The land of Indraprastha (400 BCE) is also the Dilli Sultanate (1206-1526 AD) which is home to the ‘Pagla Sultan’ – Mohammed Bin Tughlaq (1325-1351). Delhites don’t just carry this historical chip on their shoulders, they wear the whole culture around them proudly. While the country makes fun of the feisty Delhi women, they zip across a psyche’delhi’c city which is at some level syncretic. They juggle jobs, rock an impeccably groomed self and relish their gol gappas with élan. As history records, Tughlaq was known for his leadership skills and erudition which caused much piety in him. His maverick entrepreneurship was like a brilliant missile. Like many avant-garde visionaries, he misfired. Everything else a maverick can handle, but not ill-timed death to the ideas. At least the timing got rich 665 years later. Now it’s time for the entrepreneurs to follow suit. Especially women.
At times I felt like I had lost myself,
Cause people try to make you someone else,
I had to learn to trust my heart so things can change.
I came to a point where I could speak my mind.
And not feel I’m living in a box and keep the girl I am, concealed.
I finally found the strength so I can leave it all behind.
This is my time to shine.
This is my place to find all that I have inside I never knew.
This is my time to show.
What I must have always known that nothings impossible and dreams come true…
DELL commissioned the Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities) to assess and compare cities around the world in terms of their ability to attract and foster high impact women entrepreneurs. The findings of the current WE Cities’ study was structured in five areas of ‘Markets’, ‘Talent’, ‘Capital’, ‘Culture’ and ‘Technology’. The city of Delhi ranked 9th in the ‘Technology’ sub-section with Stockholm, Beijing, Singapore, Austin and Shanghai as the first five cities. On the overall analysis, Delhi ranked 22nd out of 25 cities across the world as a global city where women entrepreneurs can thrive. The first five being New York, Bay Area, London, Stockholm and Singapore. The variables for the ‘Technology’ sub-section of the study (in which Delhi ranked 9th), consisted of percentage of women who use the internet, smartphones, usage of phones for transactions and use of social media like Twitter. The study also lauds Delhi as a ‘city to watch out for’ regarding the technology cost. With that badge, Delhi finds itself in the elite club of cities like Toronto, Washington D.C., Sydney, Seattle, Munich, Beijing, Austin, Tokyo and Sao Paulo.
The WE Cities’ study considered important to look specifically at women entrepreneurs because they dramatically enhance the economy. It is also a felt need to break the male dominance in the sector. The basis of selecting sample size for the WE Cities’ assessment was the 2015 study, ‘DELL Future Ready Economies Model’ which took into consideration the city’s human capital, infrastructure and existing commercial conditions, along with the city’s telecom connectivity, existing employment, labor productivity, prevalent educational attainment of work force, extent of entrepreneur investment programs, culture, and lifestyle.
The Post-Doctoral thesis of an Ethiopian national Mulugeta Chane Wube titled, “Factors Affecting the Performance of Women Entrepreneurs in Micro and Small Enterprises”, shares an interesting perspective. He states that ‘transforming ideas into economic opportunities is the decisive issue of entrepreneurship’. He also emphasized that women led enterprise will alleviate poverty, bring about meaningful social and economic transaction, promote and enhance gender equality, women empowerment and boost social mobility in women. Wube in his thesis stated that entrepreneurship is the mark of independence and liberation from the government, private sector and NGOs in seeking employment. One can draw parallels between Ethiopia and India in this strain of thought. However, the WE Cities’ study offers a perspective and it concluded with the understanding that government should be a stakeholder in encouraging women led enterprises. The society needs to restructure its eco-system by challenging cultural norms and make the environment more enabling for women to participate in the economy.
It is indeed the need of the hour to celebrate role models so that more are created. Delhi can pop a champagne, yes. But the celebration has to be very brief as there is a long day ahead for all of us.
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