women entrepreneurs: More women seek entrepreneurship opportunities during pandemic, shows LinkedIn data

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MUMBAI: A higher share of women in India is now seeking entrepreneurship opportunities as compared to men, despite the country having a disproportionately low representation of women in leadership in the workforce (18%), according to latest data from LinkedIn. The data, which was a part of the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Report, shows that the share of female founders grew by 2.68x between 2016 to 2021. Comparatively, the share of male founders grew only 1.79x during the same period.
The report also reveals that the growth rate of female entrepreneurship was at its highest in 2020 and 2021.

Apart from being underrepresented in leadership roles, the data reveals that women are also not being promoted internally to leadership in companies at the same rate as men, with men being 42% more likely to be promoted into leadership positions than women.

This could explain why women in leadership roles also increasingly lag behind their male counterparts in the senior stages of their careers, with the proportion of women in the workforce decreasing along the corporate ladder. In India, the representation of female leaders drops from 29% at the senior level to a staggering 18% at the managerial level.
“Working women in India are being held back by more barriers in the workplace when compared to men. But despite the adversity, many women remain undeterred and continue to chart their own path by pivoting to entrepreneurship and building careers that allow them to work on their own terms with greater flexibility,” said Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, India Talent & Learning Solutions, LinkedIn. “We saw this especially in the years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021), when women sheltered from a shrinking job market by starting their own businesses that also created opportunities for other women,” she added.

However, despite this, LinkedIn’s data reveals that there is progress being made – more women are being hired into leadership roles from eight years ago, shooting up to 24% this year – 1.36x since 2015.

“As employers navigate this challenge of making work ‘work’ for women, they must remember that factors like internal mobility, fair hiring practices with a focus on skills, and flexibility are going to prove key in not just levelling the playing field for women, but also improving efficiency through balanced representation, diversity of perspectives and inclusive leadership at the workplace,” said Anand.

The analysis is based on LinkedIn data, drawn from the anonymised and aggregated profile information of LinkedIn’s 830 million members around the world. The share of women in leadership represents the total number of women holding Director, VP, C-suite or Partner positions divided by the total number of men and women holding these positions.

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