Nearly 25 lakh of India’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are presently managed by women. In 2004-05, only 10.11 percent of the country’s total small-scale industries were run by women. The figure further dropped down to 9.46 percent in 2005-06. The situation has drastically improved now, according to one news report.
This announcement was made by S Aparna, Principal Secretary for Finance Gujarat, speaking at the 22nd national meet of the ‘Forum of Women in Public Sector’ at Ahmedabad last weekend. Women from across India, belonging to different backgrounds, were present at the event, reports DNA India.
Aparna went on to discuss various government schemes and entrepreneurial programmes, which have gone a long way in supporting several women entrepreneurs. ‘Programmes for women and child development are important, for which INR350 crore has been spent on anganwadis,’ she stated.
KS Jamestin, Director of Human Resources at ONGC, stated: “In 2005-06, the workforce participation ratio (WPR) of women was 31 percent in rural and 40 percent in urban areas, against which the WPR of men was 56 percent. Also, 13.5 percent of women were occupying the position of board members in 2005 in India, and the figure slightly increased to 13.7 percent in 2006.”
Speaking about ONGC, Jamestin stated that the organization provides childcare leave of up to two years, which can be taken in installments. Male employees also have paternity leave. He further stated that every organization should provide the benefit of ‘work from home’. This would definitely go a long way in retaining a larger number of women in the workforce, after having borne children.
Ela Bhatt, founder of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) also spoke on the occasion, about how women are different from men in several ways.
Bhatt said: “Today, few women are at top positions, while some are in the middle and bottom levels of the hierarchy. One of the greatest strengths of women is their different vision. Women at top levels focus on jobs and not just turnover. Their emphasis is on productive workforce and happier lives rather than on profits.”
Bhatt added that women, in general, aspire and work for a ‘gentler and caring economy’. She also went on to say that assets are much safer in the hands of women, as compared to those of men. There are hundreds of women in SEWA who manage their own money and credit, she stated.