Southeast Asia is the powerhouse of growth in the modern-day global economy.
In the last few years, the continent has witnessed a robust economic growth, driven by market-focused economic reforms favouring entrepreneurship.
With an increasingly significant role of women in the current political and socio-economic scenario and higher regard for and legitimacy of them pursuing business activities, there has been an exponential growth in the number of female entrepreneurs.
Female entrepreneurship is progressively being regarded as one of the key drivers of economic growth and sustainable development, along with women’s economic empowerment.
The Growth Story
Over the past few years, Southeast Asia has been witnessing a rapid bridging of the gap in gender disparities amid economic opportunities, with a contribution amount of $4.5 trillion projected to supplement its gross domestic growth by 2025.
This signifies the phenomenal growth that has recently been observed in female entrepreneurship, with more and more women pursuing their career in this direction.
For instance, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) hold a high significance in Southeast Asia.
More than 95% of all firms in all sectors belong to SMEs on an average per country, providing livelihood to over 90 per cent of each country’s workforce.
With such rapid growth, the continent is gradually paving its way towards achieving women’s economic empowerment.
Furthermore, women have been breaking the myth about being good only in the verticals of designing, fashion, handicraft, and kitchen industries by creating ripples in almost all industries.
While a phenomenal growth has been witnessed over the past few years, there are some key challenges constraining female entrepreneurship from sustenance and further expansion in Asia.
Women in Southeast Asia can still not completely exercise their rights to decent work and productive employment, with as much as 23% gender gap in labour-force participation in certain regions.
Moreover, they have limited or no access to quality education and skill development, financial resources or social capital, when compared to their male contemporaries.
These barriers are further supplemented by persistent and discriminatory social and cultural norms.
In developing countries, where economic growth is still at its initial stages, women are more likely to remain underrepresented in the manufacturing sector and are pushed more towards agriculture and services.
There is limited access to markets and segments, depending upon not just a female’s education but also her family situation and state of the economy.
Asian woman, in general, tends to not have traditional forms of collateral like land, house, cash and other such assets to their name and this leads to disadvantages when seeking a loan.
Furthermore, there are several legal and regulatory barriers across the continent that impede a woman’s ability to start businesses.
Even where laws guarantee equal rights, conventional social norms that are discriminatory in nature may prevent women from enjoying their entrepreneurial rights.
These key challenges need to be addressed in order to bring about a transformative change in the significance and development of female entrepreneurship.
Opportunities for Future Entrepreneurial Endeavours
In order to combat these challenges and leverage opportunities in the female entrepreneurial segments, we need to ensure better education tosupport and influence
There have been several key developments across the continent in this regard, which have reflected in development indices.
For instance, according to Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, Singapore and the Philippines are among the top 10 markets with the strongest supporting conditions and the best opportunities for women to thrive as entrepreneurs.
Moreover, Vietnam is among the top 10 markets, with the highest percentage of women business owners.
While a lot of these developing countries deem women in the market as necessity-driven entrepreneurs impelled by a need for survival, how women across Southeast Asia have progressively been marking their strong presence amid the pool of entrepreneurs cannot be denied.
Fostering female entrepreneurship will therefore not just empower women, but will also impact all lives around by making the continent politically cohesive, socially responsible and economically integrated on a holistic level.
Southeast Asia has a vast, dynamic and highly impactful potential driver of development that remains largely untapped—the women.
Therefore, by effectively addressing all the challenges through deeper government involvement, strengthening of regional cooperation and easier access to advanced connectivity and resources, financial cooperation, and better market integration, the continent can effectively empower women.
Subsequently, these solutions will progressively help shape the prosperous future of female entrepreneurship in Asia.
To All My Fellow Ladies Out There.
Love yourself, choose the right path and let your dreams take you high.
Are you a woman who wants to start your own business and become an entrepreneur?
Let us know in the comment section below. We will equip with exclusive wealth resources and knowledge that will definitely take your business to the next level.
We at WMA would help you attain your goal by empowering people with the right skills in order for individuals to attain financial freedom.
Over the years, WMA has coached thousands of individuals from all walks of life and have guided them with powerful knowledge and proven skills and strategies towards the path of financial freedom.
WMA will continue to grow and remain committed with our aim to assist people towards their dreams.