The Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship in Romania: Background Study for the Romania Gender Assessment
29 November 2023
Although female entrepreneurship is crucial to generating sustainable and equitable growth patterns, international evidence shows that women tend to be underrepresented in entrepreneurship, and this gender gap has exhibited remarkable persistence. In this study, we first measure the gender gap in entrepreneurship in Romania by using various data sources. We observe significant gender gaps, with the average gender gap in self-employment rates being 4.2 percentage points when abstracting from observable characteristics. Even when controlling for observable characteristics, the gender gap is persistent (3.7 percentage points). Other measures, such as the share of firms with female owners and top managers, indicate that the gap could be even larger. Moreover, we observe that the entrepreneurial gender gap varies across income quintiles and between rural and urban areas. In the second step, we analyze the potential drivers of women’s engaging less in entrepreneurship by following the model of the “5 M’s” developed by Brush, De Bruin, and Welter (2009). We find that the following drivers play a role in the entrepreneurial gender gap in Romania: gender gaps in financial inclusion and access to assets, harmful gender norms, motherhood, lack of childcare, and eldercare. Our findings suggest the need for a nuanced approach toward female entrepreneurship that factors in the distinct challenges of different groups of women and consists of a menu of policy interventions. Policies should range from improving women’s access to relevant assets, human capital, and networks to addressing harmful gender norms and sparking an entrepreneurial culture in Romania more generally. Lastly, our evidence indicates that women are more interested in “impact” entrepreneurship. As women entrepreneurs in Romania mainly operate in the primary sector, givingthem a leading role in the green transition has great potential for more sustainable and equitable growth patterns.
financial inclusion self-employed women female managers social development :: social inclusion & institutions private sector development :: social entrepreneurship and business clusters equitable growth gender :: gender monitoring and evaluation gender :: gender informatics femail entrepreneurship