Female Entrepreneurs Respond To Economic Changes – With capital, labor, and goods moving much more rapidly across national boundaries, with the speed of technological change revolutionizing production and information systems, women around the world are operating as economic actors in a distinctly changed environment.
To repeat, in most developed countries, traditional manufacturing is making way for new industries and new services. At the same time, the social and environmental implications of industrial development are convincing most people to reject the notion of “growth at any price.”
The most dynamic actors are no longer the large corporations, but the small or medium-sized firms that can satisfy the needs arising from the new information technologies and that can be profitable while improving the quality of life.
Traditional sources of recruitment will be unable to perform as they used to. Jobs lost during downturns will not simply reappear with the next recovery. Many women will no longer accept traditional low-paying jobs that offer little responsibility and no room for promotion.
Female Entrepreneurs Respond To Economic Changes
Economic growth will go together with changes in lifestyles. Innovative firms must be created and innovative entrepreneurs must emerge. There are encouraging signs that change is happening.
New participants are gaining ground in the market, starting new firms, proposing new products and services, and sometimes changing the entrepreneurial culture.
A particularly innovative impulse is coming from women. In the past, industrialization has brought more women into the job market, but in the present economic environment a new role for women is emerging.
Up to thirty years ago women entrepreneurs were the exception. They are now an important phenomenon, both socially and economically. Across the world, women are now starting companies at 1.5 times the rate that men are.
Since 1972, we have gone from essentially 0 percent of the workforce employed by women in 1972 to about 10 percent to 12 percent of the total global workforce today.15 Energy is coming from women and not from men. The gap between female and male entrepreneurship is rapidly being bridged.
In 1992 women created 10 percent of the new firms in North Africa, 33 percent in North America (in 1998, 75 percent in the United States), and 40 percent in eastern Germany. Women account for a substantial portion of nonagricultural self-employment: 17 percent in Greece; 22–25 percent in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom; 34–39 percent in Japan and Canada; and nearly 50 percent in the United States.
In Spain 16 percent of entrepreneurs are women, as against 1984 when they constituted only 9.7 percent.16 The phenomenon is important not only from the quantitative point of view.
It seems clear that having been excluded from leading firms for a long time, women seem to conceive opportunities in an innovative manner, which could prove to be particularly promising in the new economic environment, especially in all fields where business concerns itself with matters like the quality of life.