Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs


Women entrepreneurs have been carving out a niche for them across the globe, including India especially in niche and unconventional businesses. However, there is significant potential to harness the untapped potential of women’s entrepreneurship in India.

Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs reveals that India scores an overall 41.7 points and ranks 49 among 54 economies surveyed globally with comparatively low Women Business Ownership percentages, thus leaving space for many more women entrepreneurs to join the league. The report further goes on to state that India presents lower opportunities for women to assume leadership/professional roles, participation in the workforce, or engagement in entrepreneurial activities – a disparity that helps explain the very low scores for Business Ownership by Women in the country.

Speaking on this, Sukanyya Misra, Senior Vice President & Group Head – South Asia | Advisors CoE at Mastercard Advisors said, “While necessity and grit are often important to foster female entrepreneurship, strong supporting conditions are an imperative for ensuring a high business ownership by women. While India is yet to travel a long road for scaling up opportunities that foster women entrepreneurship, the potential presented by the country is vast. As the Government and society do their bit to address certain socio-economic hindrances, Mastercard remains committed to help create conditions that will strengthen and enable better growth for female entrepreneurship.”

Lack of education, technological know-how and cultural bias coupled with stringent business and government regulations are some key impediments that happen to undermine women’s ability to rise to positions of leadership and take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities in India. However, this only hints at the vast opportunity that the country exhibits to breed female entrepreneurship, provided the right mix of opportunities are harnessed.

“Women have the ability to scale any heights and all they need is inspiration, understanding and support. And there are people, real heroes, who are making a difference in women’s lives for a better and empowered society. By increasing access to critical networks, our study shows that women are more able to recognize their full potential, achieve their goals and ultimately accelerate more inclusive growth. We have a fantastic opportunity to address cultural and organizational issues and further empower women leaders,” Sukanyya Mishra further added.

Overall developed markets top the index, led by New Zealand (74.4, 1st), Canada (72.4, 2nd) and the United States (69.9, 3rd). These countries have the strongest conditions that support women business ownership, such as robust small- and mid-sized business communities, a high quality of governance and ease of doing business. On the other hand, lower-income economies such as Uganda (34.8 percent), Bangladesh (31.6 percent) and Vietnam (31.4 percent) have some of the highest percentages of women entrepreneurs, driven mostly by necessity as opposed to being inspired by business opportunities.

The full report is available here:


The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs tracks female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments and is the weighted sum of three components: 1) Women’s Advancement Outcomes (degree of bias against women as workforce participants, political and business leaders, as well as the financial strength and entrepreneurial inclination of women), 2) Knowledge Assets and Financial Assets (degree of access women have to basic financial services, advanced knowledge assets, and support for small and medium enterprises), and 3) Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions (overall perceptions on the ease on conducting business locally, quality of local governance, women’s perception of safety levels and cultural perception of women’s household financial influence).

The index uses 12 indicators and 25 sub-indicators to look at how 54 economies across Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, North America, Latin America and Europe, representing 78.6 percent of the world’s female labor force, differ in terms of the level of Women’s Advancement Outcomes, Knowledge Assets & Financial Access, and Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors.



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