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Enterprising Women: Toward Equal Business Opportunity in Southeast Asia

Cover pic enterprising women report

© Kanawa_Studio / Getty Images

Gender gaps in entrepreneurship are linked to lower levels of inputs in women-led enterprises, which are shaped by gender norms, legal distortions, and market failures. Removing barriers to female entrepreneurship can unleash untapped potential for economic growth and foster equity of opportunity.

This report explores gender differences in entrepreneurship for micro, small, and medium enterprises in Southeast Asia. It analyzes household and firm-level data from five Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam, and reviews existing evidence from across the region. After establishing stylized facts about gender gaps in participation in entrepreneurship and business performance, the report employs various econometric techniques to understand the factors that are associated with these gaps. Finally, the report makes a case for policy action and presents a review of global evidence on how these factors are best addressed.

To explore the report’s findings in more detail, qualitative work was carried out with female entrepreneurs in Cambodia and Vietnam. A photojournalism book and documentary film (scroll further down to watch) present the stories of female entrepreneurs and highlight common challenges revealed through this complementary research.  

Watch the Documentary "Against the Challenges: Challenges For Women Opening and Running Businesses in Cambodia and Vietnam":

This documentary contains interviews with women entrepreneurs in Cambodia & Vietnam, highlighting the challenges they face during their daily activities as business owners.


Watch the launch event recording:

The Enterprising Women Report Launch Event took place on November 29 (EST)/November 30 (East Asia Pacific)