Economic Empowerment and Livelihood
Hindrances encountered by women entrepreneurs in accessing financial opportunities in South Africa
Research on female entrepreneurship is imperative to create a knowledge base of women’s experiences with regards to being financially excluded in South Africa. There is a realisation, however, that, while race has historically been the primary driver of economic disparities in South Africa, other forms of discrimination also prevent certain groups from accessing economic freedom and opportunities. Women, who represent 52% of the South African population, still suffer from historical and cultural prejudice in accessing opportunities, for a number of reasons that are outlined in this study. While access to financial services continues to be largely racially defined in South Africa, the gender gap between men and women does exist, and is likely to grow if special efforts are not undertaken to address the underlying issues now. Black women are the largest single self-employed segment of the population; a fact that is not reflected in the current industry targets for business activity. This paper examines the extent to which financial service providers in the country were sufficiently aware of the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in South Africa.
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