Favorable entrepreneurial framework and conditions characterized by high levels of support for SMEs, ease of doing business, and access to financial services and academic programs may be key factors for women advancement in business based on the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2019 through the findings of countries like the US, New Zealand and Canada. But the Philippines, however, stood out as a promising market showing that women in less wealthy and developed economies can still thrive in entrepreneurial businesses.

STRONG FEMALE REPRESENTATION

Ranking first out of 58 economies for the “Women’s Advancement Outcomes” component, the Philippines stood out in terms of women’s ability to thrive as business leaders, professional and technical workers, entrepreneurs and labor force participants. Three other markets in Asia-Pacific joined the Philippines in the top 10 ranks: Thailand (4), Vietnam (7) and New Zealand (10).

The index also highlighted that Filipino women are fairly represented in the workforce, with 52 percent of business leaders and 58.2 percent of professional workers being female. Filipino women were also found to be just as likely as their male counterparts to go into entrepreneurship.

LIMITED ACCESS TO EDUCATION AND FUNDING

Unlike the previous metric, the Philippines failed to crack into the top of “Knowledge Assets and Financial Access” lists. This component gauges women’s progress and the degree of marginalization they face as financial customers and academically in terms of opportunities to enroll in tertiary institutions, women’s inclination to borrow or save for business and support rendered for SMEs. Among all 58 countries evaluated, the Philippines, ranked 20th, lagged behind a mix of high-income, upper middle-income and similar lower middle-income markets across different regions including nine other markets from Asia-Pacific.

Filipino women were also found to be just as likely as their male counterparts to go into entrepreneurship.

The index noted that in the country, financial support for SMEs is quite weak. This is indicated by gender gap in access to financial services, perception on physical infrastructure, and accessibility, range and effectiveness of government programs. Nevertheless, the Philippines was noted for being one of the markets with the least gender divide when it comes to borrowing or saving for business.

LACK OF ENABLING ENTREPRENEURIAL CONDITIONS

Out of the three components of the index, “Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions” saw the lowest evaluation of the Philippines, coming in at 38th. This measures how supporting entrepreneurial conditions are either enablers or constraints of women business ownership through four indicators: ease of doing business, cultural perceptions of women entrepreneurs, quality of governance and entrepreneurial supporting factors. This part of the index was dominated by wealthy and developed countries in North America (US and Canada) and Europe (Switzerland, Canada, Denmark, the UK and Ireland) where highly supportive entrepreneurial conditions appear to play a role in advancing women’s ability to thrive in business.

THE PHILIPPINES IS STILL A PROMISING OUTLIER FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS

To finally round up its ranking, the index compounded all components for each of the 58 markets. High-income, innovative and well-developed economies such as the US, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, Ireland, Taiwan, Switzerland, Singapore, the UK and Poland topped the overall ranks as these have also secured the better ranks for each component of the index. This reaffirms that markets with highly favorable entrepreneurial frameworks and conditions tend to drive women towards entrepreneurship. However, the Philippines also proved that women in less wealthy economies are able to overcome infrastructural shortcomings as it broke the streak of high-income countries at 11th.

Out of the three components of the index, “Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions” saw the lowest evaluation of the Philippines, coming in at 38th. This measures how supporting entrepreneurial conditions are either enablers or constraints of women business ownership through four indicators: ease of doing business, cultural perceptions of women entrepreneurs, quality of governance and entrepreneurial supporting factors.

While these evaluations give insight on how promising the entrepreneurial framework in the Philippines already is, the MIWE results also show how the balance of different factors can contribute to an even better environment for women in business. It shows the importance of designing policies and solutions with women in mind, and in such a way that allows for inclusive growth in business. By ensuring that all women in the country can access financial resources such as bank accounts, credit and insurance, and sufficient education, the Philippines will be able to foster a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship and empower women with the right tools and mindset to proactively pursue business.

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