Entrepreneurs: The Gender Gap

In 2010, 104 million women in 59 countries—representing more than 52 percent of the world’s population––started and managed new business ventures. At the same time, in only one of these 59 countries––Ghana––did more women than men participate in entrepreneurship.

Why are women still trailing behind? According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study, women are just as likely as men to see entrepreneurship as attractive, but many lack the confidence to pursue it, and they also tend to have less personal contact with entrepreneurs.

Perhaps surprisingly, the least confident women are those in the developed world. In less developed economies, necessity apparently motivates women to start their own businesses. The highest proportions of women who launch their own businesses are found in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

The study suggests that policy makers should work to promote positive societal attitudes toward women’s engagement in entrepreneurship. The authors call for assistance to women-run business start-ups by making opportunities and resources available. They also recommend that governments support women’s business growth with technical assistance and education.

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