Over the past few decades, there have been significant improvements in India with respect to women’s participation in business, trade, and formal labour markets. Under the agenda of promoting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India, the government is endorsing the enhanced role of women in entrepreneurial activities for generating more income and employment. However, despite MSMEs emerging as a vibrant sector in the Indian economy, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender neutrality, in terms of ownership of MSMEs. In India, most women business owners are exposed to less favourable conditions, pronounced cultural biases, and a lack of business resources such as finances, capital, training, and development.
Such concerns and digital barriers were exacerbated with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially for MSMEs, and even more so for women-led and home grown MSMEs. The pandemic also highlighted and heightened the pre-existing inequalities and socioeconomic vulnerabilities of women, among other disadvantaged populations. At the same time, it acted as testament to the fact that women have less access to the basic digital infrastructure, including internet and smartphones, leading to lack of capacity and capability to use the digital mode. Even with access to the internet, women face more challenges while onboarding to e-commerce, given the many hurdles they face related to digital finance, infrastructure, and more. In that context, the conversations around building a resilient economy are factoring in the role and importance of women, more so than ever before.
It has often been said that the economies where females are not provided adequate and equal opportunity to realise their full potential, such economies lack innovation, economic growth, and job creation. As countries face the enormous challenge of rebuilding post-pandemic economies, women must be at the centre of their strategies, including leveraging digital tools to support women’s businesses.
About the project
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)
D–217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur 302016, Rajasthan, India
Ph: +91 141 2282821, Fax: +91 141 2282485, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sakhi Shah, Senior Research Associate,
Email ID: email@example.com, Tel: +91 141 2282821-3 Ext: 115
Pragya Singh, Research Associate,
Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +91 141 2282821-3 Ext: 114