YUVA was invited to attend a talk on “Gender Inequality in Entrepreneurship” at the US Embassy, Port Louis. The panel of speakers addressing the issue included Sadhna Sokhal, Managing Director of Legem Ltd and African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) alumna, Karen Yvon, Director of Keda and Nazeem Junggee, Mandela Washington Fellow and Director of 1950 Studios.
Gender Inequality is one of the often-raised issues that have existed since the beginning of interaction between men and women. No doubt, gender plays a major part in the division of labour in today’s society. Gender inequality in Entrepreneurship has given rise to numerous policies, aiming at wiping off gender discrimination on recruitment, salary and promotion processes.
Sadhna Sokhal, a barrister at law, chose to be an entrepreneur, rather than practising as an advocate. She is a dynamic lady handling her family business which deals with diamonds. According to Sadhna, gender inequality is rampant in her field of work. Being in a male-dominated field, she had to face countless gender-based difficulties and challenges since she joined as a diamond trader. While sharing her personal experiences of being a woman entrepreneur, Sadhna describes how difficult it was for her to travel alone to the mines in different countries, where she could see not a single woman working at the mine. Additionally, the behaviour of others towards her was very gender-biased. However, she faced all the challenges boldly and today she is the managing director of one of the leading diamond companies in Mauritius.
Karen Yvon was one among the laureates who got a scholarship by the Government of Mauritius to study in USA. As promised, after pursuing her studies in the USA, she came back to serve her country. She is a young entrepreneur who chose to start a business of her own in Mauritius. Karen points out the lack of training and guide for emerging entrepreneurs. She identifies the lack of knowledge that women face on managing finances for their business and also finding funders for their SMEs. Moreover, Karen stressed on the typical Mauritian mentality of mingling only within a restricted group. If a new person comes randomly to interact with that particular group, the person is rejected and ridiculed. This makes it difficult to connect with new people.
Nazeem Junggee, nevertheless, asserts that he faces no inequality in his business. He proudly mentions that he and his wife are the co-directors of an enterprise and he says that it works perfectly fine with them. He believes in his wife and confesses that there are many tasks that he finds challenging to do, but his wife manages them pretty well. Also, he states that no decision in their professional and personal life is gender-biased.