A newly-discovered report from the European Microfinance Network takes a comparative look at the environment for women’s enterprise development in eight countries – assessing relative levels of gender equality on six dimensions – and highlighting good practices in support for women’s entrepreneurship. It’s definitely worth a read, and worth a spot on your womenabling reference shelf.
The report, “Fostering gender equality: Meeting the entrepreneurship and microfinance challenge,” takes a look at the state of affairs for women’s enterprise development in eight countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia, Spain and the UK), and finds only average progress on these six dimensions:
- general national context for entrepreneurship,
- gender equality in society,
- gender equality in labor market inclusion,
- gender equality in entrepreneurship,
- gender equality in support structures for entrepreneurship, and
- gender equality in access to finance.
The countries are rated most highly on general gender equality in society, and lowest on support structures for women’s enterprise development. There was the most variability in ranking among the eight countries on the access to finance dimension. Scores are calibrated on a 1-5 scale. In no country and on no dimension did any country garner a 4 or higher.
One of the best features of the 76-page report is its reference to good practices in the countries studied. Some of the policies and practices that are highlighted include:
- the Women’s Enterprise Task Force in the UK (sadly, now defunct),
- a national women’s business magazine in Germany, Existenzielle,
- a database of gender-focused research in Belgium,
- Women in Rural Enterprise (WIRE) in the UK, and
- an organization for women business angel finance in France, Femmes Business Angels.
The report also contains a number of very useful policy and practice recommendations, targeted to policy makers, practitioners, finance providers, and researchers.
For more information on the European Microfinance Network, and to download the report, click on the links above. Thanks go to Zunia.org, a wonderful development news aggregator, for highlighting this report.