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Hungarian women entrepreneurs still have a way to go towards equality

Nearly one in every three enterprises in Hungary is owned or managed by a woman, a remarkable ratio by global standards. However, the country scores a lot less well on other criteria, so there is still a long way to go until true gender equality is achieved in the business sector around here.

According to the recent Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, commissioned to celebrate with International Women’s Day on March 8, which assessed factors and conditions supporting and driving women entrepreneurship in 54 countries, Hungary ranks 34th. The top three are New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

This finding is far from surprising, since the most conducive entrepreneurial conditions exist in high income economies where the basic physical, financial, governing and education infrastructure and systems are already in place.

Another group of countries with less conducive supporting conditions, such as Uganda, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ecuador and Peru, are typically home to more necessity-driven entrepreneurs.

As far as Hungary is concerned, the ratio of female dominated enterprises accounts for 27.8%, that is every third business is owned or managed by women. In this regard Hungary’s ranks 15; however, other criteria hint that there is a lot work to be done down the road towards full gender equality.

Take the ease with which women make it to a top executive position, the availability of business training programs, or the conditions relevant for getting loans. Women are discriminated against men on all those accounts, so when considering these factors, Hungary slips to 35th. Hungarian women fare even worse regarding access to financial services and products, tertiary education enrollment or borrowing or saving for business. These aspects dropped Hungary to 42nd.

The Mastercard index shows that lack of capital, regulative restrictions and institutional flaws form the biggest hurdles for women to get their enterprise kick-started. Apart from that, they tend to lack the faith in success and the entrepreneurial spirit, and are more scared of failure. Furthermore, social-cultural limitations and the lack of education and training also prevent them from succeeding. At least one such discouraging factor is present in nearly all 54 economies covered by the survey.

“The study revealed that if women have better access to the necessary resources, they can identify opportunities more easily and they can accomplish their objectives with bigger growth,” said Ann Cairns, global markets executive at Mastercard. “This is a great chance to tackle cultural and organizational problems and further strengthen women leaders.”