There is much praise for women’s entrepreneurship. And for a good reason, being an entrepreneur when you are a woman is often part of the fighter’s career. Because in a (slightly) sexist world, the entrepreneur has to prove himself/herself in spite of an unequalled finesse, organization and resistance. Fortunately for society in general, the lines are shifting and it is no longer rare to meet women leaders. An overview of women’s entrepreneurship and its benefits.
State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in the World and Europe
Worldwide, indicators of female entrepreneurship are in the green. According to a GEM study, in 74 countries, the rate of women’s entrepreneurial activity has increased by 10% since the last survey in 2015. The male/female gap decreased by 5%. Today, therefore, there are more women than men in the world than men in entrepreneurship.
In the richer countries, this increase in women’s entrepreneurship is less marked. The world’s regions, which serve as examples of gender parity, are Asia, Latin America and more confidentially, Sub-Saharan Africa. In some countries in these areas, the proportion of women entrepreneurs is equal to or even higher than that of men. As for Brazil and the Philippines, this rate of female entrepreneurship triumphs at 20%. In France and Germany, it is only 3.4% and 3%.
Why these disparities in the world of entrepreneurship?
Because in developing countries, economic competition remains weaker, providing more opportunities for women entrepreneurs. In more developed economies, women’s entrepreneurial projects face a series of psychological and symbolic barriers that discourage women from becoming entrepreneurs. Only 35% of women in developed countries believe they have the capacity to start their own businesses, compared to 67% in less developed countries. This reflects a significant cultural gap.
In another study, from the strategic analysis centre on women’s entrepreneurship, hypotheses of specific obstacles to women’s entrepreneurship are put forward on different levels:
– socio-demographic: degree level, number of children,
– contextual: conjuncture, national particularities
– psychological, linked to gender stereotypes
In summary, the survey concludes that there is an internalization of women’s entrepreneurial brakes. The latter have differences in risk behaviours and a lower motivation to become richer. In the continuity, it emerges that women have a lower demand for funding as a result of projects of more measured scale. Finally, the study highlights the outperformance of women-owned businesses once they reach a certain size.
Is women the future of the company?
Young women in Generation Y, between the ages of 25 and 35, tend to rebalance the statistics. Is that the sign of a decomplexed age group?” They understood that a company, without risk-taking, measured, managed, could not develop. The 25-35 year olds allow themselves much more than their elders. They’re knocking on doors, looking for mentors, entrepreneurs who have been successful and inspiring,”says Viviane Beaufort, a lawyer and founder of the ESSEC Women’s Enterprise program. The figures seem to confirm the trend.
According to another study (Hiscox, out of 6 countries in 2014), 56% of start-ups worldwide are headed by women. This international feminization is also evident in France. The rate of individual business start-ups by women has risen from 33% to 38% in 10 years. More exposed to unemployment than men, the financial crisis of 2008 prompted women to undertake and innovate.
Women as performance drivers for companies
Far removed from the stereotypes of housewives, entrepreneurs and business leaders are true benefactors. According to a study published by the International Labour Organization, women-owned companies are more successful.
The following are some observations from this survey:
– First, they improve the health of publicly traded companies. Women’s representation on boards of directors influences the financial profitability of companies. Are they the best companies that employ the most women, or are they the women who choose high-performing companies or the women who support company performance? The question is asked. The answer seems to lie in a mix of the 3.
– Second, women leaders participate in organizational excellence. According to a McKinsey &Company study, there is a striking correlation between this organizational excellence and the presence of women in the management bodies of the companies surveyed.
– Then, women-led companies show better growth. Out of 40,000 SMEs screened by the Women Equity consulting firm, women-led SMEs perform better. This indicates a better resilience of the female male.
Finally, women have an oversized profile in relation to the position held. There would be a “gender imperative” in our society, which would require women to constantly prove themselves. They arrive on duty over-qualified, over-armed and over-prepared. A logical reason, among many others, for their performance.
In conclusion, the trend of the development of female entrepreneurship is confirmed in the statistics. But also in mentalities, which are evolving. Because, with indisputable and strategic qualities for companies, women are in a strong position to (re)take power.
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