Influence of female entrepreneurial performance on the Economic Growth of developing countries
It is critical for a country’s long-term economic prosperity that the number of women entrepreneurs who are actively involved in the formation of new firms grows (GEM 2000). In addition to their economic and income-generating occupations, women shoulder a wide range of societal obligations, including unpaid family workers, community service providers, and mother/caretaker of the family. The fact that women have made major contributions to socioeconomic growth does not mean that they are free of hurdles that impede them from realizing their full potential (UNIDO 2003).
Africa possesses enormous untapped potential, particularly in terms of the potential of women. Women are one of Africa’s hidden growth engines, accounting for the vast majority of the region’s labor force. However, their productivity is hindered by widespread disparities in education, as well as unequal access to land and productive inputs, according to the findings of a new study (World Bank report 2000). A path that African women entrepreneurs take in their quest to find an African answer to the application of models and ideas created in other parts of the world is, in the majority of situations, unique from entrepreneurial activity in developed Western countries. Many women in Africa work in small businesses, especially in the informal sector, and many of them are self-employed. Importing entrepreneurial methods in large quantities from wealthier nations is both unethical and undesirable for Africa’s economic development (SAMEN 2005).
Traditionally, women have had an important role in the production of traditional African economies, notably in agriculture, food processing (including both preservation and storage of foodstuffs), and the sale and trade of surpluses of critical family goods. During this time period, women also engaged in a range of other jobs such as weaving, spinning, and a variety of handicrafts, whereas the major duty of males during this time period was hunting (Kpelai, 2009:145). Generally speaking, the roles held by women were more entrepreneurial in character. Although women’s involvement in entrepreneurship have been put to the side as a consequence of recent expansion, their male counterparts have been catapulted into the limelight as a result of this development. Women, according to Jeminiwa (1995), are at the heart of development and economic progress because they manage the majority of the non-monetary economy (such as subsistence agriculture, childbearing, domestic labor, and so on) and also play a significant role in the monetary economy (such as banking and insurance) (trading, wage, labour, employment among others). As Nigeria strives for economic development, entrepreneurship must be prioritized. A number of entrepreneurial programs, including the Family Economic Advancement Program (FEAP), the Peoples Bank of Nigeria, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS), and others, have already been launched by the Federal Government of Nigeria, all of which are intended to cultivate a vibrant entrepreneurial class that will actively articulate the country’s development strategy. In contrast, women are not expressly targeted; rather, it is anticipated that spreading these services to rural areas, where women dominate economic activity, will increase their empowerment. Although entrepreneurship initiatives targeted at enhancing Nigerians’ business talents are being implemented, women continue to be susceptible and confront a number of challenges and inhibitions that hinder their personal and national advancement. As Jeminniwa (1995) points out, women in rural areas are getting poorer and more disadvantaged as a result of resource depletion and lack of access to key production inputs. According to the Abuja Declaration on Participatory Development, “Sustainable development can only be achieved through the full participation of women, who account for approximately half of the population” (Iheduru, 2002). Given that women constitute such a big part of the Nigerian population (FGN Census, 2006), it is predicted that they would make a significant contribution to the country’s growth. Inaction on the part of women in the development process is a waste of human resources. Therefore, in order for actual economic growth to occur, it is necessary to address the role of female entrepreneurs in a positive manner. Women in developing nations continue to be the most economically and socially disadvantaged population, despite major gains in their status in both developed and developing countries.