While administrators and planners talk too much about women entrepreneurship in Kashmir the broader indicators of women entrepreneurship are not encouraging for the future of the women entrepreneurship in Kashmir. Undeniably the low intensity interests of women in industrial entrepreneurship can also be attributed to the benign patriarchal norms of the Kashmiri society. Barring the elite and clergy classes thecommon Kashmiri women from middleclass and the lower strata’s have always been a part of a stressful economic scenario. Most of the women across the valley have always been engaged with the historic cottage industry of spinning (Pashmina and other famous yarns). This vocation was pursued within the confines of their homes, in tandem with tending to house and children, never leaving the premises except to procure raw material. Within the trader and artisan class there existed a unique form of gender equity, born of a complementary relation between the men and women as they pursued their family trade. While fisherwomen took care of selling the catch after men procured it, as the male bakers did the actual baking, women were responsible for selling. It is not unusual to find numerous eulogies to the unique contributions of the tradeswomen, tributes to their beauty, industriousness, and wit in Kashmiri literature and folklore are replete. In rural areas, women have always been counted as sturdy worker, tending farms, cultivating rice, and raising cattle. Other professions that women have been historically involved in are embroidering, carpet weaving, and vegetable vending besides being the traditional birth attendants as well. The recent years have seen an increase in visibility of women in professional fields, as well as a swift change in their conventional roles has come by.
Nothing new in it that the multidimensional issues concerning women entrepreneurship are debated and discussed in Kashmir, but the issues confronting women entrepreneurship are yet to be addressed by J&K Government’s Industries and Commerce Department. Consequently the general perception about the emergence of women entrepreneurship in Kashmir is very much elusive in Kashmir.
While economy, globalization and media can be the factors responsible, the catalytic effects of the ills of governance on the lives of women cannot be negated. The governance by all standards of understandabilities can “push women into the public sphere, nudging them to carve out a space for themselves and their humanitarian demands. There is indeed an apparent and tragic correlation between women’s increased participation in the workforce (from white-collar jobs and high-end careers. The absence of adequate financial resources are forcing hapless women into finding financial sustenance and other spaces of responsibility which were left gaping open in their small close-knit society. As more and more Kashmiri women are getting education and jobs, there are indications of a heightened clamor for their participation, as a new vision for addressing the issues concerning the women entrepreneurship has not been unfolded yet. Nothing new in it that the multidimensional issues concerning women entrepreneurship are debated and discussed in Kashmir, but the issues confronting women entrepreneurship are yet to be addressed by J&K Government’s Industries and Commerce Department. Consequently the general perception about the emergence of women entrepreneurship in Kashmir is very much elusive in Kashmir.