Pacific women hardest hit by virus

THE coronavirus outbreak has had a devastating economic impact in the Pacific, with women-owned/led businesses disproportionately affected.
Pacific women hardest hit by virus Pacific women hardest hit by virus Pacific women hardest hit by virus Pacific women hardest hit by virus Pacific women hardest hit by virus

Staff Reporter

Over three quarters (77%) of women-owned/led businesses reported a substantial decline in revenue in contrast to 65% of men-owned/led businesses.
 
The results were published in a women-focused report in Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Pacific Business Monitor. The PTI Pacific Business Monitor is a regular survey that tracks the sentiment of businesses from across the Pacific region.
 
The July survey of businesses from across the Pacific region found that women-owned/led businesses are being hit hard by the pandemic. 71% of women-owned/led businesses reported that the pandemic had a very negative impact to their business in contrast to 57% of men-owned/led businesses
 
"The uncertainty and having no definite timeline is extremely challenging for businesses, especially female-owned/led businesses," PTI official Caleb Jarvis said.
 
"Although most of the Pacific remains free of Covid-19, the economic impact of closed borders has been debilitating, especially for Pacific nations that are reliant on tourism and it's a sector that has a high proportion of female employees.
 
"We see this uncertainty reflected in the survey, with over a quarter (32%) of female-led businesses unable to say when their businesses will be back to pre-COVID levels, nearly double that of male-owned/led businesses (17%).
 
"It is concerning to see that more female-owned/led businesses have had to temporarily close (41%) in comparison to their male counterparts (29%). Consequently, female-owned/led businesses are less confident their business will survive compared to 25% of male-owned/led businesses," Jarvis said.
 
Women-owned/led businesses are more likely to have barriers preventing them from actioning initiatives to help support their business (65% vs. 38% men-owned/led businesses), with the main barriers reported being a lack of financial access (33%) and lack of government support/stimulus (31%).
 
A higher proportion of women-owned/led businesses have accessed government support, (46% female-owned/led businesses vs. 26% of men-owned businesses). However, a third of women-owned/led businesses are extremely dissatisfied with the government response (33% very dissatisfied versus 14% men-owned) indicating that the support received has not been sufficient.
 
"The private sector will be key in rebuilding Pacific economies. It's going to be a very long road ahead and it's important that as donors and partners look at how to support the Pacific's private sector, the gendered impact of Covid-19 is taken into account and the realities that women-owned businesses in the Pacific are facing," Jarvis said.
 
The full report appears at this address: https://bit.ly/2Q06nni

 

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