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Women entrepreneurs needed—stat!

On Sunday we will mark International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #GenerationEquality—a campaign that seizes on the momentum of a new generation of activists working to close the gaps between men and women. I am proud to be part of this movement by highlighting data that shows where progress is being made and where gaps still exist.

As we reflect on the progress to advance gender equality, we take a closer look at women’s entrepreneurship. We turn to the World Bank Gender Data Portal for comprehensive sex-disaggregated indicators harmonized across countries and time.

Why should we care about women entrepreneurship? In lower income countries, working as an employee is the exception, not the norm for men and women. Only 7% of women ages 15 and up are employed as wage workers in low-income countries, compared to 18% of men (this includes public and private sector jobs as employees, formal and informal). Female entrepreneurship (and self-employment, in general)—working without a boss, be it in a micro, small, medium, and large enterprises—consequently becomes an important vehicle for women’s empowerment.

Here we take a closer look at one segment of being a business owner, excluding microenterprise ownership—the largest category of business owner in the developing world for both men and women—due to a lack of systematic data on this group.

Globally, only 1 in 3 small, medium, and large businesses are owned by women. This rate varies across and within regions, from a low of 18% in South Asia to a high of 50% in Latin America & Caribbean.  In East Asia & Pacific, South Korea has the lowest rate of women business owners, with just 19% of firms, and the Federated States of Micronesia has the highest, with 87% of firms owned by women. Similarly, in the Middle East, it goes from a low of 7% in the Republic of Yemen to a high of 49% in Tunisia.  Read the whole article from the World Bank  below

Further reading : Gender related resources from our Library Knowledge Hub section and Library online catalogue