Breaking glass ceiling in India easier, say women entrepreneurs


Woman entrepreneur and co-founder of edutech company Tanushree Nagori on Friday said that breaking the glass ceiling in India is easier than in other advanced nations.

Participating in a panel discussion on “Successful Women Founders: Insights from their company-building journeys” at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2021, she said a huge family support system made all the difference in her successful journey as an entrepreneur.

Nagori said when she visited China on a business trip, she saw a huge contingent of women entrepreneurs and it was just the opposite in the US.

She said India stood between the US and China in terms of woman representation in running businesses.

Shivani Poddar, co-founder of FabAlley and Indya women fashion brands said women entrepreneurs certainly face harder challenges due to lingering doubts in people’s minds regarding their acceptability.

However, Poddar said being an entrepreneur gave her a lot of financial flexibility and satisfaction partly because of the commitment women have towards their families.

Hena Mehta, co-founder of financial platform said there is a divide between tier 1 and tier 2 cities even in accepting entrepreneurship within the womenfolk.

“The success of a woman entrepreneur depends on the family support system and the situation that one is in. As women we do need constant encouragement and cheerleaders at home,” she said.

Tanushree Jain, founder of Nushaura, a brand of eco-friendly products based in Rajasthan, said: “Women live their lives in protected environments and are dependent on their families. I stepped out of my comfort zone much against my family. I go to the villages and work with rural artisans. My father who did not understand what I was doing feels proud about my work as I have made rural artisans independent and smarter today.”

Vanya Chandel, founder of ForFurs, a premium pet accessory company, said: “I did not face any issues of lack of support at home. It was the external environment that was not so conducive, supportive, or forthcoming. I moved to Kanpur, a tier 2 city where a woman becoming an entrepreneur was unheard of.”

However, when it came to giving quality time to family, women entrepreneurs said they had feelings of guilt initially which was overcome due to the success of their enterprise.

Nagori said: “I was guilty of not spending enough quality time with my daughter and when I conceived to have our second child there was hesitation in disclosing this to our investors. But, I went for the next round of funding when I was expecting because of my family’s support. I think women want to be called good homemakers even as our quest to be independent is greater and a driver in our lives.”

Poddar says she had to attend board meetings and had to leave her young one back at home.

However, Hena Mehta feels otherwise. “It is now normal for a woman who is expecting to raise finances or venture capital funding rounds,” she said.