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

Photogallery US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid