Female Entrepreneurs Who Succeed in Male-Dominated Sectors in Ethiopia

Alibhai, Salman; Buehren, Niklas; Papineni, Sreelakshmi. 2015. “Female Entrepreneurs Who Succeed in Male-Dominated Sectors in Ethiopia. ” Gender Innovation Lab Policy Brief;No. 12. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. 


In developing countries, female entrepreneurs have low returns. Yet, the few women who cross over into traditionally male-dominated sectors double their profits. So why don’t more women cross over? When parents and husbands support them, women are more likely to cross over. When they lack information on the earnings potential in male-dominated sectors, they are less likely to. This suggests a path to promote women entrepreneurs crossing over. The challenges Ethiopian women face in getting jobs and earning income come from a range of sources. Women start from a more difficult situation than men –without easy access to finance, land, training, education and effective business networks. The share of women in Ethiopia without education is almost twice that of men, which in turn limits women entrepreneurs’ ability to grow their businesses. Reducing gender inequalities in education and the labor market could increase annual GDP growth in Ethiopia by around 1.9 percentage points.

Gender specifics in entrepreneurs social capital: Implications for firm performance

Neneh BN, PhD. “Gender specifics in entrepreneurs social capital: Implications for firm performance,” Gender & Behaviour. 2017;15(1):8462-8478.


Using a sample of 315 respondents from the Mangaung metropolitan municipality in South Africa, this study sought out to examine the existence of gender differences in social capital using two popular operationalisations of social capital. The study also examined how the different types of social capital influenced the performance of men-owned and women-owned businesses. The results showed significant gender differences in social capital with men having a higher level of structural, relational and linking social capital, while women had a higher level of bonding social capital. Furthermore, it was observed that structural and bonding social capital had a consistent influence on firm performance across gender. However, relational and bridging social capital was only associated with performance for men-owned businesses, while cognitive social capital was only significantly associated with the performance of women-owned businesses.

Micro-entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

Seema Jayachandran, 2020. “Micro-entrepreneurship in Developing Countries, ” CESifo Working Papers Series 8086, CESifo.


This article reviews the recent literature in economics on small-scale entrepreneurship (“microentrepreneurship”) in low-income countries. Major themes in the literature include the determinants and consequences of joining the formal sector; the impacts of access to credit and other financial services; the impacts of business training; barriers to hiring; and the distinction between self-employment by necessity and self-employment as a calling. The article devotes special attention to unique issues that arise with female entrepreneurship.

Money or Ideas? A Field Experiment on Constraints to Entrepreneurship in Rural Pakistan

Gine, Xavier; Mansuri, Ghazala. 2014. Money or ideas? A field experiment on constraints to entrepreneurship in rural Pakistan (English). Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6959;Impact Evaluation series Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. 


This paper identifies the relative importance of human and physical capital for entrepreneurship. A subset of rural microfinance clients were offered eight full time days of business training and the opportunity to participate in a loan lottery of up to Rs. 100,000 (USD 1,700), about seven times the average loan size. The study finds that business training increased business knowledge, reduced business failure, improved business practices and increased household expenditures by about $40 per year. It also improved financial and labor allocation decisions. These effects are concentrated among male clients, however. Women improve business knowledge but show no improvements in other outcomes. A cost-benefit analysis suggests that business training was not cost-effective for the microfinance institution, despite having a positive impact on clients. This may explain why so few microfinance institutions offer training. Access to the larger loan, in contrast, had little effect, indicating that existing loan size limits may already meet the demand for credit for these clients.

The gender gap in firm productivity in Rwanda: Evidence from establishment and household enterprise data.

Munyegera, Ggombe Kasim, and Akampumuza Precious, 2018″ The Gender Gap In Firm Productivity In Rwanda: Evidence From Establishment And Household Enterprise Data,” WIDER Working Paper 2018/100 Helsinki: UNU-WIDER, 2018.


Rwanda is one of the countries with the best strategies for women empowerment and gender equality in Africa and globally. Nonetheless, some inequalities exist especially in education attainment. This study investigates the gender gaps in business performance using nationally representative household survey and establishment census data. Ordinary Least Squares results indicate that female-owned business enterprises employ fewer workers and are less productive than male-owned counterparts.

Gender, Access to Finance, Occupational Choice, and Business Performance

Nelli S. Gazanchyan & Nigar Hashimzade & Yulia Rodionova & Natalia Vershinina, 2017. “Gender, Access to Finance, Occupational Choice, and Business Performance,” Working Paper Series 6353, CESifo.


We analyze, in a model of occupational choice in the labour market and discrimination in the capital market, the relationship between the gender of the owner and of the top manager of a firm, access to finance, and this firm’s performance. Occupational choice serves as the link from the capital market to the labour market. The model predicts that if the lenders discriminate against female entrepreneurs, then the conditional average of entrepreneurial skill of female business owners and female top managers is higher than that of their male counterparts. We find empirical evidence in support of our model using firm-level data from the 2009 wave of the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS) for twenty six emerging economies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Specifically, we find evidence of discrimination of women in the capital market. Furthermore, we find a positive effect of the female gender of a business owner and of a business top manager on business performance, after controlling for various factors, including possible constraints on access to external finance. The positive effect of a female top manager is mitigated if the firm is owned by a female, suggesting decreasing return to skill, or if it operates in certain industries where female leadership may be of special value, which could be an additional factor in the occupational choice.

Does Gender Matter for Firm Performance? Evidence from Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Sabarwal, Shwetlena and Terrell, Katherine, “Does Gender Matter for Firm Performance? Evidence from the East European and Central Asian Region“, (July 2008). SSRN Papers


Using 2005 firm level data for 26 countries in Eastern and Central Europe, this paper estimates performance gaps between male and female-owned businesses, while controlling for location by industry and country. The findings show that female entrepreneurs have a significantly smaller scale of operations (as measured by sales revenues) and are less efficient in terms of total factor productivity, although the difference is small. However, women entrepreneurs generate the same amount of profit per unit of revenue as men. Although both male and female entrepreneurs in the region are sub-optimally small, women’s returns to scale are significantly larger than men’s, implying that women would gain more from increasing their scale. The authors argue that the main reasons for the sub-optimal size of female-owned firms are that they are both capital constrained and concentrated in industries with small firms.

Gender, Credit Constraints and Performance of SMEs in Cameroon

Serge, Piabuo & Baye, Francis & Tieguhong, Julius. (2015). Effects of credit constraints on the productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises in Cameroon.


The role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in providing productive employment and earning opportunities has emerged as an important concern among policy makers, donor agencies and researchers. It is estimated that women-owned businesses account for over one-third of all firms, and they are the majority of businesses in the informal sector in African countries. Second, the ability of women to formalize and grow their businesses, to create jobs, and to enhance productivity is hampered where legal and institutional barriers exist that affect men’s and women’s enterprises differently. Despite the growing body of research on female managed and/or owned firms’ under-performance hypothesis, as well as on the difficulties female entrepreneurs faced in applying for and securing loans, there are no studies aimed at analysing the gender discrimination in credit access and its effect on SMEs’ performance in an African context.. Secondly, the literature on gender discrimination on the capital market is almost always conducted in the US or in Europe. This study will examine entrepreneurs’ gender and financial constraints trying to relate the later to firm performance in Cameroon.

Women’s access to SME finance in Australia

Van Hulten, Andrew (September 2012). “Women’s access to SME finance in Australia.” International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 4 (3).


The purpose of this paper is to test whether Australian female and male entrepreneurs differ in their growth aspirations and demand for finance; denial, discouragement and financial constraint rates; and sources of finance.Design/methodology/approach – This paper applies logistic regression techniques to data drawn from a comprehensive survey of Australian small‐ and medium‐sized businesses, which was conducted in 2010.Findings – After controlling for a wide range of firm, owner and risk characteristics, female entrepreneurs are found to have lower growth aspirations than males but do not differ in their demand for business finance. Gender does not influence the probability of reporting denial, discouragement or financial constraint. Females and males do not differ significantly in the types of finance that they use.Research limitations/implications – The online survey had a low response rate.Originality/value – First, the paper tests the proposition that gender mediates demand for finance whilst controlling for a wide range of firm, owner and risk variables. Second, the paper tests whether female entrepreneurs are more likely than males to be financially constrained, that is, to have foregone viable investment opportunities due to inadequate access to finance. In doing so, it endeavours to reconcile the financial discrimination and financial constraint literatures. Third, the paper tests whether gender produces its effects in interaction with owners’ migration status.

Supporting Growth-Oriented Women Entrepreneurs : A Review of the Evidence and Key Challenges

Cirera, Xavier; Qasim, Qursum. 2014. Supporting Growth-Oriented Women Entrepreneurs : A Review of the Evidence and Key Challenges. Innovation, technology and entrepreneurship policy note;no. 5. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank


In recent years, support programs for women entrepreneurs have gained traction and prominence as a means to create jobs and boost productivity at the national and regional levels. However, disparities in initial resource endowments of male and female-led firms, sector sorting into low productivity activities, social norms, and institutional arrangements, constrain the growth of female-led enterprises. This note reviews the outcomes of programs supporting female growth entrepreneurs and draws lessons from available evidence to inform the design of more effective programs. The review shows that most programs are primarily geared toward microenterprises, making it difficult to draw conclusions about program design for growth-oriented entrepreneurs, but some early findings point the way forward. Management practices appear to improve as a result of business education, but there is little robust evidence to prove that support programs lead to significant improvements in business performance outcomes. Furthermore, in programs with both male and female participants, firm performance improves in some cases for male-led firms only, not for female-led firms. The note concludes by suggesting the need for more experimentation in the design and delivery of services and a new focus on strengthening the engendering of support programs to more specifically address gender-specific constraints such as social norms, entrepreneurial preferences, and institutional arrangements, changing public discourse, and paying more attention to factors that induce female entrepreneurs to diversify into higher value-added activities. Offering mentoring, networking, and other consulting services, in addition to education on basic business practices and strengthening critical areas such as gender-specific content, can potentially increase the effectiveness of these programs.