Gender Differences Affect Business Ownership


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, although women were about half as likely as men to become owners of a private incorporated business, women and men were influenced by similar factors with regard to entry into private incorporated business ownership. However, statistically significant sex differences existed in the impact of these factors on the probability of entry. Statistics Canada’s ‘Who are the Men and Women Entering Business Ownership in Canada?’ says in 2016, male entrants were concentrated in men-owned enterprises (MOEs), while the distribution of female entrants was more balanced across the three types of enterprises factors ‒ MOEs, women-owned enterprises (WOEs), and equally-owned enterprises (EOEs). Overall, 79.0 per cent of male entrants into business ownership became owners of MOEs, compared with 44.2 per cent of women entrants who became owners of WOEs. Although the factors that influenced the decision of men and women to enter into business ownership were almost the same, there are significant differences in the magnitude of impacts for these factors. For both sexes, having a spouse who was already a business owner in the previous year was an important determinant of entry into business ownership. However, the probability of entry for a woman whose spouse was a business owner was 2.3 percentage points lower than that for a man, even though female entrants were proportionately more likely to have a spouse who was a business owner. It was also found that negative income and being unemployed led to a greater probability of entry into business ownership. As well, having young children tended to attract men to MOEs and EOEs and women to WOEs and EOEs.