Women’s Entrepreneurship 2020/21: Thriving Through Crisis
Author(s): A. Elam


Business startup and growth is an important pathway to industry leadership and the creation of personal wealth, as well as a key source of job creation, innovation and economic growth. In this sense, women’s entrepreneurship can provide a means to more rapidly advance gender equality in industries, communities and countries around the world. The GEM 2020 Adult Population Survey ran from April through August 2020 and offered an important opportunity to examine pandemic impacts on women entrepreneurs, in addition to an analysis of global trends. This year, we also invited GEM researchers from around the world to contribute chapters on women’s entrepreneurship.

This year’s GEM Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Report has three main aims:

1. Identify key gender differences and similarities in business stages and motivations. We identify countries and regions where gender gaps may be significant and where they may be closing. All of these trends are considered across countries, geographic regions and levels of national income.

2. Examine the structural and cultural factors that influence women’s entrepreneurship. This analysis includes demographic characteristics (age, education, household income), business characteristics and cultural factors, such as cultural perceptions and high-growth activities that influence women’s entrepreneurship in complex ways across regions, countries and levels of national income.

3. Analyse how women entrepreneurs were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing this analysis of the pandemic’s impact, we allow comparisons across the country and regional contexts, taking into account the level of income by country as an important indicator of economic development.

Our findings offer insights to a diverse audience of researchers, policymakers, educators and practitioners. Our ultimate goal is to highlight areas where there are still gaps, challenges and opportunities, where women entrepreneurs have made significant progress and where the COVID-19 pandemic impacted their business performance and perceptions.