In Africa, many professions are related to male figures. Thus, stereotypes continue to have a strong impact on the choice of occupations. This is why entrepreneurship is considered a man’s sector. However, women are in fact an essential pillar for this sector.
Entrepreneurship is not necessarily affiliated with a particular gender. Both men and women can undertake well. Often used in the business sector, the term enterprise is associated with the creation of economic activity in order to achieve desired goals. Therefore, women’s entrepreneurship is the foundation of a balanced society, as it also allows women to present their genius for creativity and innovation.
These stereotypes in female entrepreneurship
In Africa, women’s sphere of action seems to be limited to the household or a department, under the supervision of a man. Indeed, there are many prejudices about being a woman and having a successful business. Assogba Elodie, an entrepreneur in Cotonou, seems to have broken the yoke: “It is often said that women cannot undertake because of the various difficulties linked to this sector, but I undertook the manufacture of liquid soaps and today I am the owner of a large storage shop.
In society, it is acceptable to see men as company directors or general managers, but it is difficult to imagine a woman in these positions of responsibility. This is not because they don’t have the profile but just because they are women. It is a great and unfounded cliché of the entrepreneurial world that a woman cannot reconcile her business and her personal life, especially when she is a housewife.
From another point of view, the common man implies that women are not strong and courageous enough to take risks. That they are not as resilient or persistent as men. Nevertheless, the essence of the African woman is hope, courage and perseverance. Thus, many of these inequalities continue to affect women in African societies.
Realities that reverse the trend
The rate of women entrepreneurs on the African continent is not negligible. As a result, many women are starting up businesses. They can be found in all areas with unparalleled bravery. This value allows them to be an integral part of the economic, social and sustainable development of the continent. Indeed, many of them are running large companies, opening large shops and emerging in the entrepreneurial field. Therefore, they show remarkable business acumen, tenacity and courage. Some of them even work six and a half days a week. If entrepreneurship is about taking risks, women take far more risks than men.
For Vinangnon, a trader in Abomey-Calavi, “It is not always easy to launch a business on your own, especially when you are a woman, but it is clear that we are much more successful in entrepreneurship. This capacity is innate to us and when we take something on, we see it through to the end.
During the Africa-France Forum in Paris in December 2016, Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “The entrepreneurial capacity of women in Africa is impressive. They are essential agents of production”. Thus, women play an important role in society as key players in the fight against poverty. To reduce marital burdens, they undertake small income-generating activities. They are sometimes ready to take over when the man is in financial difficulties. Moreover, woman has this ability to reconcile her married life with the management of her household. Despite sexism and inequality, they are still proving their worth in this field on the continent.
Potentialities that dispose women to entrepreneurship
It must be acknowledged that women are much more flexible than men in interpersonal relationships. This essential entrepreneurial asset allows them to win many more markets and to stand out in the competition. Secondly, they have strong accounting, savings and human resource management skills, which is part of their maternal instinct. Thus, very few interfere in cases of corruption, mismanagement of funds or embezzlement. Women have always been and remain the crucial link without which no system in the world can work. This explains why they are actively sought after for certain positions in the private and public services.