Why men are twice as likely to be entrepreneurs as women – and how to change that

Despite the strides that have been made towards workplace equality in recent years, women in businesses are still feeling largely under-represented – and underpaid. 

According to research by Instant Offices, one in five (20%) women in today’s workplace believe they are paid less than their male peers at a similar level of seniority.

And when it comes to female entrepreneurship statistics, studies show, men are almost twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as women are. It’s clear that much more can be done to support women-owned businesses and women in senior positions.

With the aim to support women-owned businesses and those in senior positions, Instant Offices have gathered data that highlight on what the gender disparity in the entrepreneurial world looks like. 

Gender discrepancies in the entrepreneurial space

Over in the UK economy, however, things are a little more disparate. According to MIWE, the number of British, female entrepreneurs is still surprisingly low, with just 5.4 women entrepreneurs for every 11.1 men.

The UK is lagging behind several European high-income economies including Italy, France, Denmark and Germany. UK women also only account for 27.9% of all business owners in the UK market.

Furthermore, the Alison Rose Review study on female entrepreneurship recently revealed some key statistics about male and female entrepreneurship in the UK today: 

Would interfere with caring responsibilities12698%
Fear of starting a business on their own181255%
Lack of skills & knowledge161323%
Unsure of how to secure funding382121%
Fear of failure22213%
Financial risk is too big3031-5%

Twice as many women are put off by family and caring responsibilities than men

The largest gender discrepancy relates to family and caring responsibilities, which was also identified as a barrier by twice as many women as men. 

The number one barrier holding most women back from starting their own business is access to funding. In fact, almost twice as many women as men cited it as their main reason for not starting a business, showing a significant gender gap. 

Women are 81% less likely to be confident that they can access the necessary start-up funds and  tend to estimate that they need 40% less funding to get going, meaning they start out with an average of 53% less capital than men do. This puts them at a significant competitive disadvantage.

Women are more likely to doubt their own skills than men

The report shows that women are more likely to doubt their own skills and their ability to get funding than their male counterparts are. Meanwhile, the pressure to balance the responsibilities of work and family is still much greater for women than it is for men.

Research shows that female-owned businesses are also less likely to scale successfully than male-owned businesses. Again, women report greater difficulty with obtaining funding and balancing caring responsibilities. 

46% of female entrepreneurs did not seek financing like scale loans because they expected issues with the process and 40% said they expected to be turned down.

As a result, only around 10% of the UK’s female-led businesses are successfully scaling up to £1 million turnover or more, while more than double (21%) of male-owned businesses are reaching this goal.

Closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship

The modern workplace is seeing a major shift towards greater flexibility, with remote and agile working becoming commonplace. An increasing number of companies are also looking to initiatives that include men to help move the dial, such as shared parental leave.

This allows more women to balance their work and family responsibilities more effectively. There are many more ways to pave the path to greater gender parity among entrepreneurs and support women in business.

Some useful ways to contribute closing the gap include:

  • Increase funding directed at female entrepreneurs.
  • Provide greater family support with family-friendly workspaces and onsite childcare facilities.
  • Improve women’s access to professional networks and mentors.
  • Provide more opportunities for entrepreneur-focused courses at school and college.

How YOU can get your own business off the ground (and earn more from it)

But if you’re an aspiring female entrepreneur, what can you do right now to help yourself, and either get your business off the ground, or earn more from it if you’ve already started?

We recommend reading this article: 10 reasons why you haven’t started your business yet (and how to get past them). In it we identify 10 common reasons that stops people starting or moving forward with this business and how to overcome them.

And in this article we also explain why your small business isn’t making money yet – and how to change that.

You can read more insight into the self-starter gender gap here.

Photo by Austin Diste