[Year in Review 2021] Setbacks, success, stories – 60 inspiring quotes on women entrepreneurship

From our comprehensive coverage of the entrepreneurship ecosystem this year, we present you 60 inspiring quotes on women changemakers!

Madanmohan Rao

Rekha Balakrishnan

[Year in Review 2021] Setbacks, success, stories – 60 inspiring quotes on women entrepreneurship

Thursday December 30, 2021,

10 min Read

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a regular feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our past articles. Share these gems and insights with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

Like last year, the pandemic this year posed severe challenges to women across the board, while also opening up new opportunities and avenues.

While surmounting diverse challenges, they pivoted, persisted, and never let their goals out of sight. They made new allies, forged partnerships, and found solidarity in sisterhood.

In this compilation, we shine the spotlight on the resilience and creativity of women in the society, startups, and corporates (see last year’s compilation here).

We have divided these 60 quotes into nine categories: The big picture, Barriers, The business world, Culture and images, Health and wellness, The India story, The world of entrepreneurship, Investing and finance, and Networking and support.

Make it a habit to check out our Daily Capsule, Weekly Founding Roundup, and quotes compilation StoryBites, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of each past week.

YourStory wishes all entrepreneurs and readers all the very best for 2022 and beyond, with much success and happiness!


The big picture

The global GDP could increase by $28 trillion in 2025 if men and women participated in their economies equally. - Hanna Birna Kristjansdottir, Reykjavík Global Forum

There are five dimensions in which a woman should be empowered – legal, mental, physical, emotional, and digital. - Aparna Rajawat, Pink Belt

Nobody can imagine having this Expo 2020 Dubai without paying a tribute to women who have played a significant role in nation-building. - Hind Alowais, Expo 2020 Dubai

Breaking stereotypes and building confidence in women that ‘you can do the job equally well, if not better’ takes time and involves constantly proving yourself. - Shivangi Singh, ‘Margarita with a Straw’


Women still face lots of challenges at the workplace – from a high gender pay gap to underrepresentation in leadership. - Priya Mahajan, Verizon Business Group

Despite all the progress we have made, the modern workplace is still replete with damaging customs and behaviours that hold women back. - Indra Nooyi, ‘My Life in Full’

If we want to redesign systems keeping women in mind, it must not be just to have them enter but also to retain them. - Naghma Mulla, EdelGive Foundation

Women are often dumped on at work too. They are asked to organise for certain parties or meetings and take notes. Why is it women and not men? - D Sangeeta, Gotara

Barriers stretch from gendered bias and discrimination, the lack of female role models in STEM, and limited access to STEM education, to societal and cultural norms of women taking the lead in caring duties at home. - Wendy Johnstone, Zendesk

The meaning of inclusivity has changed from just “allowing women to be a part of all workplaces” to safeguarding and promoting their right to have access to all these avenues. - Faakirah Junaid Rafiquee


The business world

We know from many studies that diversity is good for business – a diverse workforce is more innovative which, in turn, drives more revenue. And there’s the added benefit that it is the right thing to do. - Suman Gopalan, Freshworks

Women, especially working mothers, require more flexibility and companies are increasingly validating and encouraging this trend. - Swati Bhargava, CashKaro

While many organisations talk about diversity, inclusion is still not understood well enough. It is the bridge to retaining women in the workforce. - Sandhya Balakrishnan, Brillio

While there are several women at the junior level, the ranks of women investors dwindle as one progresses up the career ladder. - Arushi Jindal, Headway Circuit

Women often face significant barriers for career advancement rather than for entry into the workplace. - Bapsy Dastur, VFS Global

A number of companies start with a diverse employee base at the entry level, but it reduces significantly over time, and at senior levels. - Deepinder Goyal, Zomato

Culture and images

It is crucial for a culture to admire its women and have many women role models of different kinds - especially women who go through difficulties and emerge stronger. - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, 'The Last Queen'

Society is structured in a way that weight gain in men is ignored but fingers are pointed when women put on weight. - Rithu Rai, The Healthy Company

Women have been reduced to a sum of their parts. We’ve been told to not only be insecure about our hair, face, weight, and height, but also the way our breasts, vulvas, and bottoms should look. - Sachee Malhotra, That Sassy Thing

It is never an easy task for a woman, especially a local tribal woman to stand on her own feet economically, and be able to support their household requirement. - Sushana Guriya

Gender is not just binary. It is multiple and real. - Kalki Subramaniam, Sahodari Foundation

When a woman works from home, she is considered a housewife only. - Lalita Patil, Gharachi Aathvan

The need of the hour, then, is for brands to understand mums’ concerns and address the nutritional gaps in children through their offerings. - Prashant Sinha, Momspresso.com

All of us have our strengths but we also have our weaknesses, and we simply cannot be a superwoman every day - can we accept that about us? - Tuhina Pandey, IBM

Juggling between work and a perfect mother resulted in an overtiring circle of guilt and emotional swings. - Rajpreet Kaur, Say Cheese


Health and wellness

Our education system is not conducive to women speaking about [feminine health] issues in a classroom setting. - Navya Nanda, Aara Health

Periods are a natural biological process that a woman or girl is entitled to manage hygienically, and with dignity. Declaring them as a basic human right will go a long way in understanding their real significance and dispelling wrong notions about them. - Shripriya Khaitan Dhelia, FabPad

Half the women in the developing world do not have access to any kind of period product. - Ira Guha, Asan

Most activewear brands in the country are largely focussed towards men, leaving very limited options designed specifically for the Indian women. - Minu Margeret, BlissClub

The India story

As a country, our goal should be to graduate from women development to women-led development. - President Ram Nath Kovind

80 percent of agricultural work is done by women and people in rural India. For their livelihoods, rural households depend on resources from the local environment. - Crispino Lobo, WOTR

For India to be the world’s manufacturing hub, we must prioritise upskilling and generating employment for our women workforce. - Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola

With just one in five MSMEs being run by women, India is losing out on the globally proven superiority of women-led business. - Akshay Soni, The/Nudge Accelerator


90 percent of women remain outside the formal workforce and this is the time for companies and policymakers to really engage with women and structure something relevant for them. - Gayathri Vasudevan, LabourNet Services India

Women in science in India needs more role models they can identify with. So, we need to take up the challenge of preparing the next generation of women scientists. - Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon

We are witnessing a paradigm shift in narratives pertaining to women and battle bigotry at a community level. - Mrinal Jha, MAJ Productions

In our country, it is sad how people label a physically disabled girl - that she is not eligible for marriage. - Prashant Gade, Inali Foundation

India has a huge capacity for innovation – a capacity that can be deepened and strengthened with greater participation from women. - Srini Maddali, Qualcomm India

Women, in particular, are making more empowered dating choices centred on them and their needs. - Samarpita Samaddar, Bumble India


The world of entrepreneurship

Companies with female founders perform 63 percent better than those founded by male peers. However, most women don’t receive the support to pursue this dream. - Simran Handa, Entreprenher

Female founding members in the team add immense value and a different perspective to problem-solving. - Maya Varma, Joker & Witch

Women as entrepreneurs must work with their innate flair for multiple skills, natural ability to multitask, and allow themselves to be led by common sense, wisdom, and compassion, which is in the DNA of our gender. - Archana Kumari Singh, House of Badnore

Social acceptance of women entrepreneurs is as important as skilling and funding. - Ratna Mehta, Wadhwani Foundation

It’s not easy being a woman entrepreneur; people don’t trust you that easily or take you seriously. But it gets better over time. I believe women are born to multi-task, and that works in our favour. - Pankhuri Raj, Myshka

It is significantly harder to be a woman entrepreneur in itself; it gets harder to be a mompreneur. - Sonia Agarwal Bajaj, Whiz League

It is imperative to celebrate successes to encourage other women to enter the entrepreneurial ecosystem. - Ratna Mehta, Wadhwani Foundation

The role of women entrepreneurs is critical to India’s economic growth. - Richa Sharma, PhonePe


Investing and finance

Out of 10,000+ angel investors in India, only one percent are women. This is not due to lack of intent but due to lack of awareness. - Deeksha Ahuja, Encubay Angel Network

Women investors will be helpful in explaining why females will look at financial products differently than men. - Radhika Agarwal, Blume Ventures

The chasm is closing in now as we have more role models, more women VCs and more accelerators focused on nurturing women-led startups. - Anisha Singh, She Capital

As women, we are never really taught to take care of finances entirely. - Pari Choudhary, Bunaai

We believe women are the best borrowers. They do not default and return loans on time. - Shweta Aprameya, ARTH Wealth


Networking and support

Finding a tribe of successful women to share your journey with is extremely rewarding. - ElsaMarie D’Silva, Safecity

The need of the hour is a sisterhood where women work towards uplifting other women. - Arya Murali, WITI India

While women entrepreneurs face formidable challenges, the combination of new market platforms, peer-support networks, and role models will make women entrepreneurs a force to reckon with before the end of the decade. - Madan Padaki, GAME

As more women take on entrepreneurship, it serves as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation, by enhancing women's agency and status. - Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog

There is definitely a need for spaces supporting women's networking in terms of style, needs and goals. - Namita Dalmiya, Enzia Ventures

Networking is essential for everyone, not just women. It becomes especially important for women as there are fewer role models for them to learn from. - Kalpana Behara, Uber

It’s a myth that strong women leaders don’t get along. - Ramita Vyas, VFS Global

Women who have broken the glass ceiling, overcome a host of challenges and struggles, and pave the way for others to do so as well. - Rashi Sanon Narang, Heads up for Tail

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Edited by Megha Reddy