Full report
Published: 13 July 2022

Global Gender Gap Report 2022

2.3 Gender gaps in founding businesses

High-frequency Linkedin data for 22 countries shows that in recent years women have been establishing businesses at a slightly higher average rate than men. The share of women founders has doubled in the past five years, while the share of men founders has increased by 55%. As illustrated by Figure 2.6, the trend has continued during and since the pandemic started and included a 43% jump in the founding rate for women between 2019 and 2020. Some portion of this number includes "necessity founders" emerging from the pandemic, with one of the reported drivers of self-employment during this period being job scarcity.9 At the same time, evidence suggests that not all founding activity was driven by necessity. During the pandemic, the number of unicorn companies owned by women increased nearly five-fold, from 18 in 2020 to 83 in 2021.10 This represents 14% of the 595 companies that joined the Crunchbase Unicorn Board in 2021. However, this upwards shift manifests in a context where the dollar investment in women-owned businesses still represents a minor share of the amount directed towards men-founded businesses. In 2019, the percentage of total investment in all-female businesses was 3%, having dropped 4% from 2018. In 2020, that number decreased further to 2% and remained at 2% in 2021. In contrast, the volume of deals involving all-female businesses remained steady at 6%, as did the share of seed investment (also at 6%), over the course of the first year of the pandemic.

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