News / Asia

Q&A with Ruta Aidis: Best Places for Women Entrepreneurs

Frances Alonzo

The two top ranking countries for women entrepreneurs in Asia are South Korea and China, according to a newly released study by Dell called The Gender Global Entrepreneurial Development Index (GEDI).

Ruta Aidis is the Gender-GEDI Project Director at the GEDI Institute. She told VOA's Frances Alonzo that the study looks at both strengths and weaknesses of each country, which in turn gives world leaders a peek into what their country needs to do to be more friendly for women entrepreneurs.

Q&A with Ruta Aidis: Best Places for Women Entrepeneurs
Q&A with Ruta Aidis: Best Places for Women Entrepeneursi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

AIDIS: The highest ranking were South Korea and China that tied together with South Africa for 11th place. Japan scored in 14th place, tied with Peru. And then Thailand in 17th place.  So those you could say are the top four. 

Every country has its strengths and weaknesses. South Korea’s strengths are that it has a good business environment, has low business risk [and] a good access to finance in general. It’s a strong area for female entrepreneurs to develop, yet it has very low female startup ratio. Less than three female startups for every 10 male startups.  And very low levels of female leadership. Ten percent of all managers and senior officials are women in South Korea. There needs to be more emphasis in the areas that are restricting women from actually starting businesses at the same ratio as men and also providing more opportunities for women to enter leadership positions. Because we see a correlation between women and leadership and also more acceptance of women in executive positions in a country.  

China has a high female startup ratio. About eight female startups for every ten. They have relatively well developed capital markets and they have a relatively high percentage of female startups that are introducing new products and services. 

What we see as one of the weaknesses in China is that it has a low percentage of highly educated female business owners. Only 28 percent of the female business owners have a college degree.  Research has shown that better educated male or female entrepreneurs tend to have businesses that are growth oriented, are more successful  and are able to access additional networks, training and knowledge that individuals with lower levels of education aren’t able to access. Another issue in China is, for female businesses, there are very low levels of women using the internet.  Only 34 percent. And there is a low percentage of women who are accessing bank accounts. Only 37 percent of women in China have a formal bank account.

ALONZO:  What businesses are women starting?

AIDIS: In most countries in the world, we see women crowded in the service sector, health, education, sectors which tend to  have low levels of profitability and are very competitive.  We do look specifically at startups in the tech sector.  And that is low in all 30 countries in our index.  Only averaging about one to two percent of female startups in the tech sector.  We hope to encourage countries to really address that and devise strategies to open up sectors that have been very male dominated such as construction, mining, transportation, infrastructure and so forth.  Even though in a number of countries and also in the Asian region,  women are studying fields that could help them start businesses in the tech sector.  They are studying science, technology, mathematics, engineering  and some computer science, yet women are not starting businesses, and I think the very important question to ask is ‘Why is that not happening?’ Often it’s the attitudes, it’s the macho culture; it’s shutting women out from starting and growing businesses in the tech sector worldwide.

ALONZO:  Some of the Asian cultures are very male dominated, and if they are just not very receptive from the start, how would you get this information into their hands and say ‘hey, this can really benefit you?’

AIDIS: That’s a very good question, and I think there has to be an interest from the country’s side.  And what we really focus on is the economic argument.  A country can say that traditional values are important to us and women are not that involved  in the formal labor force or entrepreneurship . But really if you are interested in your country’s competitiveness in the new global age,  I don’t think any country can afford to restrict 50 percent of its population from participating and creating innovation and new developments that can help boost the county’s economic growth and competitiveness. So, the point we really want to make is that there should be availability of choice for all individuals in a society. So, not all women want to be entrepreneurs - that’s fine - not all women want to grow  their businesses, but they should be offered the opportunity, because otherwise you are basically throwing your possibilities out the window. 

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs