Amazing female owned businesses are out there, and they need your support. But why exactly is it so important to purchase from these businesses? Here are a few reasons to think about.
Female entrepreneurs face unique challenges
Running a business is challenging in many ways, however female entrepreneurs in South Africa face some unique challenges, and often have to overcome them despite having less access to support and resources such as capital and training.
According to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), women account for only 18.8% of business owners in South Africa (rank 42). This rank is very low compared to other countries measured.
Many of the challenges women in business face today are the legacy of systemic discrimination, which has historically kept women from the opportunities and capital needed to grow a business.
Many women start businesses out of necessity
According to the GEM 2017/2018 global report, women are more likely to start businesses out of necessity, compared to men. These reasons may include being in a poor financial situation, or not being able to find employment.
This means that statistically, the small female-owned businesses you come across may be the livelihood of their owner, and the only chance they have of being financially empowered.
Empowering women breaks cycles of abuse
Financial dependence is identified as one key reason why some females stay in relationships with abusive partners. In addition to this, women being in a financially disadvantaged position compared to their partners opens the door for financial abuse, which can have detrimental effects not only on the women impacted, but also on their dependents (such as their children).
By supporting female-owned businesses, the cycle of financial dependence and abuse can be stopped in its tracks. While this isn’t an overnight process, every time we support female entrepreneurs, we send the message that females can and should be financially independent.
Gender equality is better for everyone
It may seem as though buying from female-owned businesses means that only women are benefitting from such support. However, statistics show that communities with higher gender equality have fewer child deaths, better public services and many other positive benefits.
The truth is that the more equal opportunities there are for women, the better off everyone in their community is. The economic boost provided by small, female-owned businesses is vital for growing a better society for all.
Being a female entrepreneur in a developing country such as South Africa is particularly challenging. The good news is that female entrepreneurship in South Africa is growing. As customers, we’ve got the power to contribute to this positive trend and be a part of a historical movement towards true female empowerment. So the next time you have the opportunity to, support a female-owned business.