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
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