Influence of the media and newspapers

On the tangible levels, the media influences fashion and the perceptions of the people, but the media also has an intangible and deep rooted impact on the psyche of women. When the stories and images in the media, magazines and the popular press depict women in a poor light or a regressive image, they have a subtle impact on the millions of impressionable minds. When the stories which are told are about women as helpless victims rather than women as capable participants in society, then a lot of women follow the narrative. A culture which has stories of women from different fields making a mark in their areas of interest, it sparks interest and dreams in the minds of the Young women.

If in the popular media, powerful women are depicted as conniving and greedy, and good women as victims, then most young women being sensitive to relationships would choose take the role of the sufferer and victim, rather than be branded as ambitious and heartless.
If 5 samples are collected from Television, cinema, magazines and radio, it will be hard to find many stories of women's achievement or about the contribution of women in nation building.
How are the women projected in media? As objects of attraction or as thinking cerebral beings? Objectification of women in the media, be it print or television, radio or the cinemas is an age old problem. Very rarely are the success stories of the working women shared as an achievement.
While the stories of male achievement are described in glowing terms, for the women it is always with a tag of sacrifice and neediness and some dire financial need.

Many of the official nomenclature is still regressive in nature and it is not uncommon to find the top titles still carry a masculine tone even if the presiding officer is a lady ( Chairman being a case in point )

External culture and Society, Nature of Industry
When a woman steps out of the house to work and set up her own business, very frequently she has to struggle to be taken seriously. Society does not consider a woman in business as a serious player. In many cases the business network expects a woman to at least have a male family member to depend upon as the faith in a woman's ability to manage a business is not great in society. A women supporting a husband in business is far more palatable to society than a women working on her
own steam.
Having said that, however, in some businesses women have found it easier to establish and thrive than in other sectors. For example, in the services business, women are found in larger numbers and doing quite well. Services not only employ a lot of women, but they also create more entrepreneurs. Media and Press also attract and retain talent besides creating many lady Entrepreneurs. Similarly fashion and healthcare by nature are Industries which attract a lot of women.

Role Models
The role models in our society also are an influence on the budding woman entrepreneur. The role model can be from the popular local tales, or be from the outside society of women leaders, business women and local panchayat leaders. When the local panchayat is mandated to elect a women Sarpanch, over a period of time the daughters and the young women who grow up observing them exercising authority and making decisions that will impact many people, eventually have a different perception about their role and position in society.
Since time immemorial the first influencers are the Mothers, but a very close second in terns of the impact and influence are the school teachers, and mentors.

It is a critical role all institutions play in the development of a women entrepreneur. All entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs in particular need a “spark “ or an igniting of the mind. This can come from observing a local woman influencer, a school teacher or even a story shared by the school teacher about an outstanding woman. At a young age, the minds do not have rigid boundaries about what can be done and what are their limitations, hence it is far easier to influence young women rather than try to change the perceptions later. In general, many women entrepreneurs also draw inspiration from outside role models, even if the conditions at home are restrictive or regressive. Though living inspirations are more likely to create an impact, but even a story or narrative may spark interest as the minds are still flexible and impressionable and have not become cynical.

Support System
The support systems for an entrepreneur can be on many fronts-inspirational support, sustained motivational support, financial support, legal support, travel and modes of travel support, infrastructure support.
Inspirational Support comes from some role model who sparks an interest or who inspires.
Sustained motivational support usually comes from some one who is within the sphere of influence such as Uncles / Aunts / Teachers or even beneficiaries. To give a simple example, if a women is good at making juices or pickles, or taking coaching classes for younger students or maybe as a beautician, her beneficiaries may prod her to consider being a business women and convert her talent to financial gains. Such early validation of her services lead to the women gaining confidence and a
positive environment for her services.
Most entrepreneurs find little difficulty to convert their personal talent and passion to setting up a small store / enterprise. The real challenges start emerging usually concerning her time management, because as she begins to increasingly devote her time to her work, many people may resent her activities and favour a more acceptable option of quickly getting her married before she became financially too strong and is able to dictate her decisions. In families considerable friction is around marriage and work.

In case she is already married this resistance may emerge from her in-laws or even the husband. Usually successful women entrepreneurs have to get the support of their husbands before taking financial decisions. The ability to take decisions independently is a freedom not given to women easily as it is perceived as a threat to her role. Submissive women are considered an asset to the in-laws as they get another person in the home to order around. More significantly, challenging the status Quo in any society is a huge task by itself. Whatever has been seen before is the norm and the norm should never be challenged. So a woman moving from
her submissive, domestic labour role to an independent role is a threat to the status Quo.
Financial Support is something all business people require and it is true for the woman entrepreneur too. Women in general manage to create a small financial nest before starting their businesses, but the harder part is raising funds for the expansion of the business. Interestingly, when women borrow funds, they are less likely to abscond or create bad debts and therefore, paradoxically, lending to women is perceived to be a lot safer. In many cases women lack the knowledge of how to access funds, and in many cases hesitate to reach out to Government funds.
Most women are not aware of the schemes available, and even if they are aware it is a cumbersome process with layers of bureaucracy, paperwork and corruption.
Women also usually are not in a position to mortgage property against a loan, because of a lack of property ownership and even in that they do not get the freedom as much as their male counterparts do.
Travel is a huge problem for women, even when the woman is not an entrepreneur. The ability of a women to travel and conveyance facility is limited. It also comes with a host of social problems like safety and security issues. Therefore it is not a small surprise that many women entrepreneurs naturally tend to start businesses from home which solves the problem of travel and infrastructure.

The Outliers
Even though there are many parameters influencing women's entrepreneurship, at the end of the day there exist considerable outliers also. These are cases who without any support systems, education or exposure are able to create and build businesses. These are women who confound most researchers as they do not follow the pattern. They are like the outliers, where all theories of entrepreneurship fail. These outliers exist among all kinds of women entrepreneurs, they can exist in India or anywhere in the word, where many times, they are not even aware of their stupendous achievements. Many questions come to the forefront when we look at such women - Are they born to lead? Do they have a genetic predisposition to be enterprising? Are they gifted in a special way?
Sometimes the urge to look at DNA and genetics becomes strong, when we encounter such people in society who defy all theories and statistics to demonstrate, that human beings are unique and many theories fail to give a full understanding of human behaviour.
However, as thinkers and planners we still need to look at people within the Bell curve, so that policies and facilitation planning can be done to provide opportunity to future women leaders and entrepreneurs.

Suggested facilitation for development of women entrepreneurs in India
1- Information on web about schemes for women, television advertisements, publications and radio programs on women entrepreneurship
2- Creche / daycare facilitation centres as part of school system in smaller towns specially.
3- Information about fund raising opportunities.
4- Better law and order in the country

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