Even though MSMEs are regarded to be an inclusive and labor-intensive model, still women’s employment and participation in the sector is very low. Women form 1/5th total MSMEs workforce while the female-owned businesses constitute nearly 14% (registered) and 9% (unregistered).

Most of these Enterprises are home-based and are small in size working with a small number of employees or workers. And most of these businesses are owned by men. 

The largest percentage where women own MSME industry is readymade garment; it is followed by food products and radius and then textile industries. Even though women’s participation is quite modest in the MSME sector, they are seen as an untapped source product. 

The Indian government has made significant structural as well as legislative developments in the sector to support women. This untapped potential is crucial to exploit to ensure that we make inclusive as well as equitable economic progress.



It has been found that women entrepreneurs are affected by their access to capital and information, gender issues, multiple commitments at home, access to professional networks and associations as well as perceived disadvantages in marketing. There are many other factors that affect the growth of women as workers such as gender-differentiated jobs and wages, working conditions, benefits, and lack of opportunities to enhance your skills or to advance your careers.


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Even though efforts have been made to ensure the upliftment of women in entrepreneurship and especially in MSMEs, women still have to face many hardships while trying to get on the path of entrepreneurship.

Below are some of the points which highlight the disadvantages and hardships which women have to face:

LESS VISIBLE: Because most of the women-owned MSMEs can micro-segment, mostly home-based and unregistered, they usually are left out from the government schemes, thereby, missing out on available government support. 


ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS REMAIN UNDERUSED: The various programs set up to promote the growth of small and micro-enterprises, are insufficient to provide training in some of the areas of leadership and human resource management.


WOMEN’S SUPPORT SYSTEM DEPENDS ON EXTERNAL FACTORS: It has been seen that new Women entrepreneurs usually take fever risk in the beginning of their entrepreneurship careers. Different for freedom from debt and like to keep business stable which affects the ability to take the risk. Although women do take higher risks when they have support from their families.

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GETTING START-UP FINANCE IS DIFFICULT: All over India, it has been seen that women entrepreneurs have less access to finance than what is available to male entrepreneurs. They also tend to have weak marketing skills, lack of market knowledge and assistance from vendors further becomes a hindrance in their progress. 

BUSINESS MARKETING IS A CHALLENGE: MSMEs in India, irrespective of ownership, are characterized by weak marketing. Women entrepreneurs are further handicapped by resistance from vendors, lack of market knowledge and marketing skills, restricted mobility and their initial hesitation to engage in spaces traditionally dominated by men.


UPTAKE OF GOVERNMENT SCHEMES IS NOT OPTIMAL: Due to lack of awareness among women entrepreneurs as well as the gap between the presence of screens and their uptake, creates a major limitation in taking advantage of these schemes. 


WOMEN-OWNED ENTERPRISES HAVING MALE SUPPORT ARE MORE LIKELY TO EXPAND IN SCALE: Women-owned businesses who have a spouse on male family member involved in the working of the business, the chances are, they will grow in scale because, in most of the cases, there is the clear gender division of roles involved in the business operations.

POOR ACCESS TO BUSINESS NETWORKS & ASSOCIATIONS: There is a large limitation in the form of excess of information to women. Even though all microentrepreneurs face difficulty in making time for phone networking, some gender-specific constraints put more of this advantage over women than men. 

Generally, associations are dominated by males, which further get restricted by the women’s ability to move and the responsibilities of home. 



To work as an employee, women also have to face a number of constraints and discriminations on a regular basis which abstains them from progressing in their careers. 

Some of these limitations are discussed below: 


LOW AND UNSKILLED JOBS: You must have seen that most of the businesses have gender-specific roles even in the business field. The ability of workers are categorized differently across the industries. It has been found that the jobs which require a lower skill set are being performed by women and the jobs which require a high skill set are performed by men. 

This high presence of women in low-skill jobs is because of their poor education and lack of skill training as well as the genders of tasks by owners of factories.


LITTLE PRESENCE IN MANAGERIAL & TECHNICAL POSITIONS: There are not many women working in supervisory posts who require more responsibility, longer hours, and the ability to manage a workforce. Indian female entrepreneurs try to avoid this level of responsibility because they lack confidence and think that this responsibility at the workplace adds to their responsibilities at home. Women also tend to work for shorter tenures because of marriage and children and therefore, companies prefer to hire men. 


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GENDER STEREOTYPES: Gender-stereotyping of work limits the growth potential of women. Some higher-skilled jobs required higher physical efforts. Even though women are known for their dexterity few women enter in this area of job which is considered mainly an arena of men. 


WAGE DIFFERENCES: This is one of the key challenges which is faced by women. It is seen that women workers and employees are paid less than their male counterparts for the same type of jobs although in some of the cases they were paid the differential wages.


PROXIMITY, SAFETY & WORKING CONDITIONS: It is observed that women are more likely to work in a place where the business is owned by a female entrepreneur and who takes extra care to ensure their safety as well as provide a safe commute option. In India, some of the businesses did provide working conditions for women but they lacked creche facilities.


The above factors are only just some of the factors that affect the work prospectus of women, whether we are talking about women entrepreneurs or women workers. They significantly impact the decision in regard to the role of women in the paid workforce of India. To uplift the women, serious changes are needed to inculcate in the mental as well as social visions. Only then there could be economic progress when the ladies are concerned.

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