Women in business: Can P2P lending bridge gender gap in access to capital in India?
Friday, June 19, 2015
Swami Vivekananda had famously said that “The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.” Getting women economically empowered and having them contributing to the economy is vital as women represent half of the global workforce.
For a country like India where there is a distinct buzz around startups and entrepreneurship, the number of women entrepreneurs and women in business still continue to be far and few. Entrepreneurship as a segment is still largely dominated by men, despite tremendous acumen and success of women entrepreneurs.
While there are societal and mindset issues, one of the primary hardship that women in businesses face are related to lack of capital. Banks and mainstream financial institutions still consider women as risky borrowers and doubt their ability to succeed. Ranging from management and sales ability of women in business to their priority to family, financial institutions have always been wary about extending credit.
A recent report by MasterCard’s Connectors Project points out that in India 58 % of women report difficulty accessing credit, savings, or jobs because of their gender. According to last month’s World Bank report titled “The Global Findex Database 2014: Measuring Financial Inclusion Around the World”, for period between 2011 and 2014 show that the gender gap in access to financial services remained steady at 9% between men and women in developing countries.