Welcome to the seventh episode of season 2 of the Glorieuses economic newsletter. Each month, we talk to you about economy, gender and race with an international perspective, and with the support of researchers. This month we talk about entrepreneurship and the setbacks of the « freedom to be your own boss » …
Vous pouvez lire la version française, #Economie, ici.
April, 18st, 2021 – reading time: 8 minutes
Female entrepreneurship is life! (Really?)
by Fiona Schmidt, follow her on Instagram here.
If we were to believe the Willy Wonkas of the start-up nation, setting up a business would be a universally empowering El Dorado moment for women, which would solve every problem of discrimination in the labour market. Whatever your line of business, all you would need to do to have the career you want is to become self-employed. Moreover, according to the study « Women and Business in Europe » co-carried out in 2019 by the Caisse d’Epargne and Crédoc, creating a business is a considered career choice for 8 out of 10 French women, while in Italy, nearly 4 out of 10 self-employed women are self-employed by default. So: Liberty, Equality, but definitely not salaried?
The reality of female entrepreneurship in France is much more nuanced– surprise! (or not…) First, while the proportion of forced entrepreneurship does indeed tend to decrease with the level of development of the country in question, gender inequalities remain significant. According to the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report, the proportion of women who become entrepreneurs “out of necessity” stands at 23.9% in France, against 9.7% in the Netherlands, but it also remains higher than that of men in the same case, who are at 21.1% in France and 8.6% in the Netherlands. In addition, nearly 7 in 10 women say that the creation of their businesses aims to ensure their own employment, against a little more than 1 in 2 men. This is in spite of the fact that self-employed business creators are significantly more qualified: 68% of women
This data coincides with the observations of Insaff El Hassini,
If she does not fulfil this model employee bingo then she is marginalized in the workforce, and often finds herself forced to become her own employer, whether she is entrepreneurial or not. « Forced entrepreneurship therefore concerns radically opposed profiles: highly qualified women, or on the contrary, women who have no qualifications at all. As part of the training courses she provides through her association @majustevaleur,
But Insaff El Hassini also observes that entrepreneurship is often the only stepping-stone towards professional integration in the event of resuming employment after a prolonged period of inactivity following parental leave, for example, or when the interested parties are not qualified and / or have a poor command of French. “Discriminated against on the basis of their gender, but also their social background and / or their ethnic origin, these women are over-represented in sectors such as childcare, assistance to the elderly and maintenance. They are all the more vulnerable since there is no union defending their rights, and the fact that a sector is stereotyped as « female » contributes to its devaluing, both socially and economically. »
While these women who experience forced entrepreneurship are obviously not equal in terms of networks, access to facilities and services, business creation support and remuneration, they do have several things in common. Taking maternity leave is particularly difficult, regardless of their field of activity, especially when they work alone, which is the case for most women entrepreneurs by necessity. And it is even more of a struggle due to that fact that they earn on average two thirds of what self-employed men earn, while generally working much more than salaried employees – 43.9 hours per week, against 39.3 hours for employees. They do this while still shouldering the majority of their domestic and parental duties, except when they have the financial means to delegate these
According to our expert, what hinders women entrepreneurs, and particularly those who are not entrepreneurs by choice, are the following factors: educational and sectoral orientation, gender-based relations to money and risk-taking and difficulty in terms of work-life balance. To remedy this, « it is necessary and urgent to train female students in entrepreneurship and in negotiating pay, whether they choose to work in the public sector, private sector or entrepreneurship,” explains Insaff El Hassini. “Most female entrepreneurs base their pricing policies on their self-confidence rather than their skill level – and those who ask to be paid their fair value often encounter sexist stereotypes that stigmatize women who are interested in money.
Les Glorieuses, the Club
The next Club des Glorieuses will take place on Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m CET. This will be an online conference with Lucile Peytavin, historian, specialist in women’s work in crafts and commerce. The Cost of virility (Anne Carrière editions) is her first essay. To register, go here.
MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER
For more than a hundred years, L’Oréal has been dedicated to beauty professions. With an international portfolio of 34 brands, the group managed to achieve a turnover of 29,9 billion euros in 2019 and has more than 88 000 collaborators around the globe.
L’Oréal is an all time leader regarding professional equality. In 2019, women represented 70 % of the total workforce, 53 % of the members of our board of directors, 30 % of the members of our executive committee and 54 % of strategic
In 2019, L’Oréal has been ranked in the “TOP 5 Worldwide” by Equileap, first database to rank 3 500 businesses listed in the stock exchange. The group is also named in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2020, which values businesses engaged in professional equality.
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