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Women are the engines that drive the economy

Despite the gender gap and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, women in South Africa are making progress as entrepreneurs, indicating a strong will and determination to survive, according to transaction services multinational Mastercard’s Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE).

South Africa moved up two places on the Women Business Owner benchmark to rank 44th, with 21.9% of all businesses owned by women in 2021 versus 21.1% in 2020. South Africa is one of only 12 economies where women’s entrepreneurial activity rates increased, with 11.1% of working-age women engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activities. This means that businesses owned and operated by women are not only growing in number, but they are also increasingly important drivers of economic growth. What’s more, when women have access to capital and support services, they are even more successful. For example, studies show that businesses with female owners have higher survival rates than those without, and that they are more likely to hire other women.

In addition to being business owners, women are also the primary shoppers for their families, research shows that 85% of all consumer purchases are made by women. This fact, combined with their growing economic power and entrepreneurial prowess, has made them a powerful force in the economy. Companies that fail to consider the preferences of female shoppers are likely to see declining sales.

This is good news for everyone because when women thrive, economies grow. In fact, countries with more gender equality have better economic performance. That’s why it’s so important that we continue working to empower women and girls in South Africa and around the world by giving them the tools they need to succeed and creating an environment conducive to their success. At Shopapolitan, this is a mission we remain unwaveringly committed to and will continue to walk the journey towards a more gender inclusive economy.

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