WISER 2023 Finds That Startups Can Lead the Way on Accelerating Women’s Workforce Participation in India


Alankrita Khera


Startups in India have the potential to create two million new jobs for women by 2030, suggests the Women in India’s Startup Ecosystem Report (WISER), adding that the ecosystem is uniquely positioned to attract female talent. The report finds that women made up 35% of the startup workforce in 2022 (the corresponding figure for the corporate sector was 19%) and indicates that the number can rise to 50% by 2030, with careful introspection within the startup community that enables timely and targeted action.

Led by ACT For Women, in collaboration with The Udaiti Foundation, the Women in India’s Startup Ecosystem Report (WISER) is India’s first and largest collaborative report on women in startups. With participation from over 200+ startups, including the likes of Urban Company, Meesho, and Zomato, the 2023 edition focuses on understanding the drivers for gender diversity across employment levels and spotlighting best practices that have helped improve women’s participation. The study adopted a mixed methodology approach with participation from 111 founders, 117 CHROs, and almost 800 startup employees.

WISER shows that startups offer women a highly conducive growth environment, by way of faster career progression and higher autonomy, which enables female employees to meet their career goals at different stages. Women-led startups in particular are observed to perform even better on gender equality, with startups that have at least one female founder seen to have 2.5 times women in senior roles as compared to male-founded startups.

The report, which had McKinsey & Company as the Knowledge Partner and LEAD at Krea University as the Research Partner, notes that startups are currently faring better than traditional enterprises, with 32% women in managerial positions vis a vis 21% in corporates. This gap widens further at the CXO level where corporates have only 5% of women in leadership positions against 18% in startups. However, while the overall figures are promising, significant work lies ahead – 10 years into their careers, 8 out of 10 men in startups occupy Director-level positions or higher, compared to only 5 in 10 women. It is poignant to note that contrary to popular perception, women’s motivations to join startups are no different from men, with both preferring accelerated learning and advancement, fast pace of work and innovation as key drivers.


A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training


Alankrita Khera


Recognised as one of the top 100 influential marketing leaders in India, Alankrita currently serves as a Director at ACT Capital Foundation where she leads the charge on brand and platform strategy for the organisation.

With almost 2 decades of multidisciplinary experience, she has previously worked with broadcast media brands like Bloomberg UTV, Times Television Network & Viacom18 before pivoting to the social impact impact space with organisations like Teach For India & CRY.

A licensed deep sea diver and published author, she’s also a TEDx speaker, a jury panellist for DMA Asia Echo Awards as well as ACEF Awards and an advisory board member for Foster & Forge Foundation.

If her professional journey has given her anything, it’s a belief in the power of potential; that every individual is capable of changing the world!

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