women entrepreneurs by taDcZbX



Running Head: Overcoming the Challenges of women Executive in business setting

   Overcoming the Challenges of women Executive in business setting

                                   [Name of student]

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         Overcoming the Challenges of women Executive in business setting


Today’s world is changing at a startling pace. Political and economic transformations
seem to be occurring everywhere as countries convert from command to demand
economies, dictatorships move toward democracy, and monarchies build new civil
institutions. These changes have created economic opportunities for women who want to
own and operate businesses. Today, women in advanced market economies own more
than 25% of all businesses and women-owned businesses in Africa, Asia, Eastern
Europe, and Latin America are growing rapidly.

In some regions of the world, transformation to a market economy threatens to sharpen
gender inequality. Some of these changes are simply the legacy of a gender imbalance
that existed prior to political and economic reforms. Other changes reflect a return to
traditional norms and values that relegated women to a secondary status.

  Chapter 1

 Problems of

   Chapter 1                                      Problems of Women Entrepreneurs

As countries become more democratic, gender inequalities lessen; thus, offering a more
productive atmosphere for both sexes. Here we examines how women entrepreneurs
affect the global economy, why women start businesses, how women’s business
associations promote entrepreneurs, and to what extent women contribute to international
trade and challenges facing by women entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs in
conjunction with feminist theory on gendered work.

Here we explore the ways in which much of women's experiences of entrepreneurship
focuses on identifying similarities and differences between female and male business
owners, and on providing explanations for the differences identified. While such an
approach is useful in compensating for the exclusion of women in earlier studies of
business ownership, it does not illuminate how and why entrepreneurship came to be
defined and understood, the behaviour of only men.

Argueing that existing knowledge on women business owners could be enhanced through
reflection on two issues:

   1.      On the essentialism in the very construction of the category of 'the female
   2.      On the ways in which the connections between gender, occupation and
           organizational structure differently affect female and male business owners.

In raising probing questions about the relationship between gender power, class power
and enterprise, to explore the motivations of ethnic minority women starting up their own
businesses and to identify any external and internal barriers they may face during this

Nearly half of all small businesses are owned by women. Firms owned by women are
being started at more than twice the national rate. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and

Women's business associations can and should ensure that their members, large and
small, are equipped to reap the rewards of expanding into the international arena. Women
must learn how to play the international trade game, and a global network of women's
business associations can help them do that. Information technology can help identify
markets, provide industry information and spotlight trends about what the role of women
in national economies can be. More information about women-owned business
enterprises is sorely needed to force policymakers to realize that women are an economic
force to be reckoned with. Part of this process is to document the economic significance
of women-owned enterprises in order to establish a constructive dialogue.

What women’s business organizations can provide may be summed up in three words:
access, organization, and advocacy.

Chapter 1                                    Problems of Women Entrepreneurs

The objectives of this paper is to focus on the “constraints” of these women entrepreneurs
in the following four “critical needs” areas:

   1.       Finance/Funding;
   2.       Support;
   3.       Capacity Building;
   4.       Technical and Technological Development.

A study on women business owners identified 10 business problem areas:

            1.    Sales and profit forecasting;
            2.    Obtaining lines of credit;
            3.    Capital management;
            4.    Working capital management;
            5.    Pricing strategies;
            6.    Customer database management;
            7.    Short-term business planning;
            8.    Labour cost analysis;
            9.    Managing debt;
            10.   And gender problems.

Whilst many of these problems seem to be synonymous across the world, there are some
problems, which are significantly prevalent only in certain countries.

It is recognized that small and medium enterprises are the major force in job creation,
innovation and economic development. It may be good to emphasize that out of these
SMEs, a good proportion of them are women-owned or operated and women do not only
form majority of the work force in certain sectors of the economy, but their businesses is
also influenced in one way or another the structure of all our economies.

Self-employment and women in entrepreneurship is also growing in less developed
economies, as a means for women to survive themselves and oftentimes to help support
their families. Hence it can be seen that women entrepreneurship is a growing phenomena
and has had a significant economic impact in all economies. However, women-owned
enterprises have their fair share of challenges and constraints that need to be addressed
and specific needs that have to be identified to help them perform at par, if not better,
than their male counterparts.

      Chapter 2

Review of Literature

Chapter 2                                                    Review of Literature

Key issues facing new and growing women-owned enterprises in the United States
include access to capital, access to information, and access to networks.

In Korea, women business owners experience financing and the effort to balance work
and family as their most difficult tasks. Indonesian women entrepreneurs on the other
hand, have difficulties in exporting their product overseas and in increasing the volume of
production, both of which are of importance for their competition in the global market
found that in general, the most common start-up problems seem to be lack of capital.
Also important was lack of confidence in female business owners’ abilities on the part of
banks, suppliers, and clients alike, as well as family issues.

Additional problems, such as marketing and labour difficulties and disagreement with
associates, may arise after the start-up phase. In an earlier study, found that the work-
home conflict the tension caused by the dual responsibility of managing a business and
maintaining a family to be the main stumbling block for female business owners.

In a study on women entrepreneurs in Vietnam, it is found that women face additional
handicaps due to the prevailing social and cultural gender-based inequalities and biases.
For instance, the barriers that women entrepreneurs face in accessing credit from formal
institutions is magnified in view of their limited access to formal education, ownership of
property, and social mobility. Other aspects of unequal access to opportunities and
markets include business experiences, limited knowledge of marketing strategies, weak
business associations, lack of networking facilities, and poor access to education and
training programs.

In Bangladesh women entrepreneurs have financial problems, the most common
problems faced by their women entrepreneurs. Inadequate financing was ranked first,
particularly so in rural areas and among small economic units (fewer than 5 workers), all
the more so with those located in the household and unregistered sectors. Competition,
obtaining quality raw materials, and balancing time between the enterprise and the family
were ranked as major start-up problems.

In Uganda, women entrepreneurs in rural areas suffer from a lack of training and
advisory services that would allow them to upgrade their managerial and technical skills
and solve immediate production problems, thus improving productivity and increasing

In Rwanda, a post-conflict area, women entrepreneurs’ immediate needs for sustaining
the family mount tremendously when the supply of goods and services ceases and
traditional community help schemes collapse due to the restricted mobility and security.

Chapter 2                                                     Review of Literature

It was necessary to restore women’s self-help initiatives and increase their business
potential, especially in small food processing.

Women entrepreneurs in Morocco faced a lack of operational and managerial skills
resulting in low productivity and competitiveness. Cultural constraints are an additional
obstacle that inhibits the efficient conduct of business for women. Inefficient production
mechanisms and a lack of managerial skills resulted in a loss of productivity and income
for the women entrepreneurs.

In Kenya, women entrepreneurs see the establishment of a productive business as a
means to improve their status in society as well as their family’s standard of living and to
serve their community by creating employment opportunities. However, due to a lack of
technical skills, confidence, strong individual involvement and the willingness to take
risks, women are often unable to establish and sustain successful businesses.
In Africa women entrepreneurs feel lack abilities, skills and expertise in certain business
matters. Many of the issues mentioned appear to relate to women’s relative lack of
exposure to the world of business. In addition to this lack of exposure, women’s business
networks are poorly developed as social assets.

It is grounded in women’s gendered experiences of education and work and, due to the
demands of their reproductive and household roles, their lack of key dedicated “time” to
be able to explore and nurture their own resources. Their access to the essential abilities,
skills and experiences for business is also adversely affected by various constraints on
their mobility, often due to their dual (Work and household) and triple (Work, household
and community) roles and responsibilities. In a more general way, society’s views are
largely negative about women entrepreneurs who associate and network with others in

From a Canadian News Paper Cited;
“Women entrepreneurs are also experiencing difficulties selling to the corporate market.
The top challenges cited by women entrepreneurs, according to Women Entrepreneurs of
Canada's Submission to the Prime Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs,
include learning about opportunities (70 percent), reduction in the number of
opportunities due to the bundling of smaller contracts into fewer large contracts (50
percent), and the increasing need for corporate cost cutting (45 percent). Women
Entrepreneurs of Canada's recommendations for overcoming these obstacles include
setting up a database that recognizes large organizations that have supplier diversity
programs in place, coupled with a list of women business suppliers that company buyers
could access, the institution of supplier diversity programs throughout all levels of
government to support women businesses seeking to sell their products and services, and

Chapter 2                                                    Review of Literature

the institution of a policy for federally tendered contracts that includes targets for women
owned businesses.

Because the bundling of contracts results in fewer contracts available to women
businesses for budding, Women Entrepreneurs of Canada also calls for governments and
large corporations to review the move to larger, consolidated tenders and increase their
supplier diversity efforts.”

Further cited as;

Meantime, women businesses should

"be encouraged to form joint venture or strategic alliances to bid on contracts of large

Curiously, business women in Atlantic Canada do less well than women entrepreneurs in
other regions of the country.

"Women entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada appear to be a relative disadvantage in terms
of the skills and experience they bring to business start-up and growth... Financing
obstacles are also particularly acute for women-owned firms, especially for start-up and
early-stage investments"

“Women entrepreneurs need to be better informed of regional and/or national initiatives
and programs that are available, says Women Entrepreneurs of Canada, and need more
programs that specifically address regional disparity such as the Women in Business
Initiative run by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), which seeks to
improve the growth and competitiveness of women owned businesses.”

Existing research considers several units of analysis- women founders, their teams, their
ventures and communities. At the individual level, the research provides demographic
information identifying characteristics of women entrepreneurs, their personal goals, as
well as their reasons for selecting business ownership over wage and salary work.

In a research also studied operational descriptions of how women create their businesses,
which builds an understanding of their expectations for their businesses. At the business
unit level, research focuses on organizational structure, financing and growth strategies,
and operations. There are additional research questions about industry choices. A
fundamental understanding of these issues is essential in identifying areas for research
that can support and advance the growth and development of women-owned businesses
and the economy.

Chapter 2                                                    Review of Literature

Women in Afghanistan, a country where they are still widely viewed as little more than
chattels and where they were banned from outside work under the Taleban regime, have
surely one of the most difficult environments anywhere in which to succeed as

Yet as BBC Online explains, overcoming Afghanistan's cultural legacy isn't always the
biggest challenge women face.

One women already doing so is Hasina Sherjan, whose company Boumi exports
embroidered curtains, cushion covers and other goods to Europe and America.
For her the biggest difficulties have nothing to do with being a woman, but the dire state
of Afghanistan's infrastructure after two decades of war and misrule.

"The main challenge is the lack of electricity. We have to run the generator all day long,
and that is expensive every week, every month.”

Women entrepreneurs of Africa also face constraints and barriers to obtaining money to
start and grow their own business. Women’s inexperience of negotiating with the banks
and their lack of financial confidence to argue for what they are entitled to, are some of
the problems they face in obtaining loans.

The four main obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs in Mauritius are:
   b) The hassle of getting permits;
   c) The lack of market;
   d) The ability to raise capital;
   e) Not being taken as seriously as men.

Several national and international reports have pointed out that enterprise creation is
hampered by a number of administrative procedures in Mauritius.

To study the “constraints” of the women entrepreneurs have the following four “critical
needs” areas:
   I)      Finance/Funding;
   II)     Support;
   III)    Capacity Building;
   IV)     And Technical and Technological Development.

Discussions with a random selection of five women entrepreneurs found that women
entrepreneurs did face “constraints” that prevented them from growing to the next level,
or “constraints” that prevented them from becoming successful women entrepreneurs.
These “constraints” were not seen as ‘personal’ problems but more so as external factors
that had to be addressed by the government, authorities, women’s organizations,
international aid, in short, factors that could be overcome through external intervention.

Chapter 2                                                     Review of Literature

In setting the context, the report states that financing for development involves the
efficient mobilization of domestic and international resources and their allocation.
National policies – fiscal, financial and trade policies – and the institutional environment
influence the decisions of economic actors and ultimately shape the mobilization and
allocation of resources for development. Thus, both institutions and policies have
important social and gender implications.

The report makes the following recommendations:

      In order to encourage women entrepreneurs to explore more profitable business
       fields, in particular in non-traditional areas, governments and entrepreneurial
       associations should facilitate the access of young women and women
       entrepreneurs to education and training in business, administration and
       information and communication technologies (ICT); women entrepreneurs should
       also be provided with information on market conditions and on existing financing
      Governments should fully apply all relevant human rights instruments, such as
       article 13 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
       against Women, on measures to eliminate discrimination against women with
       regard to the right to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit;
       particular attention should be given to poor, uneducated women who require
       proper legal assistance in this respect;
      Governments should sponsor systematic research and data collection on women's
       financial needs, preferences and access to financial services; such comprehensive
       data, as well as the opinions of women's groups, female scholars and
       entrepreneurs, assessed through consultation, should be taken into account by
       governments and legislators in the formulation of new laws and regulations on
       access to financial resources and in changing existing laws that contravene the
       principle of equality between women and men;
      Governments should encourage banks and other financial intermediaries to: (a)
       explore viable avenues to reach people living in poverty, in particular women,
       including through international public/private partnership funds; (b) design
       savings schemes attractive to the poor and to poor women in particular; (c)
       undertake research to learn more about the characteristics, financial needs and
       performance of women-owned businesses; (d) work towards the equal treatment
       of women clients through comprehensive gender-awareness training for staff at
       all levels and better representation of women in decision-making positions;

In view of the accelerating changes in the global economy, all aspects of financing for
development should be examined from a gender perspective in order to ensure women's

Chapter 2                                                    Review of Literature

access to financial resources; the specific constraints faced by women in gaining equality
in property rights and access to productive resources, credit and financial services, social
protection and entrepreneurship support should be taken into consideration; governments
should design, in consultation with the private sector and NGOs, gender-sensitive
policies and programmes at the micro and macro levels.

Governments were urged and/or invited:

      With others, to promote programmes for healthy active ageing that stress the
       independence, equality, participation and security of older women and undertake
       gender-specific research and programmes to address their needs;
      to take measures to enable all older women to be actively engaged in all aspects
       of life and to develop and implement policies and programmes to ensure their full
       enjoyment of human rights and quality of life, as well as to address their needs;
      with others, to consider, in their development planning, the increasing
       responsibilities of older women in providing care and assistance to victims of
      with others, to give attention to the situation of older women in the context of the
       Second World Assembly on Ageing, to be held at Madrid in April 2002, including
       the integration of a gender perspective into the outcome document.

Determine which are the problems and challenges women-owned businesses face and if
they differ to those found in male-owned firms. Questions were purposely designed to
ask which are the problems confronted, and which barriers were encountered, if any.

Hypothesis 1: Women-owned business face larger problems than those faced by males,
including financing business and other barriers, yet they can face the challenges similarly
to men’s.

Identify if there are traits that distinguish female-owned from male-owned firms, in terms
of the characteristics of entrepreneurs and the demographic aspects of the business and
decision-making and if they differ from male-owned firms.

The following variables were tested:
          a) For profile: education, gender, age, experience related to business and
              non-business related, the type of businesses they entered into.
          b) For traits of the business, the legal form of organization, and years
              founded, location decisions. Decision making measures and areas where
              those are based on, including financial and non-financial measure were

Hypothesis 2: There are no significant differences on the profile, the traits, nor decision-
making process of women versus male-owned firms.

Chapter 2                                                      Review of Literature

Analyze which are the reasons underlying female-owned businesses success and growth,
and if there are any differences across gender. Specific questions were presented on the
subject and included:

   i)       If business plans were drawn, in which areas;
   j)       Growth decisions, which specific growth plans there were,
   k)       Core competencies, areas of strength, among others.

Hypothesis 3: Women-owned businesses decisions in most instances are similar to men,
except on the level of success and growth of their firms areas in which they differ.

Evaluate why women-owned businesses do not appear to grow and perform as well as
those owned by men. Measurements are based on
    l)    initial investment,
    m)    average sales,
    n)    sales3 years ago
    o)    and expected sales in 3 years,
    p)    and the number of full time employees.
    q)    Also on self-explained measures of success and growth.

Hypothesis 4: The sales level reached, size (measured in sales and number of employees)
differ to those reached by men, yet the differences in performance is not due to
underperformance but choice.

Determine if there are intrinsic or inherent factors that inhibit the growth of women-
owned businesses when compared to those owned by men. Evaluate if findings in this
study allow to conclude if differences are similar of differ to studies of either theoretical
or empirical nature locally or abroad.

Hypothesis 5: The inherent factors that impede growth and success of women-owned
businesses compared to men’s are not significantly different nor do they appear to
significantly differ to those posited elsewhere.

After processing and analyzing surveys responses and interpreting the qualitative direct
interviews, a model was designed with the intention of explaining which variables
determine success for SMEs across sector and gender.

Results and Analysis

General results from the quantitative study shows the various industry sectors are well
represented in this study. Respondent firms include 23.4% from retail, 14.9% wholesale,
29.9% service and agriculture, and 31.9% in manufacturing.

Chapter 2                                                      Review of Literature

The sample included firms from 19 of the 78 municipalities. The level of significance of
the sample, though small, is evident in how responses represented different business
sectors, municipalities, and gender. The two studies implemented provided similar
responses. In addition, analysis using linear correlation, ranked correlations, Kruskal-
Wallis and Spearman correlation coefficients presented similar results. What's more 55%
of the businesses sampled had more than 10 years established which means continuity
and endurance in performance. Moreover, the direct interviews to small businesses across
the island included 10 women- owned versus 43 males, for a total of 56 interviews.

Testing the Hypothesis Formulated: Procedures and Results

Hypothesis 1: Testing if the problems ascribed across gender differ and how each sector
responds to challenges shows that, in general there are differences in women-owned
businesses face disadvantages accessing bank credit and that women-owned business face
pervasive problems than those faced by males, including financing business and other

Findings for this study showed barriers in performance across gender. 48.8% of women-
business did perceive barriers whilst 51.2% of the males did not. The barriers were found
especially on financial aspects (W 60% to M 45%). Specific barriers were: 53.8% in the
level of capital required to establish business, 26.9% obtaining financing. 7.7% assert that
there is too much product differentiation, and 3.8% in the requirement of government
approval for “permits”, and too much business concentration in the metropolitan areas.
Both linear and ranked correlation analysis show that differences exist. Definitely
differences were perceived across gender; thus the first part of the hypothesis is accepted.
On how challenges are faced, observing performance measures and relating them to
initial investments, no differences appear to exist across gender. Thus differences exist
partly. The hypothesis is accepted in its totality.

Hypothesis 2: Testing if there are significant differences on performance across gender
shows that: On the profile of owners, variables (age (.842/.03/ .000) of owner, the older
the owner the better the performance; education (.952/.00/ -0.005). There also appears to
be a negative correlation between education and performance to the business sector
chosen and the success level attained yet not with gender. Thus, the more education the
most success is obtained. In relation to the type of business sector chosen, (1.00/none), no
relationship nor businesses are gendered. The profile shows no major differences except
that women tend to be more educated and the higher levels indicate possibility of higher

On the traits of businesses, legal form of organization shows not even 1.00, years
founded (.11/ .11/ .095 ), not related; location decisions (-.01/-0.30/ -.303) no direct
relationship yet, the better the location better results. It appears that business that changed

a few times perform slightly well. No relation of business counseling to performance is
Chapter 2                                                    Review of Literature

shown previous to starting the business (-.0.160) no relationship. On the decision-making
process (initial investment (-0.15/, KW=0.241 and S=-0.173) this shows that the larger
the investment the larger the size of the firm yet results are not gendered. In terms of the
strategies used and planning implementation, on Kruskal-Wallis=.029 there is a
relationship though not highly significant. With respect to men, women planned less than
men thus showing performance differences.

Hypothesis 3: Found that success has a lot to do on how women-owners measure it and
their top measures: self-fulfillment, goal achievement, increased revenues, profits and
growth and harmony with employees. Testing if women-owned businesses decisions in
most instances are similar to men, except on the level of success and growth shows
that, testing under the rank order correlation, Kruskal-Wallis and Spearman that no
significant differences on this variables yet differences do exist. Testing the variables
results is: on prepared business plans (KW=. 082) and Spearman coef. = -0.254); growth
decisions (no differences 90% of females expect to grow while men had an 81,8%);
specific growth plans (KW=0.029 shows a relationship and P= 0.380), thus signaling
more specific growth plans by males. On how did you ensured plans materialized there is
a relationship (KW=0.029 and Spearman=-0.254. and main competitive advantage with a
P value K-W = 0.029, Spearman coefficient= 0.342, and 0.029, shows that there is
significant differences across gender on this measure.

Hypothesis 4: Testing if differences on performance exist across gender, applying
Kurskal-Wallis and Spearman correlations and rank order respectively shows the
following results on each variable;
On the average sales level reached (Kruskal-Wallis = 0.60, Spearman = -0.077, P value

Comparing sales three years ago shows: Kruskal-Wallis = 0.971, Spearman = -0.05 and a
P value: 0.971. This can be interpreted in terms that sales are not gendered but that, in
general, women-owned firms do not sell or perform as well as men’s. Sales do not differ
across gender but are negatively related. The higher the size the higher the sales level yet
if you are a woman they are lower. If a person is female their firms will perform less well
and more in the middle range. This does not mean they are not successful but to a lesser
size (in sales and employees). The index design on performance across gender profiles
that, overall, women-owned firms are smaller, tend to stabilize to a certain size and sales
while males grow larger in sales and number of employees.

Yet females firm do not perish as much as male’s. This also, shows that females firms
reached an averaged size, perform well on sales, up to a certain size, and do not
commonly fail.

Chapter 2                                                    Review of Literature

Males tend to fail more. Thus, male-owned firms had higher initial capital, grew more,
devote more time to businesses, tend to form corporations while females tend to form
businesses as joint societies and borrow from family, as such it is natural to have higher

This does not mean fewer competencies but appears to be a trade-off. To the question if
there are performance differences across gender show negative answers across sector,
except on the highlighted factors.


      www.prowess.org.uk/start/inspiration.asp
      www.businesswomen.co.za/TWIB
      www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040310-4.html
      http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/employment_analysis/imm/
      http://www.usasbe.org/knowledge/whitepapers/
      http://www.hri.ca/fortherecord2001/vol1/women.htm
      http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/research/icsb/2002
      www.entrepreneur.com/sales/article71794.html

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