Why is female entrepreneurship important in Colombia?

LatAm List (Forbes) – There’s a lot of talk about female entrepreneurship today; funds are building their investment theses focusing on startups founded or co-founded by women, and these efforts are being rewarded and recognized at a national and regional level. With these prospects, it would seem as though it’s the ideal moment for women to launch a company. 

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association in the GEM 2018 report, in Colombia, 17.8% of women have early-stage companies, while Guatemala boasts 24.5% –the highest in the category. Additionally, there are 7.2 female entrepreneurs for every 10 male entrepreneurs, in other words, in our country the proportion of female entrepreneurs is almost the same as the male. The study also mentions that for every 10 women in Angola, 4 are starting a business, and in Chile, this number grows to 21% of women. 

It seems as though emerging economies are seeing a rise in female entrepreneurship and is becoming less common in developed countries like Spain, France, and Japan where female entrepreneurship rates are less than 10%.

Data from Bogota’s Chamber of Commerce (BCC) show that 38.7% of the organization’s legal representatives are women and that between 2016 and 2018, women created 5,074 companies with the help of the BCC. Apparently, Colombian women are finding a work-life balance in entrepreneurship. Being a business owner allows for a more flexible schedule, from my perspective, which could be one of the main motives for deciding to start a business.

These numbers are a great achievement, not just because the participation of women in leadership roles are still scarce, but because it shows that Colombian women fight for their economic independece and it has been proved that a woman that has economic independence is less likely to be a victim of abuse and domestic violence.

In Colombia, according to a report “El progreso de las mujeres en Colombia 2018 de la ONU”, which touches on physical violence, studies have shown that “one of every three women has been battered by her current or previous partner”. Entrepreneurship could serve as a weapon to build a more peaceful society with more balanced family roles.

Although the advances are notable, we should be calling on the government and all of the ecosystem’s players to increase the female representation in politics and entrepreneurship competitions. The importance of this issue transcends productivity and could mean a healthier society where women are able to fulfill themselves economically.

It is important to promote female entrepreneurship because for a woman it can be her greatest act of rebellion and the gateway to her freedom.

Read the original article in Spanish on Forbes.

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