The coronavirus epidemic has posed multiple challenges to women entrepreneurs around the world, who had to cope with the complex task of reconciling business and private and family responsibilities already in the normal course of life. The crisis has impacted businesses severely, and increased household chores have also caused serious hardship for business owners, especially women raising children.
With the support of its international partners, HETFA Research Institute examined the situation of women entrepreneurs both in Hungary and internationally in the light of new realities imposed by COVID-19. The research conducted in the summer of 2020 was based on an online questionnaire and personal interviews, with the main focus on examining the new life situation of women entrepreneurs and international comparisons of experiences, including difficulties and successful coping strategies. The research included at the national level in Austria, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Germany; and at regional level, Transylvania and Andalusia.
The results of the research showed that the businesses run by women were affected particularly adversely by the coronavirus crisis, because women entrepreneurs had to deal with the harmful economic consequences of the crisis and the increase of family and old-age care responsibilities within the family. Even before the crisis, women entrepreneurs often had difficulty reconciling work and private life responsibilities, a situation that could have worsened due to closures, the introduction of distance learning and the increase in caring responsibilities.
Women-led businesses are also more vulnerable due to their size, many of them self-employed, some of whom are forced entrepreneurs. In addition, a significant proportion of women businesses are active in sectors that have been severely affected by restrictions imposed, such as tourism or personal services. For many women entrepreneurs, a decline in business income also threatens their own and their families’ livelihoods.
Research leads: Luca Koltai, Réka Geambaşu
Contributors: Zsuzsanna Bakacsi-Saffer, Andrea Barna-Petróczi, Virág Zsár
International partners involved to whom we are grateful for their support:
- University of Economics, Prague (CZ)
- Faculty of Sociology and Social Work in Babes-Bolyai University in Kolozsvár/Cluj Napoca (RO)
- Regional Agency for Entrepreneurship and Innovations, Varna (BG)
- Institute „Mihajlo Pupin“ – Science & Technology Policy Research Center (SRB)
- Andalucía Emprende in Andalusia (ES)
- ZSI – Centre for Social Innovation (AT)