Today, International Women's Day, the figure of the self-employed worker deserves special dedication. There are many challenges that still lie ahead, and its situation in the Spanish business fabric deserves reflection, and what better day to do so than today.
The self-employed worker shortens distances with the self-employed worker
Although it is true that, according to the latest National Self-Employment Study (ENA), women entrepreneurs represent 36.5% of self-employment, their growth rate is higher than their opposite sex.
Last year the rate of creation of female self-employed employment was more than one point higher than that of men (2.4 % vs. 1.1 % year-on-year) and at the end of 2018, of the 49,986 new members of the Self-Employed Regime (RETA) , more than half were women, specifically, 55.3%. The Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index (AESI) also brings good news and indicates that the entrepreneurial intention of women is six points higher than in the previous edition, compared to the four points that the male entrepreneurial intention has climbed.
The fact that the number of women in Spain is growing more than the number of men means that the gender gap in entrepreneurship narrows year after year.
In addition, the autonomous woman stars in the economic recovery. According to the Association of Self-Employed Workers (ATA), while the number of self-employed women is already positive, there are still 208,849 male self-employed workers less than in May 2008. Specifically, the RETA registers 52,878 more self-employed women than before the economic crisis, a figure that represents a growth of 4.8%.
Towards leadership in the family business
The generational change in family businesses is also carried out by women. According to the report Competitiveness factors and financial analysis in family businesses published in 2018 by the Family Business Institute, the female presence in the bodies associated with the management and governance of the company is still timid but palpable. 28.8% of managers are women. On average, 31.9% of the boards of directors of family businesses have a woman.
Women's entrepreneurship programs and professional networks are a constant in the current panorama of women entrepreneurs. Initiatives to share, grow and expand contacts and training have a special role, being a clear example of this the professional network Womenalia. In this sense, the group organization has a positive impact on the businesses of autonomous women.
Difficult access to financing
But not all are milestones. The self-employed woman continues to face barriers to entrepreneurship, such as access to financing. The 77% of the self-employed women consider this element as a brake on self-employment compared to the 64% of the group of self-employed men.
Work-life balance: the eternal struggle
Although many self-employed people embark on self-employment in search of work-life balance, the reality is that this is not so easily achievable, presenting substantial differences with respect to the rights of salaried workers. Due to her very nature as a self-employed worker, the self-employed mother is not entitled to paid lactation leave or a derived reduction in working hours.
Special mention should be made of the fact that self-employed mothers are still waiting to be able to take advantage of the flat rate for one year after maternity without having to stop the activity after taking leave.
Despite the commitment made by the Ministry of Employment at the end of 2018, the reality is that the measure remains unchangeable and all the self-employed who for reasons of maternity, adoption or foster care want to benefit from a reduced fee of 60 euros for one year will have to cease activity in Social Security and the Treasury and return to it up to two years after maternity.
Even Royal Decree-Law 6/2019, of March 1, on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in employment and occupation, in its article 7, confirms the obligation to cease the activity to benefit from the measure.
The path of the autonomous woman is not exactly roses, however, despite the sometimes adverse conditions, she marches steadily. Ahead, they have challenges to face with tenacity, courage and motivation, the values of entrepreneurship