This is an article ‘Minding the gender gap in entrepreneurship’ by Marc Primo
Every business serves as the backbone of a country's economy and the gateway to opportunity for millions of workers worldwide. Today, with the speed technology has shifted to mobile apps, Web3 platforms like the Metaverse and trade to earn investments allow individuals to quickly draw up a business plan and model where many participate in their seed ventures. In India, women in business have contributed vastly to developing the country's startup industry. Yet, despite this entrepreneurial progress, many still wonder how the global market is minding the gender gap today.
In India, around 20% of female entrepreneurs currently head lucrative micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. Despite the present challenges in terms of gender gaps, this low number is already more impressive than in previous years, thanks to better business engagement for women. Still, more support and research are needed to create more impactful opportunities for female entrepreneurs in the country that would be sustainable in the long term.
More data-driven on the business plan
To address the existing gender gap worldwide, women need to participate in more research-based studies on local markets and consumer behavior. Doing so will allow them to formulate better strategies with more precise insights to help them align the current economic scenario with their business models. After all, every business anchors on meticulous research and a keen sense of the latest business trends.
Quantifiable revenues are also derived from data gathered from analytic research regardless of what niche industry women entrepreneurs might want to focus on. Such data can also give them the proper recommendations to address which current barriers are prevalent in terms of gender differences in the market and traditional barriers.
By developing a step-by-step plan to help women entrepreneurs thrive in today's niche markets, ample access to information and trends from all over their respective industries is critical. Fortunately, there are usually hundreds of resources available from primary and secondary in virtually every industry you can think of today.
Aside from that, online and face-to-face training programs can also help provide female entrepreneurs with a clear picture of how their chosen businesses might fare in today's ever-changing economy.
The need to embrace tech
In terms of technology, more women today are growing fond of tech advancements and innovations, particularly those in the Millennial and Generation Z brackets. According to recent studies, 71% of today's working women have already worked in a tech-related company. Despite having a more dominant male population, more women are now emerging as tech industry leaders. Take Amazon, for example, which currently has a female leadership of 45%. Such a number only shows that more companies are looking to be more gender-neutral regarding executive-level positions and are ready to welcome the ladies in the boardroom.
However, if you think 2022 is the year where the gender gap in tech becomes equal, think again. Currently, only one in four leadership positions is held by a female in giant tech companies like Google, Meta, Apple, and Microsoft.
Of course, technology is a living thing in that it continues to evolve through time and trends, and such developments may have been challenging for working women previously. Still, today's generation is out to level out the playing field as more individuals are gaining interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM. In other words, STEM has borne much fruit throughout the years that there are enough jobs for women to take on.
Building communities and strengthening networks
Another thing that female entrepreneurs should focus on in today's highly volatile economy is forging partnerships with the right networks, government entities, and partners. Scaling the business continues to be an evolving trend nowadays, and knowing which platforms and community channels can help drive business growth is essential, especially for women. There's more need for proper guidance, mentorship, and advocacy programs to establish a young business in the market led by independent women than men.
To improve productivity, a clear review of market reach, possible financial assistance, and available training should be the primary focus before launching a company. Drawing up projected profits after determining the niche market behavior and preferences for the first year, then pushing for viable investor relations is the typical route for today's startups.
Again, here's where the tech comes in. Once data analytics is derived to determine the essential projections, identifying which platforms to use in terms of tech and social networks can help women entrepreneurs to calibrate, adjust, or improve their business models as they run the business.
The benefits of closing the gap
As of March this year, the annual World Bank's Women, Business and the Law report reported that nearly 2.4 billion women are not afforded equal economic opportunities worldwide. That statistic means that women only enjoy around 75% of legal rights compared to men globally.
Fortunately, 23 countries have already started to address the glaring gender gap since 2021, when the pandemic was creating much harsher disruptions. In the Middle East and such emerging markets as North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, women business leaders registered higher numbers in 2021. Still, they remained at the tail end of the worldwide list. More countries in the region have already mapped out new reforms on the civil code and other relevant federal laws to protect women and provide better opportunities in terms of livelihood.
Perhaps, the most improved aspect when minding the gender gap on a global scale reflects on parental benefits for working mothers, reinforced protection against sexual harassment, anti-gender discrimination initiatives, and even increased paid leaves, among others. Such continuing initiatives for women have empowered more to display their competence in previously male-dominated jobs such as Finance, Tech, and Engineering.
Going back to India, a Mckinsey Global Institutereport predicts that women have the potential to contribute over $770 billion to the country's GDP by 2025 if they were extended the same economic rights as men. Based on that study and with today's level of competence among women workers and entrepreneurs, more initiatives to close the gender gap can perhaps help economies fully recover from the losses brought about by the current global disruptions.