GENDER-TARGETED POLICIES DRIVE FORWARD WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS
COVID-19 HAS POSED SET-BACKS, BUT ALSO OPPORTUNITY
• The COVID-19 era presents an empowering narrative for women in leadership, providing inspiration at a time when cultural barriers and fear of failure still impede some women from business ventures. COVID-19 has highlighted women’s ability to lead under extraordinary circumstances. Female world leaders such as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland have presided over some of the most successful efforts in containing COVID-19 while instilling order, assurance, trust and calm. With almost half (47.8%) of female entrepreneurs report being driven by a desire to contribute to the greater societal good, the impact these leaders have cannot be underestimated.
• Women in business are already demonstrating marked adaptability, despite extensive barriers to success. On the frontline, women business owners are adapting to the new world of work with renewed confidence. 42% have shifted to a digital business model and 34% have identified new business opportunities since the pandemic.
• The ‘next normal’ presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to remove existing barriers, driving greater gender participation and parity for women in business. As well as magnifying severalfold the many disparities women in business face – from the digital gender gap to financial inclusion – COVID-19 has been an intense stimulus for structural progress. For example, prior to the pandemic, the financial global gender disparity had remained static for almost a decade. However, COVID-19 has propelled progress in this area – with the UK government setting up bank accounts for over 1.2 million people in just two days at the height of the pandemic, and over 11 million informal workers in Brazil applied for saving accounts in order to receive emergency government funds.
The report notes that implications of these observations are profound. It further demonstrates the untapped value of women as leaders and, critically, highlights the role of the pandemic in expediating progressive solutions. Leveraging this momentum and championing gender-specific initiatives will be critical to realising women’s potential and winding down the $172 trillion lost globally (World Bank) due to the differences in lifetime earnings between women and men.
MASTERCARD’S COMMITMENT TO DRIVING FORWARD INCLUSION
Sue Kelsey, executive vice president, global consumer products and financial inclusion, Mastercard said: “A crisis will always reveal vulnerabilities in the system, and COVID-19 has done that in spades. We have seen the staggering extent of the disparity women in business face. But unlike any other economic downturn, Covid-19 has also paved the way for considerable progress and we have seen what we can be achieved when priority is given. However, are we brave enough to seize the opportunity, to listen to the data outlined in MIWE 2020 and act accordingly? Or will we cling on to a failed system, and allow the pandemic to shave off progress to date?
“These are critical questions decisions makers need to have at the fore as they plan their road to economic recovery. Collectively, governments, financial services and business organizations need to ensure they are offering the right support programs, solutions and innovation to enable female entrepreneurs the opportunity to thrive in the world’s new normal.”
The MIWE report is just one component in Mastercard’s broader mission to drive forward the advancement of the disconnected and disadvantaged, with a particular commitment to support and help advance female entrepreneurs and small businesses through initiatives such as its Start Path and Path to Priceless programs. In 2020, Mastercard expanded its worldwide financial inclusion commitment, pledging to bring a total of one billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses, through a range of initiatives crossing funding, mentoring and the development of inclusive technologies.
The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs provides world-leading analysis on how women in business are progressing across 58 global economies. Representing almost 80 percent of the international female labor force, the MIWE provides deep-dive analysis on the socioeconomic factors propelling and inhibiting their success.
Through a unique methodology – involving detailed analysis across 12 indicators and 25 sub-indicators spanning Advancement Outcomes, Knowledge Assets & Financial Access, and Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions – the index ranks 58 individual economies according to performance over the past year. Aggregating these scores, the index is able to provide an overall grading of how successful individual economies are in advancing female entrepreneurialism in comparison to peers in pre-Covid conditions.
This year’s report also provides additional analysis on the early ramifications of emergency measures implemented by governments and business for women entrepreneurs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic across 40 global economies.
The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs findings provide clarity and understanding for governments, policymakers, stakeholders, businesses and individuals alike wishing to understand the crucial role of women in business and apply learnings from global economies.
Info for this article was provided by Mastercard.
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