Economic B-Schools' Women As Young Entrepreneurs In India
By: Prof. Vijayta Doshi, Associate Professor, IIM Udaipur
With almost seven years of experience, Prof. Vijayta is a faculty with IIM Udaipur in the area of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management and is a Fellow Programme in Management (FPM) from IIM Ahmedabad.
Entrepreneurship has entered the B-schools in intangible as well as tangible forms. Many IIMs and other B-schools in India have consciously adopted entrepreneurial value as a critical cultural component and/or have centers and programs dedicated to entrepreneurship. The idea is that the holistic business education imparted in the B-schools can help develop future business leaders and future entrepreneurs. At the same time, there are B-schools already leveraging this idea. Some may leverage this in the future as the scope of entrepreneurship is enormous among the Indian youth and the Indian market.
B-schools in India and across the globe have faced the challenge of gender parity, especially in the representation of female students. Research evidence, both from the perspective of the business case for diversity and the moral case for diversity, has shown the benefits of a gender-equal workplace and world. Entrepreneurship is no exception. Therefore, there are ongoing efforts by the various B-schools and the government (Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship) toward diversity and inclusion of women entrepreneurs in entrepreneurship in India. B-schools' women students are being recognized as young leaders increasingly. However, it may require more openness and efforts toward recognizing B-school women as young entrepreneurs. B-school women, both from the flagship programs and the programs dedicated to entrepreneurship; need to be nurtured as young budding entrepreneurs in India.
“B-school women, both from the flagship programs and the programs dedicated to entrepreneurship, need to be nurtured as young budding entrepreneurs in india”
Having taught and researched B-school women, I have found many aspiring to be entrepreneurs or already running a startup. I have found them to be highly creative, innovative, achievement-oriented, capable, driven, independent, and regularly improve and update their knowledge and skills. This empowering agentic self is essential for one's self-confidence. However, these young entrepreneurs do not operate in silos. They come in touch with society - people, mindsets, culture as customers, family, funders, suppliers, or workers. This is when the agency may feel constrained unless one fully acknowledges the gendered nature of the world. When one does not recognize the gendered nature of entrepreneurship, one may deny gender-related constraints, experience frustration, and engage in self-blaming. However, when one acknowledges the gendered nature of entrepreneurship, one understands that perhaps it requires a different way of dealing wherein one would have to play by the rules while challenging the gendered structures. Gendered structures have been built over the years and will take years to break down.
“Denying gendered structures in entrepreneurship will mean undermining the efforts of those who courageously take on the 'risk' to call out and enable progressive fundamental changes”
Nevertheless, every small collective step will make a massive difference in the future. Identifying gendered structures in entrepreneurship is essential so that they do not go unnoticed and do not continue to perpetuate. Denying gendered structures in entrepreneurship will mean undermining the efforts of those who courageously take on the 'risk' to call out and enable progressive fundamental changes. As B-schools' women in India prepare themselves as young entrepreneurs, they need to embrace femininity, acknowledge any gender constraints faced, seek out support, and suggest progressive measures to advance entrepreneurship in India.
As B-schools in India prepare toward embracing B-schools' women as young entrepreneurs, it is paramount to have more holistic and realistic aspects of women's entrepreneurship incorporated into the curriculum courses on gender in entrepreneurship to sensitize as well as equip women to deal with gender constraints in entrepreneurship.