Mar 062014

Photographs of Women  Entrepreneurs of India

Last year on International women’s day I wrote about some of the women travelers I have been fortunate to know and who inspire other women travelers both by the solo travel they do, as well as some of the tough adventure activities they engage in. You can read that post here.

Women who travel and lead

We all know about the top women executives of India Inc. the women who have broken the glass ceiling and raised the bar for men also. But there are millions of women across India who are CEOs of their own homes and small business but nobody knows much about them.

In last one year, I have traveled to many places especially small town India and everywhere I was impressed by women entrepreneurs.  A lot of these women have really small businesses but are unable to scale up due to many factors like lack of funds, accessibility to market, cartels of middlemen who do not want them to compete etc.

This is where the not for profit microfinance organization Rang De comes into the picture.  Rang De has the mission to provide microloans to rural entrepreneurs for professions like weaving, cattle rearing, grocery shops, tea business, flower selling etc. As I have written in past about Rang De which you can read in these posts

In today’s post, I am giving you pictures of some of the women entrepreneurs and working women that I clicked in different places in India. Please note these women are not directly associated with Rang De , but are very similar to the women whom Rang De supports. Each picture has its own story and I hope to write in detail about them, but till then here are some of the working women and entrepreneurs of the middle India. You see running a business is not restricted to Mr. Ambani and Mr. Tata, or the new age geeks starting their dot coms.

smiling girls selling flowers gudimalkapur

Flower sellers outside Gudimalkapur Flower Market

These ladies sell flowers outside Gudimalkapur flower market in Hyderabad, they don’t own shops in the market so can not sell in the proper market. So our enterprising women have set the business on the road, all you need is some flower baskets, a smile and an attitude that can move mountains. Guru Bhai aka Dhiru Bhai would have felt proud to know these women.

Weaver women pochampally

A Pochampally woman weaver maintaining the tradition and substituting income

Above picture is of a weaver woman from Pochampally village famous for Pochampally Sarees, while most men are moving to more lucrative jobs outside the village, women are maintaining the tradition and supplementing the family income.

portrait of women weaver pochampally

A Weaver woman poses with a picture of her husband who works in city


I was on a GHAC trek to a small hill fort in rural Mahbubnagar where this entrepreneur below runs a small tea stall near a rural bus stand.   I first noticed her stall, due to the small hand-operated fan, that pumps air into the charcoal fired stove that she uses to make hot tea.

women in road side tea stall

A tea stall owner in rural Mahbubnagar

vanita vegetable seller ballarshah station

Vanita: The smartest  women entrepreneurs  I have met

The above picture is of Vanita, the smartest business women I have met, she sells cucumbers at a small train station in Maharashtra ( no I am not telling you which one). As trains stop for only a few minutes, she has fixed price of 10 RS and 20 Rs for the cucumbers, so no hassle of change and haggling for the price and missing the train, err customers.

bamboo basket maker

Bamboo Basket Maker: Notice here kitchen in background

bamboo basket maker women

She makes baskets while he lazes around

 These bamboo basket makers are originally from Nellore district, but I met them on Mumbai Highway, the women make the baskets and do all the household work in their tents that they pitch next to the road. The guys? Well, you can see in the picture what they do.

Below is another vegetable vendor from outside Chilkur Balaji Temple, near Gandipet Lake

Fruit Seller Near Visa God Temple Hyderabad

Fruit Seller near Visa God Temple Hyderabad


Below is the picture of a Banjara girl she plays this small drum kind of instrument, while her younger sister jumps through hoops in the trains. They move from one station to another. I wonder what future she or her family has? Do they even exist in our government records to even matter?

banjara girl with small drum dhol

A Banjara girl in a train

The next picture is from our apartment complex, which I clicked from our balcony. I was waiting for our daughter to come from school, when I noticed these housekeeping ladies sitting and chatting while taking a break.

housekeeping ladies on break

All in a day’s work: Circle of Life

We started the post with smiling pictures, but this last picture, almost made me cry.  I was trying to click some birds in a canal in coastal Andhra Pradesh when this woman in her 50s came into frame. Carrying a heavy load of firewood, she entered the water slowly, balancing the wood on her head and slowly lifting her sari so that it does not get wet.  As I was trying to frame the picture she was already in the knee-deep water. There was no bridge in sight so this must be her daily routine, as she carefully took slow but firm steps in the canal. I could not click more pictures of her and watched her glide out of the water with the grace of a ballerina, only there was no medal or applause waiting for her.  Respect.

Women with firewood in knee deep water

Crossing the canal: She must be doing it routinely 


This Women’s Day 8th of March, Rang De is running a special campaign #SistersinArms, for #WomensDay, check the campaign and support some of the women who are slowly but steadily building a new India. I am supporting Rang De’s campaign #SistersinArm what about you? You can also start your own campaign by visiting this link.

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  16 Responses to “Women Entrepreneurs of India: Some Pictures from my travels”

Comments (15) Pingbacks (1)
  1. Hello 🙂 You have a very nice collection of stories here. Just wanted to know the exact locationa nd name of the woman who runs the tea stall in Mahbubnagar? I am making a documenatry on tea and wanted to feature a few women tea stall owners. Thanks!

    • Hi Shweta: Thanks for your kind words. This picture of the woman tea stall owner was clicked near the base of Koilkonda Fort, it is about 10-15 minute by auto ride from Mahbubnagar Bus Station. I am not sure of the exact location of the village, it is one of the nondescript villages we stopped for tea while hiking down from the fort, through the back side of the fort.

  2. great idea and nice variety 🙂

  3. What a beautiful post it is! Your collection is very amazing & varied.

    Love it.

  4. Loved your post…
    Thanks for sharing this…

  5. What a beautiful places, the many faces of women getting economic freedom, inch by inch 🙂

  6. Oh wow, what a great tribute! I loved this post. It took me ages to get through it, because I was dwelling with those amazing pictures of yours.What ladies! And I love how you present Vanita and the others… with such … warmth.. Hats of for supportive guys like you:-)

  7. Very nice, loved the concept

  8. Interesting photos of women entrepreneurs. Women have to work harder and longer and reap fewer rewards sadly. Great post.

  9. These are some brilliant clicks. Travelled in to their world for an hour! Kudos to u

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