International Women’s Day is a time to not only consider how we can instigate change but also to celebrate those trailblazers who are already. And here in Australia, we have no shortage of those inspiring and driven women — with female entrepreneurs disrupting pretty industry you can think of, from tech and science to beauty and fashion.
While women currently only make up 34% of Australian entrepreneurs, the number of female entrepreneurs is growing at a faster rate than men. It’s hardly surprising, then, to learn that our nation is one of the best places on earth to be a female entrepreneur. New research published by Mastercard today reveals that Australia ranks 5th for the highest percentage of female business owners (32.1% of total business owners), behind Ghana, Russia, Uganda and New Zealand. It also ranks 7th in the top 10 countries with the strong supporting conditions for female entrepreneurs.
The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs tracks the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs and business owners across 57 markets spanning five geographic regions – Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, and North America.“Women entrepreneurs have made remarkable strides as business owners around the world, even as they work to achieve their full potential. We believe that by drawing attention to their efforts, we can further support and empower women in their drive to run successful businesses and lead richer, more fulfilling lives,” said Martina Hund-Mejean, Chief Financial Officer, Mastercard.
The study found that generally, female entrepreneurs in developed countries had access to more opportunities (no surprises there.) However, some emerging economies, such as Ghana (which topped the list with 46.4%) and Uganda (33.8%) were found to have a higher rate of female entrepreneurs than developed ones. This points to a growing amount of necessity-driven entrepreneurs in these developing areas, spurred by the need for survival despite the lack of financial capital and access to enabling services.
Overall, the research showed that women worldwide are forging their own paths, but that gender bias and challenging financial conditions still create significant roadblocks to their progress.
“Ahead of International Women’s Day, we hope the study’s findings can serve as a timely reminder for governments and organizations to bolster support provided to budding and working women business owners across all areas, from greater financial inclusion and wider access to education,” said Ann Cairns, President, International Markets, Mastercard.
You can read the full report here. Need more entrepreneurial inspo? Check out our exclusive interview with lawyer-turned-mogul and influencer, Pia Muehlenbeck.