According to a study carried out in 49 countries by the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association
, female entrepreneurs are especially common in developing nations like Angola and Sudan, as well as in developed countries Chile and Canada. Many developed nations in Europe have very low rates of female entrepreneurs, according to the study.
The researchers distinguish between necessity-driven entrepreneurship, which can be caused by a lack of formal employment opportunities in a country, and innovation-driven entrepreneurialism, which exists in countries with well-developed formal job markets.
Yet, within both types of economies, big differences exist between the rates of female entrepreneurs. While in Angola, more than 40 percent of adult women engaged in entrepreneurial activity (about the same rate as men), fewer women were entrepreneurs in countries like Egypt (5.4 percent) or India (8.7 percent). Here, it was more common for men to be entrepreneurs (around 14 percent each).
European countries fared extraordinarily badly, with Italy having the lowest rate of female entrepreneurship in the ranking (2.8 percent, followed by Cyprus’ 2.9 percent and Germany’s 3.3 percent). Chile was the developed country with most female entrepreneurs (21 percent).
In most developed countries, the rate of male entrepreneurs was 50 to 100 percent higher than that of female entrepreneurs. Canada was the country which had progressed furthest in closing that gap, with 17 percent female entrepreneurs compared to 20 percent of male entrepreneurs. In Europe, Spanish women, with a rate of 6 percent of entrepreneurs, were almost caught up to the male rate of approximately 7 percent.
A closer gap in male and female entrepreneurs
can also point to less equality in the job market, though. In South Korea, a country with a very traditional corporate culture, female entrepreneurship rates have soared recently
as a response to unequal career opportunities for women.