There are more men than women in economics, there are more men than women in policy, there are more men than women in politics and there are more men than women in business… and this is a problem. Because half the population is women but solutions and ideas and regulations are created and driven by men. I am not focusing my editorial on equality based on gender because I am a firm believer of society based on meritocracy. And meritocracy not based on certificates but on individual capabilities, integrity and vision. What bothers me is how can we make a fair representation of strong and smart women who are seen and heard and recognized. How do we get more women into board rooms and seats of power. How do we create policies and systems that include all genders.
Although women have made substantial progress in different areas of life including business and entrepreneurship, the gap is still huge. Female owned businesses tend to start smaller but what’s worrying is that they also tend to stay smaller. There are almost negligible women-owned high economic impact businesses. We need to now go beyond programs that tell women how to start a business to programs that tell women entrepreneurs how to scale up. Funding gap is still majorly pronounced when it comes to venture capital or access to loans. We need investors and banks to look beyond gender to the idea that is represented by the entrepreneur to fuel growth. More needed is for women themselves to break through the skepticism.
A change in mindset is needed in how women’s work is viewed. Just because a woman values her family does not mean that she values her work less. Its 2017, why are we expecting women to act like men at work, or elsewhere? Technology is still seen as a male domain but more and more young women are cutting across this barrier, and they are doing it in heels! I have the privilege of being part of conversations with young women across Nepal who not just want to run successful ventures but want to make a difference and create solutions for the world. Women do account for half of consumer spending and makeup half the workforce, so in a month that celebrates women, I dedicate this space to the diversity women bring into the world – at and off work!