles the household activities but not venture.
When country adopted a democratic political system in 1990, power came in the hands of people but still women entrepreneurs didn’t find easy path for their development. Hajuri Bista one of the forerunners in the arena of women entrepreneur says, “Even after democracy, I have seen many times aspiring women entrepreneurs breaking into tears in meeting due to unexpected hurdles and apathy from their family and their society.” “Why should be women engaged in business?” was a common mindset at that time, she adds.
In line with 1995 Beijing Declaration, Government of Nepal also adopted the rhetoric of women participation, and introduced various gender based initiatives, increased microfinance support systems, and created an opening for the introduction of gender policies and programmes in many government bodies and NGO. Measures to address gender specific barriers to women entrepreneurship include gender equity measures, such as equal access for both men and women to education and skill training in business management, which were legislated under 10th Five Year Plan (Bushell, 2008). That was the period when women empowerment movement took place, which marched more and more women to make contribution on economy of the country.
With the political change we got the 1st women entrepreneur of Nepal, Hajuri Bista. That was also the time when multiparty democracy system had just emerged in Nepal and opportunities were opening up. With continuous learning along with training and effort, Hajuri Bista started her pickle business. Therefore, what one should learn is that, wherever a person work, one should have knowledge in that sector as well as interest too. With the establishment of NGOs and INGOs working for women’s right and also with the change of political situation, it’s consequences lead to the changed landscape and involvement of women in business. However, the things were drastically different 20-25 years back.
Women entrepreneurs movement have come far but still has a long way to go. There are any issues that still need to be improved: access to finance, gender responsive policies, family barriers and destructing stereotypes about women entrepreneurs, says Pramila Rijal, president of Saarc Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC). From past few years, there are increasing number of women entrepreneurs who are promoting economic growth through their individual effort. It is still observed that women entrepreneurs have not reached critical mass to make impact on economic system.
There are umpteen problems even now, women face problem from their initial commencement of enterprise, says Barsha Shrestha, deputy chief executive officer at Clean Energy Development (Dhungana, 2014). Even if we look at the World scenario, there are only seven countries within equal participation of men and women in business. As a result, those are the developed and most successful countries. In most countries women owns fewer business then men and that’s the case in Nepal too.
As per the research conducted by FWEAN (Federation of Nepalese Women Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal) in total of 3,000 registered women entrepreneurs exists in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts. This record is indicating that women entrepreneurs are not flourishing their talent and yet to go a long way. FWEAN is an apex body of Women Entrepreneurs’ Nepal (WEAN) established in July 11, 2003. They have been organizing exhibitions at National Level to promote and diversify women entrepreneurs’ business. Other similar associations have also established to promote women entrepreneurship, which can be considered as a good footstep towards women as well as country’s development.
Even though the presence of women entrepreneurs are increasing, they still lacks dynamic leadership. Women access to entrepreneur is not only limited in Nepal but it is limited in entire South Asian region. Nevertheless, Nepal is adopting the changes that helps in empowering more women as entrepreneurs. For instance: Social Workers, Pushpa Basnet and Anuradha Koirala being – CNN Heroes Nepal, are the most powerful women in history who gave strong message to the society event though they were not entrepreneurs. From this evidence, one can be confident enough to feel that – Nepalese can even conquer the World in the existence of a good faith and belief in oneself.
Women entrepreneurship is synonymous with women empowerment. There’s a saying, a recipe or, secret recipe for healthy family is to trust, empower and enhance the skills of women. One should accept that “ there is no tool for development more effective than women empowerment”. No country can flourish by neglecting the potentialities of it’s women workforce. Women form a nation’s significant human resource. They should be used as instruments for the growth and development of the country. Women, on the other hand, are also willing to take up business and lend their contribution to the growth of their nation.
By initiating and supporting activities that facilitate women in learning the World of entrepreneurship, connect them with successful female entrepreneurs, and tie-up with access to high-quality credit sources; – women can eventually build strong businesses, solidity their position in the local business as well as in the economy.