Number and proportion of women entrepreneurs In 2012, the percentage of women entrepreneurs in the European Union (EU-28) was 31%. These percentages vary considerably across countries. In the period 2003-2012, the women entrepreneurship rate in the EU-28, increased slightly from 10% to 10.4%. This was the case in almost all countries, with the highest increase in Slovakia and the Netherlands.
Solo entrepreneurs versus employers Most women and men entrepreneurs in Europe are solo entrepreneurs, persons who operate their own economic enterprise, engage independently in a profession or trade, and do not have employees nor family workers.
Part-time entrepreneurs In 2012, around 30% of all women entrepreneurs and 12% of all men entrepreneurs in the EU-28 worked part-time in their enterprise. The percentages of part-time entrepreneurs varied considerably between countries, with 64% of women entrepreneurs working part-time in the Netherlands, and 54% in the United Kingdom. In 2012, this was only 4% in Slovakia and 5% in Bulgaria.
Sector presence of women entrepreneurs In 2008 and in 2012, a higher proportion of women than men entrepreneurs was active in the sector groups of human health and social work activities, other services, and education. The proportions of men entrepreneurs were higher in the sector groups of construction, transport and storage, water supply, information and communication, and manufacturing. This distribution of women and men entrepreneurs by sector group for was similar for most countries with some exceptions. For instance, professional, scientific and technical activities were dominated by women entrepreneurs in Bulgaria, Latvia and Slovakia. The financial and insurance sector was dominated by women entrepreneurs in Hungary and Slovakia.
Other characteristics Concerning demographic characteristics, in 2012, women entrepreneurs in were on average slightly younger than men entrepreneurs. In 2012, the proportions for women entrepreneurs were higher than for men entrepreneurs in the age groups 15–24 years and 25–49 years, and lower in the age groups 50-64 years and over 65 years older. Most women and men entrepreneurs were between the ages of 25 and 49 years.
Women entrepreneurs in the EU also tended to be better educated than men entrepreneurs. The second largest group of women entrepreneurs had achieved the highest level of education, with the majority of women entrepreneurs having achieved a middle level of education. The top five countries with the highest average education level of women entrepreneurs in 2012 were Estonia, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, and with the lowest level were Turkey, Portugal, Romania, Albania and Croatia.
On average, the mean net income of women entrepreneurs in EU-28 in 2012 was 6% lower than that of men entrepreneurs. However, there were large variations between the Member States. In 20 out of 30 countries (EU-28 including Iceland and Norway), the mean income of women was higher than of men entrepreneurs. Countries with the largest positive income gap for women entrepreneurs were Spain, Norway and Malta, and with the largest negative income gap for women entrepreneurs were Germany, Lithuania, Denmark, and Poland.
More detailed information is provided in the study, which can be found at the European Commission website.
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