Just 9% of Belgian women decide to become their own bosses, whereas one in three say they are tempted to go into business, a nationwide study commissioned by the Woman Up Project revealed on Tuesday. Women polled in the study mentioned a negative perception of businesswomen as against businessmen, a feeling of not belonging, and financial uncertainty as obstacles to the development of their professional project.
“Women continue to suffer from a “presumption of incompetence” compared to men,” says Isabella Lenarduzzi, founder of Jump, a social enterprise that promotes gender equality at work. Some 30% of respondents said that presumption discouraged them from going into business, according to a survey conducted among about 1,000 women aged 20 to 55 years.
This study underpins the Woman Up Project, mounted by the Ulule participatory financing platform and the Contrex brand. Woman Up aims to provide six innovative projects by businesswomen with financial and professional support as well as communication advice.
Women themselves are not immune to gender stereotypes. About 75% of respondents felt that senior female professionals did not have enough time for their families. The main drawbacks respondents mentioned also included fear of financial risks, of business failures and of reduced social security.