Researching the legal restrictions around women entrepreneurs’ access to capital and collateral in 14 developing countries.
In countries all over the world, women entrepreneurs owning small and medium sized businesses are struggling to access the capital they need to grow. Goldman Sachs estimates there is a $285 billion credit gap globally. Meanwhile a number of factors inhibit women’s ability and incentive to find employment and run businesses, including laws that favour men over women. These include inheritance laws in some countries that favour sons, property rights that don’t protect women’s ownership, divorce laws that give assets to the husband, and restrictions on women’s ability to open bank accounts or access credit. Even when legal rights exist, social norms and business practices may hold women back. Once these are addressed, women’s economic potential and wider inclusion into financial life will have enormous benefits to society.
White & Case, Goldman Sachs and Women’s World Banking have partnered to research the legal restrictions around women entrepreneurs’ access to capital and collateral in 14 developing countries. These include property laws, inheritance laws, bankruptcy laws, credit reporting, and the process of obtaining a national form of identification. They will undertake further research in Brazil, Kenya, India and the Philippines to establish opportunities for addressing the legal and social barriers that are stopping female entrepreneurs from building on and holding their own wealth. The research will serve as a resource for women entrepreneurs to know their rights, for financial institutions to increase investment and create innovative new products, and for governments, NGOs and the media to advocate for a change in laws and to empower women in society.
What help is needed
- Funding partners – to help extend the study to more countries
- Advocates – to use the findings to raise awareness and lobby for reform or create new laws and regulations
- Your voice – to spread the word through reporting or commentary
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