Dell 2014 Gender-GEDI Research Shows Policymakers Need to More to Enable Female Entrepreneurship Worldwide

Dell-India-logoNew Delhi, India, June 3, 2014: Dell today announced the results of the second annual Gender-Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) [ ], revealing that more than 75 percent of countries surveyed are not meeting the most fundamental conditions required for female entrepreneurs to prosper.

Commissioned by Dell, the Gender-GEDI is the world’s only diagnostic tool that comprehensively measures high potential female entrepreneurship by analyzing entrepreneurial ecosystems, business environments and individual aspirations across 30 developed and developing economies spanning multiple regions, providing a systematic approach that allows cross-country comparison, benchmarking, and identifies data gaps. The goal of the research is not to provide a headcount of female entrepreneurs worldwide, rather it is future-oriented and designed to be a tool to guide leaders, policymakers and law-makers in identifying country-wide strengths and weaknesses and developing strategies to create more favorable conditions in their countries to enable businesses founded by women to thrive.

Karen Quintos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Dell, said, “At Dell, we are committed to empowering people everywhere with technology solutions to fulfill their ambitions and reach their full potential. The Gender-GEDI Index provides key insights designed to help countries advance female entrepreneurship and ultimately bolster the global economy. We believe awareness of the current landscape for women entrepreneurship is the first step toward change.”

To inform and refine the research parameters of the Gender-GEDI, an expert panel was convened, comprised of leading change agents from the U.S. Department of State and global organizations such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank, Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), Vital Voices, and WEConnect International, many of whom have already began using the research as a tool to inform policy and institute reform (examples available).

2014 Gender-GEDI Results:

Among the 17 countries included in both the 2013 and 2014 Gender-GEDI reports, four increased their rankings, including India and Japan in APJ, while four showed a decline (Malaysia, Egypt, Mexico and Morocco), and the others ranked comparatively both years.

The highest performing country from APJ in the 2014 Gender-GEDI rankings was Australia. For the second year in a row, Australia (80) came out on top in the 2014 Gender-GEDI rankings, with the remaining high-performing countries all OECD member countries with highly developed economies. Australia is recognized for providing a good environment to start a business as well as having a high percentage of female business owners who were highly educated. The country also had the most female technology startups out of the 30 countries studied.

However, 23 out of 30 countries studied received an overall index score of less than 50 out of 100, indicating that many of the fundamental conditions for high potential female entrepreneurship development are generally lacking in the majority of countries.

“To harness the full potential of the low performing countries, the Gender-GEDI results demonstrate that basic improvements are required in terms of access to equal legal rights and education as well as acceptance of women’s social and economic empowerment,” said Ruta Aidis, project director for the Gender-GEDI. “For countries with moderate scores to improve their rankings, they should focus both on current women’s enterprise development interventions and support as well as basic improvements in the business-enabling environment.”

The 2014 Gender-GEDI demonstrates that top-performing countries are not necessarily the ones with the highest GDP levels; rather they are those who have committed to improving the conditions for female entrepreneurship on several fronts simultaneously, and even those with the highest scores still have room for improvement. While these countries tend to have good business-enabling environments overall, they could benefit from supporting programs designed to activated and accelerate the growth of high-potential female entrepreneurs.

To provide tangible examples on how women entrepreneurs can overcome challenges and maximize the opportunities flagged in the study, Dell commissioned an e-book, Forget the Glass Ceiling: Build Your Business Without One [], featuring case studies of 10 women entrepreneurs, which is available for download starting today.

Gender-GEDI Rankings


Rank Country Score   Rank Country Score   Rank Country Score
1 United States 83 11-13 South Africa 42 21 Malaysia 32
2 Australia 80 11-13 South Korea 42 22 Jamaica 30
3 Sweden 73 11-13 China 42 23 Nigeria 29
4-5 France 67 14-15 Peru 40 24-25 Morocco 27
4-5 Germany 67 14-15 Japan 40 24-25 Ghana 27
6 Chile 55 16 Panama 39 26 India 26
7 United Kingdom 54 17 Thailand 38 27-28 Uganda 19
8 Poland 51 18-19 Turkey 36 27-28 Egypt 19
9 Spain 49 18-19 Russia 36 29 Bangladesh 17
10 Mexico 43 20 Brazil 35 30 Pakistan 11

Index Highlights

The Gender-GEDI is focused on the ways in which government, institutions and corporations can support the effort of improving conditions for high-potential female entrepreneurship worldwide, and the 2014 results indicate that, across all nations, there is still much to be done, but by increasing access to education, technology, capital and networks, significant progress can be made.

  • Access to capital continues to be crucial. Access to a formal bank account is critical for entrepreneurs, especially since it is a necessary precursor to the financing (bank loans, credit lines, etc.) that fuels business growth. Globally, women receive less outside funding for their businesses than men. In 14 out of 30 countries studied, 50 percent or more of the female population remain unbanked, including in Bangladesh and India. There is a 17% difference between males and females in terms of access to bank accounts in India. In contrast, Japan (97%) and South Korea (93%) have a higher percentage of women than men with bank accounts, which boosts Japan and South Korea ranking to the top half of the Index. 
  • Many industries remain male-dominated. Occupation crowding, or the existence of ‘male’ and ‘female’ jobs in a country’s economy, not only contributes to the gender wage gap but also results in the concentration of women’s entrepreneurial activity within specific sectors, which can be detrimental to fully utilizing a nation’s innovative capacities. Out of the 30 countries, only eight received an overall balanced ratio across employment sectors, and in India and Pakistan, formal employment is so highly sex segregated that no employment sectors are balanced. Some countries and industries are beginning to address these occupational inequalities through voluntary quotas and targeted initiatives in the sectors that tend to marginalize women as a result of their ‘macho lab coat, hard hat and geek’ workplace cultures. 
  • Female start-up activity is on the rise in emerging markets. Despite being ranked as top performers and characterized by overall favorable business environments, opportunity perception is fairly low in the United States and Europe with less than one third of the female population measured identifying business opportunities. In Africa, this number reaches 69 percent. Even with challenges around access to education and capital, female startup activity in the region is high at 86 female to every 100 male startups. Ghana has more female startups than male at a rate of 121 to 100. The Latin American and Caribbean countries included in the Index also exhibit high rates, with a regional average of 84 female to every 100 male startups. Asia also showed potential with more female startups than male startups in Thailand (115 to 100) and high opportunity perception for businesses by women in India. 
  • More women are needed at the top. Even when the business environment is right, social norms can affect general societal support for women as entrepreneurs and their access to experiences as decision makers and leaders. Local attitudes towards women in executive positions can also effect whether women choose to take on these higher roles and responsibilities. For the vast majority of countries in APJ, women are not strongly represented in management positions. Four countries (China, India, Malaysia and Thailand) recorded less than 30 percent female managers, while in two countries in APJ, the percentage of women is 10 percent or less: South Korea (10 percent) and Japan (9 percent). While education forms the foundation for high potential entrepreneurship, management experience provides women with additional skills, experience and networks that facilitate female entrepreneurship success. Additionally, attitudes towards women in executive positions can also have a strong effect on women choosing to take on higher roles and responsibilities in entrepreneurship. Successful high potential female entrepreneurs are similar to female executives in terms of their visible leadership roles in the private sector. However, in the APJ region, there are still sizeable gaps in terms of perceptions of women as on par to men executives. In response to a question that asked female respondents whether male business executives are better than female business executives,  only 45- 71% of women in the APJ region felt there was no difference. The lowest percentages were found in India (45%) and Malaysia (57%).  
  • Women’s rights must be addressed first. In 22 of the 30 countries included in the Index, married women have fewer rights than married men, in 21 countries women lack the same access to employment as men, and in eight countries women do not enjoy the same legal access to property as men. Three (Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand) out of these eight countries are in APJ. A number of countries also limit women’s access to public spaces through legal restrictions and discriminatory practices. For instance, in Bangladesh and Malaysia, discriminatory practices limit women’s access to public spaces. In order to foster female entrepreneurship, these countries must first address these fundamental weaknesses and take steps towards ensuring women equal rights. 

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