Women in business still doing the lion’s share of work at home

- May 10, 2019 2 MIN READ
  • Female founders put in more than 50 hours per week on childcare on top of running their businesses
  • Only 21 per cent of women said their parents supported them pursuing an entrepreneurial career
  • Female founders have less access to capital than their male counterparts

In the lead up to Mother’s Day, research by 99designs reveals female entrepreneurs face added challenges over their male counterparts when it comes to balancing the roles of parenthood and business ownership.

The study of 1900 entrepreneurs from around the globe found significant gender gaps in both funding and family responsibilities. Women in business are far less likely to have access to funding opportunities and outside capital for their ventures (28 per cent compared with 47 per cent of men). While a majority of women (54 per cent) also serve as the primary caregiver of their children whilst also maintaining a business.

In fact, almost a third of female founders put in more than 50 hours per week on childcare on top of running their business. This compares to only 10 per cent of founder fathers who spend 50 hours or more per week on childcare. Additionally, 21 per cent of women with children, spend 31-49 hours on childcare each week vs 12 per cent of fathers. It seems when it comes to childcare, women are working the equivalent of an extra fulltime job.

Despite having little time to spare, female founders who are mothers were also more likely to give back to their community with 78 per cent volunteering at not for profits and charities (higher than any other group).

Parenting and entrepreneurship may be rewarding but for female founders, it’s not without challenges. Being an entrepreneur is tough, but according to parent of four and 99designs CEO Patrick Llewellyn, “doing it as a parent, particularly a mother, is even tougher”.

“The data shows the vast majority of caregiving responsibility falls on women and this ultimately contributes to both financial and labour inequality,” Llewelyn said.

“With well over a million customers and designers having worked on our platform, we know many of them are balancing the role of entrepreneur and parent, and we think it’s important to shine a light on the sheer effort that goes into making a small business successful, both at work and at home.”

Interestingly, both male and female founders said they lacked encouragement from parents when it came to starting their own business, with only 31 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women saying their parents supported their ventures. The survey revealed these attitudes are changing however. 82 per cent of entrepreneurial parents said they would actively encourage their children to start their own business.