Project lead for Women’s Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Initiative (WELI), Anatu Ben-Lawal, has revealed that her outfit is conducting a thorough review of the Ghana Start-up Act’s to even gender participation in entrepreneurship.
According to WELI, this review aims to analyse and formulate a set of recommendations in the form of a gender mainstream policy for Ghana and Africa.
Per recent research, it suggests that close to eighty percent Ghanaian owned businesses are owned by men.
Commenting on the policy guide, Madam Awal revealed that the programme is aimed at engendering more women to go into entrepreneurship.
“The policy guide is actually combination of research done to study the practices and methods so that we can improve upon engaging more women into entrepreneurship and building more women entrepreneurship ecosystem”.
Commenting on barriers which inhibit women in entrepreneurship, she explained that these barriers affect women in different ways.
“There are a lot of socio cultural barriers that we could go on about. But there’s also a lot of things looking at the behaviours of women, they differ from men. They have different [ways] of saving, they are attracted to different sector for different reasons, they need a lot of information, they look at finance in a different way and they are also burdened with the issue of domestic house chores”.
Additionally, Madam Awal noted that the program is also designed to “look at sexual and gender based violence and how [we] can look at a way of combating that”.
Entrepreneurship among women
Brookings had earlier indicated that even though studies have indicated that both genders experience difficulty on the labor market, “females tend to fare worse than their male counterparts”.
Citing an instance, it suggests that the 2010 Population and Housing Census of Ghana indicates that although unemployment declined between 2000 and 2010, it was still relatively higher for women compared to men.
“Unemployment among males 15 years above declined from 10.1 percent in 2000 to 4.8 percent in 2010 compared to 10.7 percent to 5.8 percent for females for the same time period”.
Brookings further reasoned that this situation is partly due to the relatively low level of education and other “constraints among females on the labor market”.
“It is within this context that female participation in entrepreneurship becomes very important. Female-controlled businesses in Ghana often tend to be micro and small enterprises (MSEs) largely concentrated in the informal sector. This trend also hinders female success.
“MSEs in the informal sector are unable to expand because they are confronted with a myriad of challenges such as limited access to public infrastructure and services (water, electricity, etc.), cheap and long term credit, and new technologies”.
It further stated that though Ghanaian women have long been active in business, the effects of earlier economic reform programs have pushed more women into the informal sector.
“The reforms ushered in an era of rising prices of basic needs, growing unemployment and underemployment of male partners, declining real income, and the growing demand to meet local levies for social amenities provision through user charges. Under these conditions, the necessity for female supportive income for the household became imperative and women’s income-generating activities became indispensable to family survival”.