"In spite of India's economic progress in the last decade, women's participation in the labour force has declined and is expected to be under pressure due to labour trends, technological disruption and constraining social barriers," said lead author Megha Chawla, Partner, Bain & Company.
"Unlocking entrepreneurship amongst women in India is a complex effort, but it provides an unprecedented opportunity to change the economic and social trajectory of India and its women for generations to come," Chawla added.
"This will drive tremendous job creation and also deliver transformational social and personal outcomes for women," she added.
The report identified six dominant segments of women entrepreneurs and estimates India to have 13.5-15.7 million women-owned enterprises, representing approximately 20 per cent of all enterprises today.
In many cases, women are named as owners for financial and administrative reasons with no active role to play, which overstates true entrepreneurship amongst women.
Of all women-owned enterprises, a majority are single person enterprises, with the largest group represented by rural non-farm home-based business owners at 38 per cent, followed by urban self-employed women solopreneurs at 31 per cent, who usually work from home.
According to the study, the other dominant segments include rural agripreneurs who are farm-based business owners at 18 per cent and small business owners at 14 per cent - split across urban (6 per cent) and rural (8 per cent) - employing less than 10 employees and contributing most to employment generation.
Finally, there are the scalers, who employ more than 10 people and account for less than one per cent.
In total, these women entrepreneurs provide direct employment to an estimated 22 to 27 million people today.
The report projects an opportunity to accelerate both quantity and quality of entrepreneurship to create over 30 million women-owned enterprises out of which 12 million can generate employment.
"At Google we have been investing in scaled skilling efforts across SMBs, Startups and overcoming the digital gender gap in the country through the Internet Saathi program. Across all our programs, we have seen that women are hungry for opportunities to grow their household incomes," said Sapna Chadha, Senior Country Marketing Director, Google India and Southeast Asia.
"Hundreds of women in rural India want to learn more about doing business and many have already made the start to enhance their livelihoods. We are already running a pilot accelerator program for rural entrepreneurs from our Internet Saathi network," Chadha added.
According to Chadha, this joint effort report with Bain is a start to better understand the barriers facing the various types of women entrepreneurs across India and find synergies with like-minded companies and the government to accelerate women entrepreneurship in the country.