Women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship

*Cassiana Abritta
Director of Management and Solution of Sebrae-DF

In 1932, the law that guaranteed the right to vote for Brazilian women was signed. Though this right was not for all women, it was only for those who were married with the permission of their husbands. It was only in 1934 that all barriers were eliminated and all women won the right to vote.

Since then, what happened? How has the issue of women’s equity and participation in the labor Market progressed?

            Beyond this scenario, the growth of women’s participation in the business world has contributed significantly to improving the economy and business generation.

 In Brazil, considering the last 14 years, the number of female entrepreneurs has risen by 34%, according to a research conducted by the Brazilian Service to Support Micro and Small Enterprises (Sebrae) in partnership with Endeavor Brazil. This growth reflects several positive aspects of the female participation in the market, with emphasis on increasing women’s financial autonomy, women’s empowerment and contribution to the family budget.

Women are more interested in starting a business in Brazil. According to the research developed by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2016, conducted by Sebrae and the Brazilian Institute for Quality and Productivity (IBQP), the female entrepreneurship rate among new entrepreneurs – those with a business up to 3.5 years – is 15.4% while the male rate is 12.6%.

In addition, women are not just having a higher rate of entrepreneurship, but usually, the reason for starting a business is more out of necessity than men. Among the new entrepreneurs, 48% of them do it because they need to. Whilst among men, that number drops to 37%.

Woman have occupied spaces where there is a need for more detailed profiles, such as aesthetics, clothing, and food. There are still many challenges, such as capacity building in sectors that were previously predominantly male.

The occupation of managerial positions is also a challenge, recognized as a new achievement – which demonstrates the women’s self-confidence and their ability to adapt to new scenarios, combining management in the workplace with the administration of the house and the education of the children.

Studies show that women’s business performance is benefited by facts such as women paying more attention to detail; being more intuitive and sensitive; minded to invest more in training; and to be more attentive and careful in customer service, facilitating customer loyalty and building a lasting consumer base.

According to the Mosaic survey, of the total number of women entrepreneurs in Brazil, 73% are members of small and medium-sized companies. However, if we take into account the companies in the format of individual micro entrepreneur (MEI), this percentage rises to 98.5%.

Currently, the scenario is quite promising for the development of female entrepreneurship, which comes to add strength to male entrepreneurship.  We still have much to advance and many challenges to overcome, but we cannot fail to celebrate each conquest and be protagonists of our stories.


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