Today, women continue to make notable headways in the entrepreneurial landscape. In 2016 alone, an estimated 163 million women were starting or running new businesses in 74 economies around the world. The gender divide in entrepreneurship narrows on various fronts. First, an increase of 10% in Women’s Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rates between the 2014 to 2016 period brought the gender gap down by 5%. Diminished bias was also achieved with an increase in Women’s Perception of Opportunities, Established Women’s Business Ownership, Women Entrepreneurial Intentions, and Women’s Inclination to be Innovative in their businesses.1 Yet, despite the positive strides accomplished, severe disparities and inequalities exist in nearly all markets.
Running for the 2nd time, the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2018 continues its focus on the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs/business owners around the world. Using 12 indicators and 25 sub-indicators, the Index looks at how 57 economies (representing 78.6 percent of the world’s female labor force) differ in terms of the level of Women’s Advancement Outcomes, Knowledge Assets & Financial Access and Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors. The Index also provides insight on which factors and conditions are most conducive to closing the gender gap among entrepreneurs/business owners in an economy. We also look at which conditions are the biggest disablers or deterrents of women’s ability to thrive in the business world.