Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Challenges Facing Women Entrepreneurs

Wajahat offers a short synopsis of challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, but glosses over a key hurdle - Kashmiri women are unable to secure credit without a male co-signer

 (Mr. Wajahat Hussain Mattoo is Coordinator at the Jammu & Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI), Pampore.)

Women Entrepreneurs

Government of India has defined women entrepreneurs as an enterprise owned and controlled by a women having a minimum financial interest of 51% of the capital and giving at least 51% of employment generated in the enterprise to women.

Economic globalization has encouraged the expansion of female business ownership. “The growing economic power and influence of women-owned businesses are changing the shape of the global economy,” remarked Sakiko Fukuda - Parr, director of the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report. The global impact of women entrepreneurs is just beginning to gain intensity. Worldwide, the number of female business owners continues to Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy increase steadily. For example, women produce more than 80 percent of the food for Sub-Saharan Africa, 50-60 percent for Asia, 26 percent for the Caribbean, 34 percent for North Africa and the Middle East, and more than 30 percent for Latin America. Female entrepreneurs are active at all levels domestically, regionally, and globally.

Characteristics of Women Entrepreneurs:

Woman entrepreneurs tend to be highly motivated and self-directed. They also exhibit a high internal locus of control and achievement. Researchers contend that women business owners possess certain specific characteristics that promote their creativity and generate new ideas and ways of doing things:

1) Autonomy: Entrepreneurs have a strong desire for autonomy. Women at midlife often lose patience playing by corporate rules and want to call their own shots and put their own values first.

2) Resilience: Entrepreneurs have the ability to bounce back from setbacks. It takes resilience to get through the roadblocks that will inevitably show up. At midlife and beyond, women have learned to be resilient, as they’ve weathered life’s ups and downs.

3) Initiatives: Entrepreneurs are self-starters. The most successful entrepreneurs also keep the momentum going after the initial burst of energy.

4) Confidences: Entrepreneurs believe in themselves and get others to believe in them too. They have the confidence to find the resources they need and the ability to ask for help and support.

5) Intuitive: Entrepreneurs have good business instincts. They use left-brain rational thinking to analyze problems, but they also trust their intuition, which is often correct. Women tend to trust their intuition in business more often than men.

6) Decisive: Entrepreneurs are action oriented. They make decisions and take the actions required to get them to their desired results. Midlife women have had a lifetime of experience to fine-tune their decisionmaking ability.

7) Connects: Entrepreneurs build relationships. They build networks and thrive on seeing opportunities for connections for mutual benefit. At midlife, women have well developed networks, which is an advantage in starting and sustaining a business. (Grossman Amy, 2009).

Overall, men's and women's motivations for business initiation are quite similar. As with male entrepreneurs, females seek independence, autonomy, higher income, and the opportunity to be their own boss.

One difference between men and women in their motivation to initiate a business is that men often cite economic reasons, whereas women often cite family needs. Whereas men generally see entrepreneurship as a business decision, many women view it as a life choice-a way of integrating family and career needs. 

Reasons Women Become Entrepreneurs:

Many studies indicate that women start businesses for fundamentally different reasons than their male counterparts. While men start businesses primarily for growth opportunities and profit potential, women most often found businesses in order to meet personal goals, such as gaining feelings of achievement and accomplishment. In many instances, women consider financial success as an external confirmation of their ability rather than as a primary goal or motivation to start a business, although millions of women entrepreneurs will grant that financial profitability is important in its own right.

Women also tend to start businesses about ten years later then men, on average. Motherhood, lack of management experience, and traditional socialization has all been cited as reasons for delayed entry into entrepreneurial careers. In fact, over 30 percent of women entrepreneurs reported that they started a business due to some traumatic event, such as divorce, discrimination due to pregnancy or the corporate glass ceiling, the health of a family member, or economic reasons such as a layoff. But a new talent pool of women entrepreneurs is forming today, as more women opt to leave corporate America to chart their own destinies.

Many of these women have developed financial expertise and bring experience in manufacturing or nontraditional fields. As a result, the concentration of women business owners in the retail and service sectors—and in traditional industries such as cosmetics, food, fashion, and personal care—is slowly changing.

The Importance of Women Entrepreneurs:

Women entrepreneurs encounters only one third of all entrepreneurs. And as half the population on this planet is women there is an unnatural gap between genders. There is thus potential to enhance the level of women entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs have a massive potential which are yet to be unleashed. Not only due to the gender gap, but also because women bring in diversity to the innovation process. More women will provide per se entrepreneurs with a more diverse perspective. Solutions to market inequalities are not solved just by male entrepreneurs with male thinking innovation. Now women also brings in solutions to market inequalities and their innovations may not be alike those of the man. Thus women entrepreneurship is to be seen as part of the diversity question.

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