GEM Report calls for action to support women entrepreneurs


According to a new report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), women continue to make major strides in entrepreneurship, but they need more support from policymakers and program managers.

The new 2021/2022 GEM Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship – released on November 18 and authored by Amanda Elam, a researcher at Babson College’s Diana International Research Institute – illustrates the state of women’s entrepreneurship two years into the pandemic of COVID-19. The report found that women’s start rates fell 15% from 2019 to 2020, but remained constant in 2021.

The report also highlighted gender differences in entrepreneurial intentions. Women saw a steeper decline than men in intentions to start a business within three years and overall start-up rates in 2020, but not in upper-middle-income countries.

“Women make up two out of five start-up entrepreneurs,” Elam said. “Entrepreneurship is part of the economy where women continue to play an active role. It is important for educators, leaders and policy makers to understand the drivers of gender differences in this critical market activity. »


GEM, a global consortium of academic researchers co-founded by Babson College in 1999, studies entrepreneurial motivation and activity around the world. Her latest report highlights actions policymakers and others should take to support women entrepreneurs.

The report highlights the gender composition of high-potential startup populations, the impacts of the pandemic on male and female entrepreneurs, and structural and environmental inequalities that need to be addressed at the policy level.

“Entrepreneurship is part of the economy where women continue to play an active role. It is important for educators, leaders and policy makers to understand the drivers of gender differences in this critical market activity. »
Amanda Elam, researcher at the Diana International Research Institute at Babson College

“GEM is the only global research source that collects data on entrepreneurship directly from the source – entrepreneurs,” said GEM Executive Director Aileen Ionescu-Somers. “Applying a well-informed gender lens to evidence guides policy makers and program managers toward more effective tailored solutions to overcome barriers to starting and growing businesses for women entrepreneurs.”

The report provided advice for policy makers and program managers to help overcome barriers to starting and growing businesses for women entrepreneurs:

  1. Given that women entrepreneurs are underrepresented in traditionally male-dominated sectors, policymakers can provide equitable support to women entrepreneurs across all sectors and countries, especially in male-dominated sectors where negative stereotypes are prevalent. triggered.
  2. Given that women represent one in three high-potential entrepreneurs, policy programming is needed to mobilize funding and other support to sectors where women are currently active.
  3. As academic research suggests that women are just as likely as men to be successful when starting similar businesses in comparable industry sectors, structural barriers can be addressed more directly to demystify negative stereotypes about female entrepreneurs.
  4. National experts participating in the research agree that there is currently little cultural support for female entrepreneurs. It is important to celebrate and promote successful female founders as role models.

More key results

According to the executive summary of the GEM Report, women globally “represent approximately one in three high-growth entrepreneurs and one in three innovation entrepreneurs focused on domestic and international markets.”

The report’s findings, based on an analysis of female entrepreneurship trends in 50 countries from 2021-2022 GEM data, also illustrated the importance of a strong environment to support women’s entrepreneurial intentions. Women in upper-middle-income countries are among the most innovative and high-growth entrepreneurs in the world, on par with men in international market orientation.

The countries with the highest ratings by the experts also recorded the highest levels of entrepreneurial intentions. However, country experts generally rated the enabling environment for women entrepreneurs in most countries very poorly, which may explain why women have a slightly lower perception of entrepreneurship as a career choice compared to men.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Cessation rates for women increased from 2.9% to 3.6% over the two-year pandemic period, in contrast to higher rates for men (3.5% to 4.4 %). Women in upper-middle-income countries showed the greatest impact of the pandemic on business exit with a 74% increase from 2019 to 2021, compared to 34% for men.
  • Nearly half of women entrepreneurs globally work in the wholesale/retail sector and one in five women in the public and social services sector (18.5% women vs. 10.1% men) . However, only 2.7% of women compared to 4.7% of men start businesses in information, computing and technology (ICT), the sector that attracts the majority of capital dollars. risk in the world.
  • In all the countries studied, women were much less active in business than men and tended to make much smaller related investments. The largest gender differences were observed in low-income countries, while women in upper-middle-income countries were closest to gender parity.

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