Why Empowering Female Social Entrepreneurs Is Key to Economic Recovery

  • The social entrepreneurship sector has proven itself uniquely capable of empowering women leaders in its field.
  • Female entrepreneurs can add substantially to economic growth and poverty reduction.
  • To shape a sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19, we need to include the voices of female social entrepreneurs.

Whether it has been New Zealand under Jacinda Ardern or Germany under Angela Merkel, studies have shown that female-led countries have performed better in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet, according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report report, it will take 95 years to close the gender gap in political representation. Progress in economic participation and opportunity has regressed, with the deteriorating situation forcing gender parity to a lowly 57.8%, which in terms of time represents a massive 257 years before gender parity can be achieved.

It’s also a well-documented fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit women harder. Women have been affected not only because of the disease itself, but because they work in jobs that are less secure. Furthermore, women-owned businesses have particularly suffered – in Canada alone, 40.6% of women-owned businesses have had to lay off their employees. The situation for racialized, indigenous, newcomer, and disabled women is even worse.

2020 has shown us both the disproportionate burden of inequality on girls and women, as well as the exceptional leadership of many incredible women around the world.

Social entrepreneurship empowers women leaders

Women in social entrepreneurship often disrupt many of these patterns of gender inequality. The social entrepreneurship sector has proven itself uniquely capable of empowering women leaders in its field, and of changing the lives and welfare of all women.

Women social entrepreneurs have, time and time again, made a deep impact in their work through a form of impact called “scaling deep” – overhauling unfair and unjust systems, sparking collaborative social movements, and reshaping dominant expectations, norms, and stigmas. Ashoka’s Women’s Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship is currently working to change the innovation ecosystem to better recognize and support scaling deep impact and the women leading it.

Ashoka’s 2018 Global Impact Study found that its female Fellows work within systems and are more likely to spread their idea locally, inspiring replication by other groups or institutions within their country of residency.

Female Fellows were also found to be more collaborative, working closely with other citizen-sector organizations, supporting other women and young people around them, and empowering their own teams. They also reflected a higher tendency to impact behaviours and mindsets: 76% of female Fellows reported influencing societal attitudes and cultural norms as core to their strategy, compared with a lower percentage of males.

The World Bank highlights how through such work and leadership styles, female entrepreneurs can add substantially to economic growth and poverty reduction.

Read the full article here.

Source: World Economic Forum

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