Giving Compass' Take:

• Ana Revenga and Meagan Dooley report on the effectiveness of various interventions that focus on eliminating success-blocking barriers for female entrepreneurs.

• What are some barriers for female entrepreneurs, and how are they a result of stereotyping and discrimination? What can you do to draw awareness towards inhibiting factors for female entrepreneurs?

• Look at two ways your giving can help remove barriers for female entrepreneurs.

Around the globe, women participate less in paid economic activities than men. When women do participate, they are often conscribed to different, lower-paying jobs and sectors. This is true whether we focus on wage jobs, on farming, or on entrepreneurship. These gender gaps come at a substantial economic cost, ranging from an average income loss of 10 percent in Central Asia to 38 percent in the Middle East and North Africa.

A growing number of papers argue that increasing women’s economic opportunities and leveling the playing field between men and women is good for aggregate economic growth and good for development. In line with these arguments, governments in many countries, of different income levels, are looking for effective ways to increase women’s participation in the economy and support women’s economic empowerment. Often, and especially in middle- and lower-income countries, they look to entrepreneurship programs as a way around the lack of good jobs for women, and men for that matter. Entrepreneurship programs come in many forms—they vary by type and duration of intervention, target group, delivery mechanisms. And their effects are, perhaps not surprisingly, equally heterogeneous.

We find that training plus something else—whether finance, technical assistance, or mentorship—has a larger impact on female entrepreneurs than training alone. Programs have a moderate impact on encouraging women to engage in entrepreneurial activity, while results are more mixed on outcomes related to entrepreneurial quality and firm performance. However, there are a wide range of size estimates for each type of intervention, suggesting that program design and country context matter greatly for intervention success.

Read the full article about removing barriers for female entrepreneurs by Ana Revenga and Meagan Dooley at Brookings.