The consequences of the crisis caused by the Coronavirus in Brazil were many, whether in educational, health, economic or socio-environmental terms. When the look is specific to entrepreneurship, what is identified is that the impact on small businesses caused by Covid-19 is greater for women than for men. Even though women entrepreneurs have conquered more and more space in the sector, there are many challenges they face to undertake, even before the pandemic.
According to research carried out by Sebrae, in Brazil, there are 9.3 million female entrepreneurs. This number represents 34% of the country’s total entrepreneurship, placing Brazil in 7th place in the world in terms of female entrepreneurship. However, according to the Global Report on Gender Inequality, of the World Economic Forum (WEF), in 2020, Brazil was only the 92nd place among 153 analyzed countries, in the average of gender parity. The study has been carried out annually since 2006 and Education, Health, Labor and Political Empowerment parameters are taken into account, which opens up the social and economic disparity between genders.
Of this total, approximately 70% have children and about 45% are the only providers in their homes, emphasizing data from another survey, also done by Sebrae, which shows that most women became entrepreneurs out of necessity, to seek independence and even escape from conditions of abuse and violence.
To contribute to the understanding of the profile of these women entrepreneurs, the Rede Mulher Empreendedora (RME) carried out a study with 1,376 women from different regions. According to this research, 75% of them decided to open their business after giving birth, to allow flexible hours, showing how the themes specific to the genre can directly influence professional life decisions.
Research carried out by Daise Rosas Natividade shows that even women with more years of study are still at the bottom of the social pyramid, both in terms of financial resources and opportunities for professional growth. Opening the business itself, in this context, can be seen as a survival alternative for women, also considering the increasing participation in their homes as the main provider.
Nevertheless, in addition to all the challenges that women face in the process of becoming entrepreneurs, as mentioned above, the impact on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) caused by the pandemic is even worse for them than for men. According to the survey “The Impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on small companies”, carried out by Sebrae, this occurs, among other reasons, because women tend to work in sectors with greater human contact, such as sales, hotels and tourism, precisely those most affected by crisis.
There is also a structural and economic issue, which is expressed by the greater difficulty that women find in obtaining credits for their companies. A study by Serasa Experian reveals that “such a phenomenon may be associated with conditions such as gender bias, less credibility because the business world is traditionally associated with men”. In addition, it is important to take into account the double – and even triple – journey that women face, since they have 2.7 hours more hours per day dedicated to household activities than men.
Given this vast female participation in the sector, it is reasonable to point out that this social group has much to add in terms of experience, in addition to contributing to the country’s economy. It is believed, therefore, that stimulating a wave of professionalization and an ecosystem at the national level of businesswomen would be extremely beneficial. Such a movement would also generate a sense of empowerment and belonging among the class, allowing these women to be authors and protagonists of their professional careers. Just like their lives.