National assessment of women's entrepreneurship development in Myanmar

This national assessment of Women’s Entrepreneurship Development in Myanmar presents the situation of women entrepreneurs in Myanmar and reviews the supporting entrepreneurial ecosystem to identify gender-based gaps and deficiencies. The report reviews the ability of women-owned enterprises to access resources and support they need to secure their sustainability and growth on an “equal opportunities” basis. The report contains several recommendations for policy-makers, Employers’ Organizations and service providers in Myanmar to enhance the policies, programmes and services available to support more women in starting and growing their businesses.

The ILO and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation commissioned this report, using the ILO’s dedicated methodology and six framework conditions that affect the emergence of women entrepreneurs. To undertake the study, researchers carried out desk reviews, interviews with key stakeholders as well as a survey of women entrepreneurs and focus group discussions.

The study found that while Myanmar has an emerging ecosystem for the support of entrepreneurship and enterprise development, there are few gender-responsive programmes in place. Further, according to the report, cultural norms and attitudes concerning women’s role in society are the leading impediment to the emergence of women entrepreneurs in Myanmar. For example, norms that pose a particular challenge include the double time burden of work and unpaid care and domestic responsibilities, families discouraging daughters and wives from becoming entrepreneurs, and mobility restrictions that constrain women’s access to markets, such as places where women cannot go and security issues.