COVID-19 hasn’t just impacted our physical health and professional lives gravely, but it has uncovered another vilest face of humanity too. When we were all locked down within the four walls of our home, though some of us are still, there was something nasty surfacing and taking precedence among us, which some of us may not be aware of. It’s domestic violence! According to UN, domestic violence has increased by 20 percent during the lockdown due to people being trapped at home with their abuser. But for women, this is altogether another level of experience.
World over and specifically in India, the taboo of women being responsible for all the household work adds up to their woes, especially when they have to manage home and office simultaneously. With kids being at home all the time and their school moving online, their homework and studies vest largely on the mother’s shoulder. Time spent in kitchen doubles up as the demand for snacks, and varieties of recipes spike every now and then. For most of the families, women working from home should also be working for home simultaneously. But then how are women startup entrepreneurs addressing this concern?
Pandemic has surely put a brake on many businesses, but for startups, it’s all about survival as most of them have dried up their finance and cut their team size. And hence most startup entrepreneurs feel that 24 hours a day is too less for them to channelize and re-tune their strategies to make the winning moves. But then how are women entrepreneurs making the most of this pandemic? Are they getting equal time to devote to their startup just like their male counterparts?
The economic price that women entrepreneurs paid during the pandemic is much more than what their male counterparts paid. According to a survey by WEConnect, 33 percent of women entrepreneurs surveyed mentioned that as all responsibilities vest on them, they get less time to spend on their businesses. No surprise for countries like India where a majority of social responsibilities have traditionally been borne by women. On the other hand, various initiatives and policies for women by GoI had resulted in a large number of women entrepreneurs starting their own SMB and micro-enterprises.
But the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns resulted them in turning to digital. While many of them were quite new in doing businesses online, it hit them hard where it shouldn’t. From organizing team meetings to client meetings, from addressing business issues to client concerns and from navigating from offline to online, not just their attention diverted, they also could source only a paltry amount of time to learn and revive the process & their business. Mostly in the education, travel, beauty and consulting fields, the startup entrepreneurs had their own set of challenges to deal with apart from fulfilling their family demands as they were the most hit sectors.
Thanks to those partners, kids and parents who understood their passion, persistence, commitment and their soul-searching of doing something of their own and supporting them in all their endeavors, being less demanding and still keeping faith in their abilities without any ounce of doubt. Though the pandemic has brought hurdles, it has also brought the opportunity to shoulder each other’s responsibility, assess oneself, plan for the future and give a new twist to the business. It has also brought new business opportunities in the realm of healthcare and education where women play a considerable role. Let’s roll our sleeves and grab the opportunity. The door of prospects are just opening up. Let’s not give up!