The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the traditional gender gap between female and male entrepreneurs. Babson College reports even before the onset of the pandemic female entrepreneurs earned 30 cents per dollar of a large business. The pandemic has only highlighted these differences between the genders, with female-owned businesses hit the hardest by COVID-19. Literary agent, Nancy Etz, has fought to become a success in her field and feels COVID-19 will see many female-owned businesses shuttered for good.
Taking on Childcare
The issue of childcare consistently rises to the surface for female entrepreneurs. The traditional view of childcare is that it is the responsibility of females within a family. Nancy Etz explains parenting issues have become a problem during COVID-19, with the closure of schools leaving children in the care of working parents. Female entrepreneurs have seen the time they have available for their business and clients slashed as they have faced the issue of parenting full-time during the pandemic. Becoming a full-time parent has been a problem for women leading successful businesses during the pandemic as they struggle to juggle family and corporate roles.
Parenting during lockdowns forced on families by COVID-19 does not only affect female entrepreneurs. Douglas Magazine reports women in business are more likely to employ females in important positions. The gender gap has been widening between the people employed by male and female-led companies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the gender gap caused issues for female entrepreneurs who lost many of their female employees to childcare issues.
New Industry Protocols
Female entrepreneurs have traditionally found a home in the travel and leisure industries, which have been hit hardest by the current pandemic. The introduction of new safety protocols during the pandemic has become an issue for female entrepreneurs, with isolation protocols limiting the desire to travel. The lack of interest in travel and leisure activities throughout 2020 led to a fall in revenue for businesses owned by female entrepreneurs.
A lack of Government Funding
The lack of funding made available to targeted groups by the U.S. Federal Government is a problem for Nancy Etz. The literary agent explains the government furlough and paycheck protection programs have offered some relief, but not enough for female entrepreneurs. By failing to address the specific needs of female entrepreneurs, government agencies are allowing women to lose their businesses at a time when the U.S. economy is struggling. More funding to subsidize the Paycheck Protection Program is needed, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
How to Address the Problems
Female entrepreneurs are more likely than their male counterparts to close their business during the pandemic. Government agencies and financial institutions can play a role in protecting female-owned businesses from closing by offering more assistance. The three Stimulus Bills that passed through the Senate and Congress have offered a glimmer of hope. Female entrepreneurs need financial assistance, even when they have few cash reserves to fall back on.
Surviving the pandemic has become a badge of honor for entrepreneurs, regardless of their gender. Female entrepreneurs face traditional and new obstacles to achieving success that is worsening as the pandemic continues over a year after COVID-19 arrived in the U.S.