According to a study by Dell and IHS, Singapore is now the global 8th for our ability to attract and foster female entrepreneurs.
This ranking puts us at the top in the Asia Pacific… but it also drops us 3 ranks from 2016.
In 2016, the exact same study, albeit now larger, ranked us 5th, behind New York, Bay Area, London and Stockholm.
This year, we are still behind these 4 places but now Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. have also overtaken us.
To note though, is that the 2016 study for female entrepreneurs only took into account 25 cities, while 2017’s studied 50.
Put that into a percentile and Singapore ranked in the 80% percentile for 2016 and 84% for 2017.
But not only are we still behind last year’s 1st – 4th, now Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. have also overtaken us.
First, The Good Part
This study evaluated the cities on “local policies, programmes and characteristics, along with national laws and customs”.
According to their metrics, Singapore places 7th for capital, 6th for an enabling environment, 5th for culture and 10th for technology across all cities.
An analysis of Singapore highlighted that our notable strengths lie in the remarkable development of our country as well as our progressive tech and Smart City initiatives.
And for females, our abundance of businesswomen networking and advocacy groups clinched us the 5th position in ‘Culture’.
According to Amit Midha – President of Asia-Pacific commercial at Dell EMC – Singapore (and Hong Kong) stands out for its focus on tech leadership and ability to empower female entrepreneurs to stand out.
In March 2017, the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs also ranked us in the Top 5 countries, and in the lead for the “highest rated conditions for women business ownership and entrepreneurship”.
Local female entrepreneurs we reached out to also revealed that although there was still a glass ceiling and gender bias, female-focused initiatives have been instrumental in helping them get their voices heard.
But Here’s Why We Might Be Falling Behind
When it comes to females in business leadership, the study found that women make up less than 10% of company board representation.
Another aspect where Singapore could be improved is in work-life balance.
In March 2017, this sentiment was reflected in a report by Impact Hub Singapore.
While male and female entrepreneurs shared common challenges, the tension between work and home, and their responsibilities as a parent, was one challenge felt more distinctly by women.
In Singapore, the problem is aggravated by the fact that our country is the most expensive city to live in (4 years running).
In contrast, the only American state who made the above list was New York (6 of 10 places in 2017’s Top 10 for female entrepreneurs is a state in USA).
Over in Stockholm, who we continuously fall behind, working adults are notorious for enjoying an amazing work life balance.
Meanwhile in Singapore, we still see news reports like these.
More Can, And Should, Be Done
As noted in the Dell study, “strength in entrepreneurship is not necessarily strength for women entrepreneurs”.
The good thing about Singapore is that in recent years, support has been surging for female entrepreneurs.
Working mothers and women can also access financial knowledge at the The New Savvy.
But we’re still not there yet.
For the full executive summary of the study, please see here.
Featured image credit: Girls in Tech Singapore