The relatively low rates of entrepreneurial activity among women represent a key
concern for policy, since they signal a clear under-utilisation of entrepreneurial human capital. It is informative for policy makers to
have distinct information on women and men employers (self-employed who employ others) and women and men own-account workers
(self-employed working on their own). The first category is more likely to represent entrepreneurs.
The number of women employers is given by
the number of women who report a professional status of "self-employed with employees" in
population surveys. The number of women own-account workers is given by the number of women
who report a professional status of "self-employed without employees" . The
share of women employers is given by the number of women employers over the total number of employed women. The share of women own-account workers is given by the number of women own-account workers over the
total number of employed women. The same indicators are calculated for self-employed men.
Self-employment jobs are those
"jobs where the remuneration is directly dependent upon the profits (or the potential for
profits) derived from the goods and services produced (where own consumption is considered to be part of profits). The
incumbents make the operational decisions affecting the enterprise, or delegate such decisions while retaining responsibility
for the welfare of the enterprise" (15th ILO Conference of Labour Statisticians, January 1993). Both
unincorporated and incorporated self-employed women and men are included when the information is available.
The main comparability issue relates to the classification of the incorporated
self-employed. While in official statistics of most OECD countries, the self-employed who incorporated their businesses are counted
as self-employed, in some countries such as Australia and the United States they are counted as employees. To improve international
comparability, the number of incorporated employers and own-account workers in the United States was estimated, using information on
the percentage of incorporated self-employed men and women who have employees, available for 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005 from the
Contingent and Alternative Work Arrangements Surveys. For the missing years between 1996 and 2004, this percentage has been derived
through linear interpolation. For the years 2006 to 2011, the percentage for 2005 has been used.
Women are significantly under-represented in the population of
employers. The gender differences are relatively lower when looking at the population of own-account workers. In Europe and
in the United States, the number of women employers has remained stable over the last decade, while the number of men
employers has been slightly decreasing.