Unravel challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Kashmir

With the gradual support of society and the government, the culture of women entrepreneurs has started promoting in Kashmir. Concept of women entrepreneurs in Kashmir is yet a work of fiction but this could lead to growth of our state economy at the end. Fully aware of this potential, now public institutions, knowledge institutes and business associations are initiating policies to promote and develop women’s entrepreneurship in addition to kick-starting capacity building activities. Recently government’s initiatives speak volumes of its seriousness towards promotion of women entrepreneurial trends in the state. But with all this positive initiatives, women entrepreneurs still own and manage fewer businesses than Men in State, they earn less money with their businesses that grow slower. This trend can be linked with many factors like improper business skills, lack of funds as well as confidence, absence of public/private institutions or non-conducive social environment. Sometimes, public and private incentives are misused and do not reach the woman. Also many trade associations like chambers of commerce do not cater to women expecting women’s organizations to do the necessary thing. But even then the trend is changing.

Women across the state are showing an interest to be economically independent by nourishing entrepreneurial ideas. What is needed right now is an environment enabling entrepreneurship in rural areas, the policy makers should develop a comprehensive state policy for women by involving real stakeholders and its implementation should be ensured. The government must evolve appropriate policies to help women entrepreneurs. Networking facilities must be provided as well as adequate entrepreneurship awareness training should be provided. An action must be there to discourage gender discrimination, ensure women empowerment for initiating small and medium scale projects, establish incubation centers and separate markets, enact relevant laws and ensure business subsidies, if the government want women, that constitute half of the population, to be productive towards state development.

Author is working on a project on youth entrepreneurship and education in conflict areas at Kashmir University