A crying woman. Picture: Andres Kudacki
A crying woman. Picture: Andres Kudacki

Women entrepreneurs lost more businesses than men in Covid-19 pandemic

By Xolile Mtembu Time of article published Dec 8, 2021

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Women Entrepreneurship Day Organisation (Wedo) says the Covid-19 pandemic has been anything but business as usual for women entrepreneurs.

The organisation said across the world, women entrepreneurs have been impacted by Covid-19 the most because of having to balance work responsibilities with looking after family.

Wedo cited the March 2021 World Bank Enterprise Survey, which showed that due to the pandemic, women sacrificed more time tending to their families than men.

"This uneven support and share of care have gone hand-in-hand with a greater risk of women-led businesses closing down," said the organisation.

It described this as a "she-cession" which pushed women out of the workforce.

"Women's jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than those of men. In South Africa, it is estimated that women have suffered two-thirds of the job losses due to the pandemic."

On December 4, Wedo held its fourth annual Biosummit, an event where entrepreneurs held discussions about their businesses. South Africa lead for Wedo, Nokuthula Magwaza, said the summit's theme of "Let’s forge forward“ was to inspire women in business to continue going after their goals, regardless of challenges.

"We also want to call on South Africans to help women-led businesses to rebuild, as many of these businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic," said Magwaza.

According to Wedo, sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s highest rate of women entrepreneurs.

"In South Africa, women entrepreneurs report a strong dedication to their communities, seeing a role for themselves and fellow women entrepreneurs in creating jobs.

"Motivations behind launching their own business reflect their interests in supporting themselves and their families, as well as their commitment to uplifting others.

The National Income Dynamics Study-Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey for 2020 found that women were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“Of the approximately 2.9 million net job losses that occurred between February and April (2020), among all adults aged 18 and older, women accounted for two-thirds. Because women were more likely than men to have lost a job and less likely than men to have gained a job, overall, women accounted for the bulk of net job losses,” reported the study.


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