Women deserve equal chances with men as a matter of principle. But it also makes huge economic sense. Research by the Cherie Blair Foundation and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that if women entrepreneurs were given the same access and opportunities that male entrepreneurs have, it would add $5 trillion to the global economy.
The first step to progressing women’s economic empowerment is recognising the disadvantages women face and reducing these barriers. Earlier this month we spoke to Cherie Blair CBE QC about the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income countries.
She told us how access to finance is often a key barrier to women’s entrepreneurship. Achieving equal access for women to all types of finance including banks, investors and digital finance is essential to reach Sustainable Development Goal 5.
But she also spoke about the challenges beyond access to finance. Nearly two thirds of the female entrepreneurs surveyed by the Cherie Blair Foundation and BCG had experienced some kind of negative stereotype around their role as women – mainly that women should prioritise motherhood and domestic duties. Stereotypes such as these limit women’s potential as entrepreneurs and are major barriers to women’s economic participation more broadly.
At CDC, we support female entrepreneurs in Africa and South Asia through initiatives like Invest2Impact, which was set up to support the growth of high potential, women-owned businesses in Africa. The initiative seeks to address the credit gap for women-owned small and medium-sized businesses and increase momentum for gender-lens investing by directly reaching female entrepreneurs that may otherwise face barriers in accessing investment capital.