Giving Compass' Take:

• The authors at Brookings argue that development organizations and governments looking to promote female entrepreneurship should focus on package interventions that address more than one constraint.

• How can donors provide targeted support to female entrepreneurs that need it the most?  

• Learn how partnerships can boost women-owned businesses. 

While COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we all live and work, the pandemic has not affected all equally. It has brought to light existing disparities in both our health and economic systems. Women and people of color are more likely to be essential workers—with a higher share of employment in health care, social work, and grocery—putting them at greater risk of exposure.

Globally, a McKinsey report finds that women are more likely to lose their job during the pandemic than men—women account for 39 percent of global employment but 54 percent of job losses to date. They are more likely to work in sectors disproportionately impacted by the crisis such as food service, hospitality, and retail. In addition, many women are dropping to part time or out of the labor force entirely in order to provide child care or online school supervision for their children. The same report finds that female entrepreneurs may be disproportionately impacted by the crisis, especially female-owned microenterprises—firms with fewer than 10 employees —in developing countries. A May survey of small business owners in 50 countries found that female-owned firms were almost 6 percentage points more likely to be closed due to COVID-19 than male-owned firms.  With household resources scarce, capital or digital devices that would normally be used for women’s businesses may be reallocated to other purposes, driven by intrahousehold dynamics and social norms about gender roles.

Read the full article about promoting women's entrepreneurship by Ana Revenga and Meagan Dooley at Brookings.