(first published in the Philippine Online Chronicles, September 27, 2011)
by Dr. Herminia R. Fajardo, SERDEF Media Bureau
The world has been witnessing, for some time now, the emergence of a fast growing breed of women entrepreneurs. This phenomenon has brought to light female managerial and entrepreneurial talents complemented by the feminine attributes of good people skills, nurturing nature, and firm leadership.
In the United States women have been starting businesses at twice the rate of men over the past several years before the recent recession. Likewise, Japanese women have been going out of their shell not only to join the work force but also to set up job-creating businesses, no doubt pulled by the globalization of Japan’s economy, social demographics of an aging population, diversification of lifestyles, and technological innovation.
The growing participation of women in entrepreneurship has resulted in the achievement of global equity as women fulfill their dreams of recognition and independence. They have become contributors not only to their respective households but also to the larger economy as they exercise their knowledge and talents.
With the harnessing of this erstwhile unutilized resource, women entrepreneurs have become key players in economic growth in all countries, particularly in low and middle income countries, like the Philippines.
Global gender gap
In spite of these recent development, the gender gap in entrepreneurship has not been bridged in many parts of the globe.
Studies on women and entrepreneurship conducted in 2007 in Babson College showed the varying degree to which women have been engaging in businesses in different countries, as influenced by social norms and culture. Overall, there is a persistent gender gap in new business creation and business ownership in most countries. Interestingly, this gender difference is more pronounced in high-income countries, with Europe and Asia showing a greater gap than in Latin America and the Carribean.
The Babson study revealed general characteristics of women entrepreneurs that indicate continuing studies that should be country specific. Opportunity entrepreneurship is globally claimed to be lower among females than males. On the other hand, there is no gender gap in necessity-driven entrepreneurship.
The study also found that females tend to prefer consumer product businesses rather than industrial processing or service ones. They have also been characterized to be less optimistic, with lower self-confidence than men in starting a business.
Pinay entrepreneurs close gap
The good news is that the gender gap in entrepreneurship does not seem to exist in the Philippines!