Pursuit of happiness: How entrepreneurship is helping rural women find their own mantra of being ‘happy’

by Joseph K. Clark

Autonomy comes forth as a chief factor of happiness in women entrepreneurs. By Prof. Piyush Sinha, Prof. Rajesh Gupta, and Dr. Rooba Hasan

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: In India, the women population constitutes about 48 percent of the total population. However, only 14 percent of them take to entrepreneurship, according to the Seventh Economic Census, 2019. A decline is also noticed in the employment of the working women population as per the 2014 NSSO Report. This decline is sharper among rural women than their urban counterparts. It is arduous to visualize a sustainable future with this small percentage of women entrepreneurs. It is suggested that the country’s GDP would grow by $0.7 trillion by 2025 when women would take to entrepreneurship and other economic activities. The Covid-19 pandemic has also accentuated the need for women’s employment.

happiness

The answer to this rising need for employment lies in creating micro-enterprises that address the local markets and use the local resources to enhance economic development. The government has attempted to facilitate rural entrepreneurship and skill development. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced various programs like Make in India and Standup India to make Bharat Atma Nirbhar. Another initiative called Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Program was launched by the Finance Minister in 2014-15, where the rural people can start their own enterprises and upsurge the living standard and their purchasing power. Rural entrepreneurship corresponds to the establishment of business units in rural or remote areas. Rural entrepreneurship can be stipulated as “Entrepreneurship emerging at village level in multiple fields of an endeavor like business, industry, agriculture and can work as a potent factor for economic development”.

Rural entrepreneurship has produced new economic opportunities for women in the rural areas of the country. For these rural women, entrepreneurship is boosting their financial status and transforming and empowering them. Studies show that women entrepreneurs can very well run and grow their businesses using a well-structured approach. Studies also confirm that women entrepreneurs are exceptionally innovative, which plays a significant role in their success. For many researchers, happiness has come out as a critical outcome of entrepreneurship. People invariably look for “Happiness” when they judge the overall quality of their life. To upsurge the happiness in a society, one needs to recognize the factors influencing their happiness levels. Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winner for Economics in 2002, suggests that happiness is a subjective issue, but it is measurable through quantitative instruments.

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Sense of Happiness among Rural Women Entrepreneurs

Recently, a pilot study was conducted under the SVEP Scheme of  NRLM, MoRD, Government of India, to assess the happiness quotient among women entrepreneurs from rural areas of India. In contrast to available general studies on happiness, little is explored on the joy of rural women entrepreneurs in a developing country like India, where both gender equality and socio-economic independence of rural women are significant concerns. Results from a field study indicate that subjective factors that drive happiness in rural women entrepreneurs are autonomy, personal growth, self-acceptance, purpose in life, authenticity, relatedness, competence, and mastery.

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