Assignment on Industrial Sociology: Values of Women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh

Concept of Women entrepreneurship:
Karl H. Vesper defined the overall field of entrepreneurship as the creation of new business ventures by individuals or small groups Marshal expanded entrepreneurship as:
a) Structuring of organization through division of labour,
b) formulating plans and policies to be executedby subordinate,
c) innovating and
d) bearing risk.
E.E. Hagen described entrepreneurship as creating opportunities for investment and production,
establishing an organization capable of introducing non production process, accumulation of capable, collection of raw materials, innovating new production techniques and new products, searching for new sources of raw materials and above all the selection on an efficient manager to run the day to day affairs of the organization.

Women’s participation in Business in Bangladesh
Existing sex ratio in demographic structure of Bangladesh indicates that women comprise almost 50% of the total population. They are essential part of nation’s human resources. Due to this demographic structure, the issue of the participation of women in the mainstream economy is imperative. Without a meaningful and active participation of women, half of the total population, in regular economic activities, a dynamic and sustainable economy is impossible. A sustainable economy is a precondition for national growth and prosperity including institutionalization of a democratic system. It is also impossible to achieve the target of a poverty-free society without incorporation of women in the mainstream economy. Considering the issue, a special emphasis has been given by the Government, donor agencies, NGOs, business community and all other relevant stakeholders through different interventions to ensure increased women’s participation in formal economic sector, especially in business and industry.

In Bangladesh, a large number of women work in the informal sector, but the real value of their participation and contribution is not recognized in the society. Differences and inequalities between women and men exist in terms of opportunities, rights, and benefits. There are various constraints in the way to the up-gradation of their skills and enhancement of their productivity.

These include poor access to market, information, technology and finance, poor linkages and networks with support services and an unfavorable policy and regulatory environment. However, it is heartening to note that despite many barriers, a new women’s entrepreneur class in the Small and Medium sector has developed in the country taking on the challenge to work in a male dominated, competitive and complex economic and business environment. It has been found that at present women entrepreneurs constitute less than 10% of the total business entrepreneurs in Bangladesh whereas women in advanced market economies own more than 25% of all businesses. In spite of these, in Bangladesh, not only have the women’s entrepreneurship improved their living conditions and earned more respect in the family and the society, but they have also contributed to business and export growth, supplies, employment generation, productivity and skill development .
 
Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh
Entrepreneurship is one of the indispensable ways to economic self-sufficiency around the world. In the developing country like Bangladesh where well-paid employment is scarce, entrepreneurship may be the only way that most individuals can rise above the poverty.


This problem is particularly severe for women. Society in Bangladesh tends to grant women limited access to material resources, land capital, an education. It is historically true that when half of the country’s population is not involving them with formal or informal economic activities, the country will not progress further. Now the time has come when we should emphasize on creating self employment opportunities and on expansion of employment-generating small and medium business enterprises and at the same time on active involvement of women in the economic development process.

Women’s Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh
Women entrepreneurs constitute less than 10% of the total business entrepreneurs in Bangladesh whereas women in advanced market economies own more than 25% of all businesses. It is heartening to note that despite many barriers, a new women's entrepreneur class has arisen in the country taking on the challenge to work in a male-dominated, competitive and complex economic and business environment. Not only have their entrepreneurship improved their living conditions and earned more respect in the family and the society, but they are also contributing to business and export growth, supplies, employment generation, productivity and skills development of the country. A recent United Nations report concluded that economic development is closely related to the advancement of women. "In countries where women have advanced, the economy has usually been steady. By contrast, in countries where women have been restricted, the economy has been stagnant."

Although the Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees all citizens equal rights, in reality, the society is highly stratified and services are rendered on the basis of class, gender location, etc., which often results in disparities. Seventy percent (70%) of the women entrepreneurs are micro and rural based. They are not given proper opportunity for expansion. On the other hand, urban educated women already engaged in micro and small businesses, as well as export-oriented enterprises are receiving comparatively less attention. As a result, they are unable to expand their operations due to lack of technological support and expertise, fund constraints, marketing techniques, and detachment from the international business arena, especially in the context of today’s globalization and rapidly growing business world. After the financial crisis in Asia, the governments of many countries in Asia has placed emphasis on SMEs led by women entrepreneurs, which they believe will be the new thrust for economic growth in the future. If adequate support can be provided, these small scale business entrepreneurs would be able to generate employment and render training to women of rural and slum areas. All these

can help them to step into new ventures of their own. In order to actively pursue the advancement of women, it is required to empower, upgrade and uplift the women entrepreneurs in both rural and urban sectors. Special priority should be given to the poor rural women. In new ventures, modern technology can be greatly helpful in facing the competitive challenge of the age. Since technology is a strategic variable in the modern business paradigm, women empowerment with technology will give rise to economic advancement. A recent survey data of BBS revealed that women own only 2.8% of all enterprises outside agriculture in

Bangladesh. This figure exposed that while progress is being made towards the equality of women and men in the decision-making level women remain under-represented. (Akbory, Yeameen, 2008)

Women's entrepreneurship is not an easy task. "Becoming an entrepreneur is an evolution of encountering, assessing, and reacting to a series of experiences, situations, and events produced by political, economic, social and cultural changes." Given the complexities in the social environment and administrative structure, women's entrepreneurship in Bangladesh is more challenging. Many social and operational constraints continue to restrict women from starting and running economic enterprises. Apart from the family and social barriers against the mobility of women, the operational barriers such as lack of access to capital, lack of training facilities for skills development, lack of business services, lack of business data, complex banking procedures and collateral requirements, etc. continue to critically limit their progress.

Entrepreneurship is the driving force to bring about excellence in production, market innovation, human resources and skills development, social mobility, and changes in the attitude of people. Development of women's entrepreneurship offers excellent opportunities for development of one half of the population and for overall socio-economic progress of the country. Women's entrepreneurship indeed can bolster economic autonomy of women, promote gender balance and ultimately can lead to participation of women in broader decision making processes of the country.

In recent years, the developing countries of the world including Bangladesh have been focusing attention on the most disadvantaged group in the society - the women. Realization has gradually dawned on all concerned that a society cannot afford to waste half of its human resources by discrimination on grounds of sex. This increasing awareness on the part of the government has led to the adoption of national policies to facilitate a development process involving women in all spheres particularly in economic activities focusing especially on entrepreneurship development. The overwhelming majority of women in Bangladesh are not only poor, but also caught between two vastly different worlds --- the world determined by culture and tradition that confines their activities inside family homesteads, where they are regarded more as a commodity necessary only for bearing and rearing children and the world shaped by increasing landlessness and poverty that focus them outside into various economic activities for survival. Thus the female members, constituting half the country's population, are lagging far behind their male counterparts in all spheres of life. In Bangladesh, though the majority of the working women still have not been able to impose a controlling authority in mainstream production, there has arisen a new class - the women entrepreneurs, who have accepted the challenges of life and have emerged as leaders in the socio-economic development - earning for themselves and for their families or contributing towards the socio-political upliftment of the women. Not only have their greater participation in remunerative work improved their living conditions and provided bargaining positions in the households and wider community, but they are also creating opportunities for the general womenfolk leading to their economic progress and paving the way for a dignified survival through sustainable development.Women have now become aware of their socio-economic rights and have ventured to avail the opportunities initiated for them. Rural Bangladesh is now a changed scenario for the women who have gathered courage to break barriers and enter the off-house working force as entrepreneurs and workers - a situation not accepted by the society in the past. The urban areas have greater opportunities for business development but the areas where women lack assistance is in the access to credit, provision of skill training, and market facilities.
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