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Singapore has been ranked as the 5th best market globally with the strongest supporting conditions and opportunities for women to thrive as entrepreneurs, according to Mastercard’s Index of Women Entrepreneurs.

Conducted by Mastercard, their Index of Women Entrepreneurs tracks female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalise on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments.

Three indicators were taken into account for the ranking:

  1. Women’s Advancement Outcomes: degree of bias against women as workforce participants, political and business leaders, as well as the financial strength and entrepreneurial inclination of women
  2. Knowledge Assets and Financial Assets: degree of access women have to basic financial services, advanced knowledge assets, and support for small and medium enterprises
  3. Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions: overall perceptions on the ease on conducting business locally, quality of local governance, women’s perception of safety levels and cultural perception of women’s household financial influence

57 markets across Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, North America, Latin American and Europe (representing 78.6% of the world’s female labour force) were studied for the Index.

The top 10 countries are as below:

  1. New Zealand – 74.2
  2. Sweden – 71.3
  3. Canada – 70.9
  4. United States – 70.8
  5. Singapore – 69.2
  6. Portugal – 69.1
  7. Australia – 68.9
  8. Belgium – 68.7
  9. Philippines – 68.0
  10. United Kingdom – 67.9

The report also revealed that in 2016 alone, 163 million women were recorded to have started, or are running their own businesses.

But Not All Is Rosy For Female Entrepreneurs In Singapore

However, while Singapore ranked 5th overall, and topped the charts in 2 components (Knowledge Assets & Financial Access and Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions), it wasn’t the same story for the Women’s Advancement Outcomes component.

Women’s Advancement Outcomes, one of the 3 indicators / Screenshot from Mastercard report

This is mainly because the gender divide between men and women’s entrepreneurial activity rates widened in 2018.

This was measured using the sub-indicator of Women Entrepreneurial Activity Rate (F/M) which “measures the bias against women compared to men in early stage entrepreneurial activity”.

It assessed the percentage of working age population both about to start an entrepreneurial activity, and that have started one for a maximum of 3 and a half years.

The widest gap came from Japan (down 56% from 55 to 25), followed by Singapore (down 22% from 62 to 48).

This means that for every 10 male entrepreneurs in Singapore, there are less than 5 females engaged in entrepreneurial activities – this is compared to six in 2017.

The reason given was that females in Singapore “continue to be weighed down by their protracted challenges in achieving work-life balance”.

However, the report also found that females made up 27.5% of the total business owners in Singapore.

While that percentage might seem paltry, it’s actually one of the higher proportions in the markets studied.

Screenshot from Mastercard report

Deborah Heng, Country Manager of Mastercard Singapore remained optimistic in spite of the harrowing results.

It is encouraging to note that although there are fewer women engaged in entrepreneurial activities than men, women in Singapore are fairly driven when it comes to looking for opportunities to enhance and advance their financial situation.

“This may be attributed to Singapore’s highly effective and dynamic entrepreneurial landscape, which offers a conducive and supportive business environment to help them thrive.”

What do you think of the results?

Check out the full report from Mastercard here.

Featured Image Credit: George Gvasalia on Unsplash

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)