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.