‘Women’s full potential yet to be unleashed
While South Africa has made significant progress in creating equal access for women to financial services and tertiary education, the number of female business owners is constrained due to the lack of perceived business opportunities, funding and motivation. This according to findings from the inaugural Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE).
South Africa ranks 21st (64.4) on the index which tracks female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalise on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions. The index uses three components made up of 12 indicators and 25 sub-indicators to look at how 54 economies, representing 78.6 per cent of the world’s female labour force, differ in terms of the level of women’s advancement outcomes, knowledge assets and financial access and supporting entrepreneurial factors.
Despite a healthy MIWE score, women account for only 19.1 per cent of business owners in South Africa (rank 44), indicating that women’s progress in entrepreneurship has been disappointingly low compared to its global counterparts. Uganda (34.8 per cent) and Botswana (34.6 per cent), rank first and second in the world for female business owners, with other developing countries such as Russia, Bangladesh, China and Vietnam also in the top 10. “South Africa’s resourceful women are one of its biggest assets, yet it is evident that South African women’s full potential and value as entrepreneurs and business owners are yet to be unleashed,” said Mark Elliott, division president of Mastercard South Africa.
Looking at the index’s three components, South Africa has an average women’s advancement outcome score of 52.7 (rank 27), which indicates that women’s progress and degree of marginalisation economically and professionally as business leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs and labour force participants is on par with its global counterparts.
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