Women’s entrepreneurship in Ukraine

Maksym Lysytsia, FK-204i, KNEU


Women’s business … What do people usually think in Ukraine, hearing the phrase “women’s entrepreneurship”? A survival strategy to which poverty pushed us, the loss of a permanent job and a stable income? Or maybe just a desire of a modern woman to self-actualize, to gain economic independence, to engage in “business” that sometimes becomes the meaning of life?

Women’s entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon for the Ukrainian economy, therefore for the study of women’s issues it is necessary to analyze the features and problems of business development.

So how does the women’s enterpreneurship work in Ukraine and has it any perspecives in our fast-groving modern world. I’ll try to disscus this topic more from economic sphere than law, but both of this spheres are going to be explored.

The purpose of the article is to analyze the features of the entrepreneurial activity of women in Ukraine. To highlight the characteristics, types and forms of women’s entrepreneurship. To identify the root causes entrepreneurial activity of women, as well as institutional problems, barriers of various kinds and content. Justify the reasons for the need promoting women’s entrepreneurship and proposing a way to do so through women’s associations trade unions or associations of entrepreneurs.


In today’s world, women’s entrepreneurship is actively developing, for example in the in France women make up 21% of the total number of entrepreneurs, in United States, women own 33% of all firms with up to 500 employees persons.

Modern Ukrainian statistics does not conduct regular monitoring of women’s entrepreneurship, so very few economic and sociological research on analysis situation in this area and it does not allow to form a holistic view of women’s activity in business.

According to the results of a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) women accounted for 38% of all entrepreneurs involved individual activities. They also controlled a quarter of small businesses (26%) and one-sixth of medium and large enterprises.

Data on the structure of owners should be interpreted with caution, as in practice ownership can come from name or instead of another person (sometimes women co-owners are representatives of their relatives – men). According to the report of the International

The issues of women’s entrepreneurship are being studied quite intensively all over the world, in particular, in terms of the need for state support of women’s entrepreneurship in the interests of economic prosperity. Similar studies are being carried out in Ukraine. Thus, the European Economic Commission published the results of an international project led by the Rheinwestphalian Institute for Economic Research in Germany and carried out jointly with partners in Ukraine, Moldova and Uzbekistan.

The project was financed by the Intas Association. Among the results of the study of female entrepreneurship in Ukraine were the following. Most of the business women have a higher education (73%). Before starting their own business, more than 70% of women worked in the public sector, in private business – 23%. Half of the women had management experience from a previous job. At the stage of starting a business, the first most important problem was capital, the second – the premises, the third – the regulatory framework.

Survey data showed that, in addition to their own equity, the most common sources of external financing are informal sources such as relatives and friends. Only a small number of women received bank loans. However, most women entrepreneurs at the stage of setting up an enterprise did not turn to such sources of debt financing as banks, clients or suppliers.

Due to the history of origin of women’s enterpreneurship, many women tryed to change the situation. Retraining and getting a new profession was a kind of way out, but it did not always give real chances of getting a job. After all, hiring advertisements were full of demands: a man 35-40 years old with work experience. Therefore, older women without work experience, having received a new profession, had to rely on chance.

Another strategy was to rely on small but stable civil service earnings; at the same time, a better future was mentally associated with the implementation of state policy in the field of compliance with social guarantees.

There is one more way – the development of women’s entrepreneurship, small business and self-employment. It may seem strange, but the development of market relations not only caused stress and depression in women; it also created new opportunities. Completely new forms of economic activity, such as self-employment and entrepreneurship, have helped many women out of their psychological and financial crises. The working population was redistributed in accordance with the demands of the market economy: and the number of people employed in the service sector, intermediary services, service provision, finance, insurance, and so on, increased, and the number of private sector workers almost doubled.

The development of small businesses, in which women were involved, was fundamental to these changes. Training, service provision, production and sale of various goods, journalism, publishing and agriculture – entrepreneurship of this kind was the first to enter the market in countries with economies in transition, and subsequently made a valuable contribution to the overall performance of economic growth.

Based on the data of these studies, it is possible to claim that the most common activities of women entrepreneurs in Ukraine are the sphere services and trade and regional location women’s business is not affected. The development of women’s business mainly in the field of services and trade can be explained by the fact that:

– previous experience, including home work shapes women’s knowledge and skills in demand in these areas;

– Women are a minority among those who have a technical education and this prevents them from doing business in the fields of construction, transport or industrial production;

– “non-traditional” industries for women need significant capital, and women do not have sufficient resources for this and it is difficult for them to attract them.

The vast majority of women entrepreneurs has higher education, which is typical for post-Soviet states and is associated with the lack of demand for higher education in the public sector of the economy. In mostly before doing business, women worked in the state non-productive sphere or at a state-owned enterprise, but a fairly large share of those who worked in the private sector for another owner (22%). Thus way, before you start your business, part women entrepreneurs already had experience in doing business. It can be argued that these women are starting your business with limited financial resources, but having basic business skills.


Therefore, we can say that and in business, women have fewer opportunities to be active due to availability institutional barriers and obstacles of various kinds and this has a negative impact on activities, and career achievements of women, thereby lowering their self-esteem and desire for self-realization. And although women entrepreneurs in Ukraine make up a quarter of business owners they own in mostly small businesses.

Businesses run by women are less profitable regardless of the industry, the size of these enterprises and their income. It is especially important in modern Ukrainian realities to promote development of women’s entrepreneurship, because entrepreneurship awakens in women the initiative to business activity and economic activity, without expectations for the care of the state, which deprives them alimony psychology and contributes to the formation middle class.

Because women in Ukraine make up more than half of the population and help them in the implementation of entrepreneurial activity and the growth of their business will contribute to the formation of more competitive economy and will be an important factor in greater involvement of women in socio-political affairs.

Women’s entrepreneurship in the world


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