Challenges women entrepreneurs face

According to a 2021 report, around 250 million women in approximately 582 million globally are women entrepreneurs (What to Become, 2021). Decades ago, reaching such a number would have been inconceivable, considering the influence of the patriarchal society as women had to submit to social expectations, often against their will.

Portraying women as weak, emotional, nurturing and dependent, a profile which was more convenient as housewives, than being at the head of a company, these social expectations based on gender stereotypes have long prevented women from exploiting and unleashing their potential. Despite todays’ improvements regarding gender equality, women entrepreneurs still face certain challenges which need to be addressed.

For instance, a 2016 article reported that Banks tend to trust men more than women and as such, women have less capital and often have to depend on social support to open their own business. The option to save up as an employee is not enough either for some as gender pay gap still exists in some companies, with women earning 37% less than men in similar jobs (Global Gender Gap Report, 2021). Hence, obtaining funding is one of the most common and greatest challenges of female entrepreneurs despite their skills and motivations.

Additionally, in African countries, India and SouthEast Asia, several women in the service sector face lack of respect from men and little support from relatives, friends and institutions as they have to balance business and family life, resulting in more pressure and lack of confidence. Moreover in Mauritius, several businesses are inherited, which could provide opportunities for women to lead, yet most family businesses are male headed (Economic and Social Indicators, 2019). Ranked 110 out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2021, Mauritius still has room for improvement and countries such as Iceland, and New Zealand could be taken as models.

To overcome the challenges, women should be provided opportunities to prove themselves and this is why Queensy Theodore, a founder member of Unity for Equality, a gender equality association in Mauritius, came up with a business idea to create a community of women entrepreneurs called ‘Women in Action’. This business project will involve different corners such as the Artisanal corner from handmade products to bakery, paintings and so on, Multimedia corner, including digital marketing, videos and photography, Event management corner and Writers’ corner for services such as proofreading, translation and articles.

As the female entrepreneurs come together, they can both provide their individual services and work together on specific projects as per their skills or within their respective corners. Looking for a social media specialist ? A skillful woman can be hired from the Multimedia corner. Want an exceptional birthday party? The event management corner will regroup exceptional women to organise the event from planning to handmade decorations, birthday cake, invitation cards or even birthday costumes. Coming out of the shadow to shine brighter, this is what Women In Action aims at for female entrepreneurs.

Regardless of their age or status, women should thus be supported to thrive in entrepreneurship. In Fact, women and men do not need to be rivals in the business market, but it is possible to appreciate and respect each others’ skills and talents even if it defies the norms based on the characteristics of their gender roles.

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  • " Queensy Theodore "
  • " University of Technology, Mauritius "
  • " Ba (Hons) Communication "

" Founder member of Unity for Equality, a gender equality association in Mauritius. "

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