There is little doubt that women, especially those working in local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 recession. Women felt the effects of the pandemic almost immediately.
And when events unfold further, we have not yet seen the full, lasting effect. Due to caring for children or studying from home, women are almost twice as likely to lose their careers as men are during this pandemic.
While it’s true that many new ideas and businesses are being established, COVID-19 may have set the clock back on women’s labour participation and entrepreneurialism. Thanks to the increased diversity of talent pools made possible by flexible work arrangements, women are better positioned to start and grow successful enterprises.
It sped up the spread of digital technologies and encouraged women to make more frequent use of digital tools. These uncertain times may, in reality, present our best chance for innovation-driven growth in decades.
We need to be quick to act in the face of persistent difficulties and constant transformation. Targeted and gender-responsive aid for small businesses is essential. The specific difficulties encountered by female-owned firms must be taken into account in our response. To ensure that nobody gets left behind, we must act now.
So, what can we do to ensure that our startup founders not only survive, but also succeed? To recover from the post-COVID “She-cession,” try these three easy steps.
1. Do Not Stop your Rapid Reconstruction.
When the pandemic hit, governments all across the world rushed to help their economies recover by injecting cash into the markets. However, different things have progressed throughout the world. Markets in China, Hong Kong, and Japan are still loaded with enterprises and livelihoods on hold due to ongoing distancing and preventive measures, however in other places including Europe, the USA, Australia, and Singapore, steps have been put in place to return to near-normal.
The economic slump has left its mark, and the rate of recovery varies widely. There has been a decrease in sales for 77% of female-owned businesses in the Asia-Pacific region due to the spread of COVID-19. Also, the number of women in the labour force has dropped since 1988, with the most recent drop occurring in 2017.
On the bright side, we can change the world for the better by advocating for the importance of women in business and female entrepreneurs. Young companies and growing enterprises of any size are the lifeblood of a healthy economy.
2. Revise the Meaning of Corporate Networking
Because of this, the second stage is to reimagine the nature of future startups in order to provide the resources that female business owners require to succeed. We need to close the gender gap in internet use and use e-commerce to reach untapped markets if women are to be competitive in today’s workforce. Unfortunately, women-owned businesses still face barriers to entry when it comes to taking use of e-commerce. The percentage of female-led exporting businesses is significantly lower than the global average.
In order to successfully partake in international online trade, you need to have reliable access to both logistics and information technology networks. For female business owners, digital distinctiveness is crucial, and Asia is at the heart of our reimagining of this change.
When it comes to online payments, customer service, and even customs procedures, women business owners urgently need more training in the digital realm. In the Philippines, one luxury packaging firm operated by women had to close down during the COVID-19 quarantine. Nonetheless, by leveraging technology and worldwide supply chain linkages, they were able to keep winning jobs despite operating the company out of their homes.
3. Revisit the Concept of “Breaking Through” for Female Business Owners in Your Thinking.
The final step for recovery, in this quickly shifting business climate, is to reevaluate all that has come before. The pandemic is compelling us to rethink how we collaborate in order to introduce system-wide change.
We need more gender-neutral tools and services for women entrepreneurs because the gendered structure of entrepreneurship means that support and financial networks are generally geared toward men. Great examples of organisations providing support and business linkages include the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) and the Impact Investment Exchange (IIX). To not just beat the odds women confront when trying to get capital, but also when trying to figure out how to rapidly expand their businesses.
I Need You to Do Something; Development is at Stake
During the pandemic, women have had to play many different roles. We need to rethink how to eliminate gender inequities and barriers to work as we reimagine and re-build recovery-oriented business models. Collective effort is needed to get more women into paid labour and business ownership.
McKinsey estimates that global GDP may grow by an extra $13 trillion by the year 2030 if we take swift action. If we don’t act soon, it might cost trillions of dollars and undo all the progress made in recent years toward gender parity. We have no more time to waste.