Woman Power In Corporate India. In Conversation With Kiranmazumdar Shaw, Chairperson & Md, Biocon Ltd

This paper tried to study the relationship between the 'glass ceiling' ,stressors at work place and the reasons for which more woman start business in America.
Woman emerged as a major section in the American work force due to the Second World War where they were needed as replacement workers for men and the invention of microchip which created knowledge based work environment. But the woman are still subject to lower remuneration, lower growth opportunity ,lower authority and are still at the bottom of organisational hierarchy compared to their male counterparts .
One of the reason cited for this is the 'glass ceiling 'which can be defined as an attitudinal or organizational bias in the work force that prevents minorities and women from advancing to leadership positions. Women are unable to advance in their job because of this traditional bias prevailing in the society of a' men being better than women ' The' old boys' network 'still prevails.
Even the women who are successful in breaking the 'glass ceiling' and ascend to the top are very distressed on account of the stress, strain and the isolation they endure in such higher positions.
The woman usually believe that they are 'minority' in the organisation owing to their lack of self confidence .There is also deficiency in mentors and career advancement opportunities. Many women also wave good bye to their corporate career's in prospect of starting a family .As child birth, parenting and domestic chores are still considered to be a woman's responsibility.
Some women have even adopted masculine ways in order to adopt the well-deserved reward for their work.

The paper recognises the following as some of the reasons as to why women move towards entrepreneurship.
1) Gaining control over their own hours
2) Frustration with the glass ceiling
3) Identifying a business opportunity and deciding to fill it.
They also cite statistical evidence for the increase in women entrepreneurship in America .According to the Centre for Women's Business Research (2003)
1) More than 50% stake in 48% of privately held companies in the US are held by women.
2) With 424 new establishments daily, woman starts twice as much new businesses compared to men.
3) 5.6 % gain in revenues annually.
4) Also the employments in women owned companies has raised 24% which is again two fold compared to their male counterparts.
It has been calculated that women own more than 38% of all firms and employ over 9.2 million workers which generated $1.5 trillion in sales in 2002 alone (Brush, Carter, Greene, Hart and Gatewood, 2002). Survey of the data and research available on this field has shown that many of these prosperous business owners are the same female corporate workers who previously faced the 'glass ceiling' and overcame it and other stressors by joining the kinship of women entrepreneurs.

Woman power in Corporate India. In conversation with KiranMazumdar Shaw, Chairperson & MD, Biocon ltd. (Kurup et al)

The purpose of this study was to provide a data based understanding on the participation of women on board of Indian companies followed by an interview with notable first generation woman entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar Shaw .The researchers tried to identify the reasons as to why there are only a few woman directors in the country.
They found that the women doing business in India are much behind men. Number of women directorships increased from 29 in 1995 to 67 in 2007 .This shows the overall trend as increasing and positive .Though this trend is encouraging, the information makes it clear that women are under-represented in the echelons of corporate India .Compared to other countries India is among the lowest with 5.4% of directorships being held by women. ICICI and HDFC banks contribute a lot to woman directorships; however woman directors are mainly confined to both these banks.
There are only a couple of first generation women entrepreneurs in India.
They face lot many challenges. In the opinion of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw credibility and perception are often questioned and woman as entrepreneurs are considered high risk in terms of working for or lending .Societal prejudices, lack of self 'belief, lack of confidence and not strong enough to stick up to what they want to do are the major variables that hinders woman doing business in India.
Kiran M Shaw advised the woman to identify the opportunities and think about them in a disciplined way about taking the idea to the next level .She is of the view that woman needs to network more as many woman shy away from networking .They should have self belief .She emphasis the support needed from your immediate family and society .
The authors concluded the paper identifying that family support is critical for a woman doing business. The entry to the top organisational positions is getting easier but they still constitute only a small part of the corporate boards. Barriers to success seem to be more pronounced for women entrepreneurs than professionals. Albeit on an average a woman director seem better connected than the average male director, the most well connected male director is still far more powerful and influential than the most well connected woman director. After the early thresholds the problems faced by men and women are same.

Socio-cultural influences on Indian entrepreneurs: The need for appropriate structural interventions (Shivani et al)

This paper talks about the entrepreneurial success attained by male and female entrepreneurs in India and socio cultural variables like caste, religiosity, family structure and family support.
The empirical findings found that the male entrepreneurs have been found more successful than female because of the lack of infrastructure facilities available for the latter.
The research suggests that religiosity is not anti-entrepreneurial in India as held by some western observers like Weber and found that there is no significant relationship between religion and success but almost all respondents agreed that it helps them to be more disciplined and gives them confidence to overcome difficulties .
The authors maintained the view that caste does not influence success but it helps the survival of business in difficult situations .Moral and financial support is an important determinant for business success and the researchers also found that high support are usually from extended families.
The researchers concluded that religion and joint family system have no influence and caste and family support influence entrepreneurship.
Risk taking propensity, innovativeness, achievement orientation and managerial skills are major the entrepreneurial traits .Female entrepreneurs were observed to be having poor networking ability and lack of exposure.
The financial and technical assistance given by the government and other promotional organizations have not given expected results. The researchers recommends the need of a specially designed campaign to educate the society about the merits of entrepreneurship as a profession and the curriculum of schools should incorporate content and exercises that inculcate risk taking ability ,innovativeness and achievement orientation .

Women Entrepreneurs: Making A change From Employment to Small and Medium Business Ownership (Xavier et al)

The purpose of this paper is to find out why Malaysian woman leave employment for business ownership, the personal and entrepreneurial characteristics of a successful entrepreneur and challenges of this transition.
A new pool of entrepreneurs is forming after saying adieu to salaried employment. Achievement of personal growth, independence and economic payoff are the major reasons for these business ownerships.
The most common personal skills identified were passion for business, listening and communication skills and self discipline. The major entrepreneurial skill consists of confidence, leadership, problem solving, being efficient and analytical. Computer knowledge, enhance competitiveness in the market, risk taking, good strategic management & planning practices, controlling productive resources and good marketing strategies are those skills that these entrepreneurs don't possess.
The major challenges faced by the these entrepreneurs are shortage of professional and general staff, issues in development and growth, high overheads, lack of consultation advice from experts ,peer networks and lack of family support. These challenges can be successfully overcome by management skills training, networking and governmental support structures for both consultation and continued funding of small and medium businesses.
The authors observe that woman is certainly an untapped source of entrepreneurship in Asia as a whole, which can bring economic growth in a massive scale. The ADB (Asian Development Bank) has been promoting gender equality as one of its drivers in strategy 2020 'recognises that without harnessing the talents, human capital and economic potential of women, the region's goal of poverty reduction and sustainable development will not be met.'

Political Reservations and Women's Entrepreneurship in India(Ghani et al)
This paper studies the implementations of political reservations for women in India with respect to the role of Indian women in manufacturing sector.
The researchers found out that there is no evidence that overall employment of women in manufacturing increased after the reforms. Nevertheless more women owned establishments were created in the unorganized, informal sector, which were concentrated in the industries were women entrepreneurs have been traditionally active and mainly were household based establishments .But this surge in entrepreneurship has nothing to do with changes in reporting, better access to government contracts and business and improved financing environments. The major finding of this study is women opened more establishments in small scale industries where they had experience or support networks of other women inspired by political reservations.
The conclusion derived says that the implementation of political reservation had strong effects for empowering women in India in many ways. Woman are more likely to start new establishments after reforms in unorganised sector ,even though there was no evidence for increase in women ownership in manufacturing sector. The women's participation in economic sector and their voice in political arena increased after the reforms.

Introduction to the Special Issue: Towards
Building Cumulative Knowledge on Women's Entrepreneurship(Bruin et al)

The authors state that woman entrepreneurship is a burgeoning area of research throughout the globe. Women are one of the fastest rising population of entrepreneurs. They are vastly understudied even though they make significant contribution to innovation, job and wealth creation in economies. The research on women entrepreneurship is in its childhood stage.For more research to go on in this topic the authors suggest foundation of 'scholarly communities'.
There is a wide perception that women are less capable, less entrepreneurial or perhaps should not be entrepreneurs at all. An average woman is expected to take care of the family and burden of child care falls squarely on her shoulders.
The women led ventures are smaller than those of their male counterpart's .Researches show that 6% of all equity investments over a 30 year period, which prevents many qualified women owned firms from acquiring sufficient funds to grow their venture.
Diana International is an organization found to develop conduct and global research agenda of woman entrepreneurship and growth oriented business. The researchers suggests the formation of a mixed sex entrepreneurial founding team in one way for women entrepreneurs to overcome unique albeit invisible ,obstacles resulting from the sex based stereotypes.

Changing Places Through Women's Entrepreneurship (Hanson)

The main focus of this study to examine 'entrepreneurship as a gendered geographic process and to examine how changes in places and people are related, most notably through networks of social relations in place.
They are of the view that entrepreneurship can change the meaning of gender and the way in which the gender is lived. In many places women entrepreneurship is transforming women's identities and consequently the material and discursive aspects of places in which they live .Governments, NGOs and woman's collective action is transforming gender ideologies, meanings and structure.
They also found out that access to credit alone is sufficient to change the position of women in a place. This paper contains geographic studies of entrepreneurship in Botswana, India, Peru and USA.
They conclude that the entrepreneurship should signal the relationship between people and place. There should be good networks, not just from formal business circles but also from informal neighbourhood. This relationship is the heart of entrepreneurship process to understand whether someone launches a business out of necessity or because he or she sees an opportunity. The success of a business is highly depended on his/her relationship with the place in which he/she is embedded.
Women's position as entrepreneurs challenge gender stereotypes and their collective position as entrepreneurs can change discriminatory structures, such as regulations that prevent woman from street vending in Peru or regulating laws that outlaw home based business in the USA.

Gender and business performance(khalife et al)

The aim of this study was to compare the Lebanese women-owned small firms and the Lebanese mentr-owned small firms with respect to the firm's business performance, the owner's human capital and the firm's business characteristics.

Findings showed solid evidence that female-owned small firms differ from male-owned small firms according to their gross revenues. No substantial differences were found between female and male owners in terms of their incomes. The authors maintained that women tend to 'feel' more (give importance to immediate material gain) and male tend to 'think'(in case of the future prospects of business).Moreover, they found that the deviation in gross revenues can be explained by factors related to the owner's level of education, the owner's business experience, the firm's age and the firm's size.
Comparing factors related to the owner's level of education they found that the women hold higher degrees than men. Owners business experience has a high relationship and female owners have less business experience compared to their male counter parts .So ,the women's disadvantage with respect to the business experience has contributed to their lower gross revenues .
The firm's business sector cannot be used as an important determinant. No significant difference was found with respect to the owner's age in this sample. Based on the sample, concerning the firm's age, male-owned firms were older than female-owned firms; which implies that male-owned firms were more able to develop their competencies and performance which positively affect the firms' gross revenues. The size also holds a very high relationship as female owned firms were found to be smaller than the male owned ones .

Negotiating a market : A case study of an Asian woman in business (Raghuram et al)

This paper talks about complexities of female ethnic minority entrepreneurship in UK. It cases study of a woman entrepreneur, Malini a Gujarati Indian, who is in textile business in UK.
The authors tried to figure out what prompted her to start her own business, the challenges she has to overcome, about the growth possibilities of her business as an ethnic minority in UK.
In her case the family was not initially supportive of her venture, because of the societal prejudices associated with a woman doing business, she was supposed to get married and raise children. She started the business because of her crave for independence and financial enrichment .Her main function was to produce 'quality ,fashionable salwar kameez for the Indians living in UK.As she produced a product whose target market was the Indians living in UK, Malini smartly utilized her connections within the community for her business growth.
The authors have used biographical life style approach to understand these social relationships were family and community offer opportunities but also acts as a barrier .

Do women-owned businesses have equal access to angel capital?( Becker-Blease et al)

This paper studies the equality of the women's access to private equity investors .The researchers found that the women seek less angel capital as compared to men. As they seek less capital, what they receive is also quite small .Apart from that the researchers found that the probability of receipt of the capital is almost as same with men and women .They also found out that women prefer to borrow from same sex investors.
One means of improving the efficiency with which new venture funding is allocated to entrepreneurs is to increase the participation of women investors in early-stage financing markets. The question also persists of why so few women investors appear to participate in the angel market. One possibility is that there are very few women investors with the necessary resources and expertise to be effective providers of angel capital.

Source: ChinaStones - http://china-stones.info/free-essays/business/woman-power-corporate-power.php


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