As we mark International Women’s Day today, we are reminded of the work that still lies ahead for women in business in Africa and across the globe. Despite increasing gender parity in access to education – female labour participation has not improved for the most part.
Are there still barriers for women in business in Africa?
Africa is the only region in the world where more women than men become entrepreneurs, yet the hurdles are many. Both male and female entrepreneurs face constraints such as lack of capital. Women however are specifically impacted by social constraints such as discrimination. As a result, female-owned enterprises report monthly profits that are on average 38% lower than those of male-owned businesses.
According to the World Bank, data collected in ten African countries indicate that on average, male-owned enterprises have six times more capital than female-owned enterprises. The fact that women have less access to assets affects their ability to obtain medium-sized loans and in turn, impacts the growth of their enterprises. Female entrepreneurs in Africa also tend to confine themselves to the traditionally female sectors, usually because of a lack of information.
How can women win big as business owners?
By hosting many more tailored events focused on empowering female business owners, it will educate and offer more tools and resources needed to increase chances of success for those women and also provide the opportunity for emerging female entrepreneurs to learn from those who have overcome the odds to become high-growth entrepreneurs across the continent. Their lessons will definitely add value and hopefully also direct policies to encourage female owned business.
Hope for the future?
Women should actively participate and get informed about social, political and economic issues to sustain Africa’s democracy. The African government should create quality jobs, business opportunities and lot of legal protection for female startups.
With these, the African continent can raise women who can build better and monumental businesses.