Women and exportation

April 4, 2019

According to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, women participation in the economy of the country over the past decades has been increasing more and more. However, women are still less likely to own a business than men. Also, the are less likely to participate in international markets. Why is that?



This could be partly explained by the fact that female business owners tend to participate in industries that usually work on local markets.


Business Size

Businesses owned by women tend to be smaller than the ones owned by men (and they feel that because of their size, they wouldn’t be the right candidates to export.


But it is also a fact that women that own a business are more educated than their male counterparts (which would give them an edge if they would decide to export since it has been reported that SMESs whose owners have high levels of education are more likely to export).


This is important because (as stated by the Canadian Trade commissioner service) “SMEs contribute significantly to the strength of the Canadian economy, but exporting enterprises outperform non-exporters along a number of dimensions. Exporting firms are more productive, they have higher revenues, they invest more in research and development, and they have been shown to pay higher wages”


Cultural issues

A report published by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation states that an important reason for this gap are “Prohibitive cultural and social norms ranging from gender division of housework to women’s business leadership skills”. Women who own businesses tend to be younger and less experienced when compared to male businesses owners.


By 2017, Canadian women were starting new businesses at a higher rate that women in any other G20 country.


Important facts about female businesses owners

According to The Balance, and their extract of the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Canada Report on Women's Entrepreneurship:

  • Nearly 85% of Canadian women surveyed indicated they were interested in starting a business.
  • Most are highly educated - the vast majority having college diplomas or university degrees.
  • 3% were involved in newer businesses and 10% in established businesses (those operating for more than 3.5 years). For men the figures were 20.3% and 7.1%, respectively.
  • Globally, Canadian women rank 1st in terms of involvement with newer businesses, ahead of the U.S., Britain, and other innovation-based economies, and 6th for established businesses.
  • The consumer services sector accounts for over half (54.4%) of early-stage female businesses, followed by business services at 28.2%.
  • Female business owners are on average less likely to engage in international trade than their male counterparts. For businesses that had 25% or more of their customer base outside the country, 31.7% were run by women and 37% by me”.

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