Continental Conference on Mainstreaming Gender into Trade
12-14 November 2012
Accra, Ghana"
• The micro and small-scale enterprise sector plays
an important role in African countries.
• The sector makes a significant contribution to the
gross domestic product in Liberia -34.6%, Nigeria
- 24.5%, Kenya 19.5%, Benin - 17.7% and Uganda
- 20%.
• Based on the 2011 labour force figure of 11.5
million, (UBOS, 2011), the number of persons
employed in informal sector was estimated to be
2,2 million.
• Its significance is underpinned by the fact that
• Contributes 60% of the population’s total
household income.
• Provides additional income to most people in
formal employment and agriculture.
• Is easy to enter and exit.
• Provides a good entry point for women and
other disadvantaged groups into commerce
• In the 1999/2000 Uganda National Household
Survey, 74.8% of Uganda’s 26.4 million people
were engaged in economic activity - 38.7% of
these were women.
• Minnitti, et al (2004), confirms that in many
countries, men are more active in
entrepreneurship than women. In developing
countries like Uganda, 41% of men are more
likely than women to be active entrepreneurs.
MSEs and Women in Uganda
• Women enterprises are mainly concentrated in
the informal sector and they constitute 45% of
the MSEs.
• The majority - 92% - of business establishments
in Uganda are sole proprietorships and 39% of
these are owned by women (UBOS, 2003).
• Less than 20% of private limited companies have
women owners; only 2.1% of women owners are
involved in this form of business ownership.
The impact of gender on all key activities
needs to be given careful consideration
• Women are more likely, (because of lack of
information and exposure), to get into
businesses that are already well served.
• Local businesses serve local markets there
tends to be little room for expansion or
growth, thus these enterprises are more often
than not destined to remain small
A Comparative Analysis of Men and
Women Entrepreneurs
• Business Structure - flatter management
• Decision making - Use consensus building
approaches and value performance results
• De facto social entrepreneurs –finance the
social support services that they deliver
Constraints Experienced By Women
• SMEs experience many constraints but for
women it is aggravated by the gender-based
a) Administrative constraints
• Women find it difficult
institutional markets
The lengthy procedure of expression of
interest, acquiring bid documents (Ushs
30,000 - Ushs 100,000)
Local council system of settling commercial
disputes is plagued by traditional attitudes
and the use of customary laws which all
too often militate against women.
b) Financial constraints
• High interest rates and exploitative loan
payment conditions from microfinance
b) Technological constraints
– Lack the adequate technical capability, skills and
knowledge in varying trades which can result in
the production of poor quality products
– Products are not standardised
Information and market constraints
• Women are not as readily exposed to the
information and knowledge that men are.
• Men have more free time and as a consequence
are free to do more networking.
• Lack of representation of women in key decisionmaking organs within the private sector;
700 members of UMA, (350 are active) only
22 of those active members are women. 2
positions for women on their Executive Board
of 18 members.
• The seven gender roles Oppong and Abu
– Parental role behavior
– Occupational role behavior
– Conjugal behavior
– Domestic role behavior
– Individual rile behavior
– Community role behavior
– Kin role behavior
The roles are too many;
• Constraint women’s participation and
performances in economic activities.
• Burdensome
• Time-consuming
• Unpaid for
• Gender roles suppress entrepreneurial
behavior of women except for
occupational, individual and community
which exposes women thus developing
their entrepreneurial competencies
• Women have the additional burden of family and
domestic responsibilities. This has the side-effect of
encroaching on their capacity to generate income.
The Poverty Eradication Plan, (PEAP 2005), notes that
there is a persistent pattern, i.e. that ‘poverty has a
female face’.
• Gender and entrepreneurship are interlinked and
cannot be ignored if women are to be supported in
Thank you for listening

Gender and Entrepreneurship