Firms managed by females in the Caribbean are not as productive as those of their male counterparts, according to a new report. Those owned by women, on the other hand, were found to be just as productive as the ones owned by males.
However, the authors of the report ‘Exploring Firm-level Innovation and Productivity in Developing Countries: The perspective of Caribbean small states’ have concluded that differences in firm size, age, and access to finance across gender explained a significant part of the productivity gap of female-managed firms.
And they suggest that policies aimed at promoting firm growth and access to finance for businesses managed by women are likely to be the most effective way to narrow the gender productivity gap.
Additionally, potential innovators had the largest percentage of female managers at 24 percent, followed by innovators at 18 percent and non-innovators 12 percent.
“This suggests that female-managed firms are especially deterred by barriers to innovation. Given a growing literature documenting a long tail of persistently badly managed firms in all countries and all sectors, more research is warranted to identify the linkages between female management, skills, organizational practices, and innovation,” the authors concluded.
It was also determined that a gender gap related to access to finance in the region, as women who owned or managed firms were less likely to demand credit and more likely to report access to finance as a severe obstacle to growth.
The authors also found a gender gap in access to credit particularly affected the performance of female-managed firms.
They have recommended that innovation policies better target the affected firms and their specific needs, thereby contributing to reducing potential gender discrimination.
Overall, the study found that access to finance, human capital, business climate and regulatory issues, and infrastructure were affecting productivity in the region.
The report was a collaboration of the Compete Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank, UK Aid, the Canadian government and the Caribbean Development Bank. CARIBBEAN360