Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs

Latin American Women are Resilient and Optimistic

The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2021 reveals the challenges that female entrepreneurs still have to face and the key aspects that need to be addressed to boost the role of women in a sustainable and inclusive recovery.

MIAMI - March 21, 2022 - For the fifth consecutive year, Mastercard presents the results from Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, an annual study that shines a light on global female entrepreneurship. MIWE’s new edition showcases the main progress and challenges businesswomen faced in 65 economies of the world in 2021. The Index includes a closer analysis of entrepreneurial activity in 10 of the major world economies, and an appendix that highlights the impact of Covid-19 in women led businesses.

Although the pandemic was particularly challenging for women’s employment (it declined 5.0% compared to 3.9% for men globally), the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs shows that women are resilient and optimistic entrepreneurs. While entrepreneurship rates declined in 2021 all around the globe, in Latin America the number of working age women increased significantly, particularly in Colombia (9.3% vs 8.4% for men) and Uruguay (7.5% vs 4.0% for men).

The results from the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2021 underscore the importance of formulating gender-focused policies and shoring up structural reforms to increase women’s ability to participate more fully in the economy.

According to MIWE 2021, female entrepreneruship is an upward trend that is changing the employment picture post-Covid, which emphasizes the necessity of investments to bridge the digital skills gap that restrict women’s access to economic opportunities.  

"The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs is an indispensable tool to analyze the lines of action that address the challenges that women in business still face in our region." Commented Kiki del Valle, executive vice president of market development for Mastercard Latin America and the Caribbean. "Through our programs and alliances in the region, we are accelerating the path to support women at all stages of their lives and further close the gender gap in business."

To address this need and close the gender gap in STEM, Mastercard organized the second Girls4Tech marathon, which held a series of virtual and simultaneous sessions in 17 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on March 8th to commemorate International Women’s Day.

Girls4Tech is a program centered on a unique, interactive STEM curriculum that aims to impact five million girls aged 8-16 in 44 countries by 2025. Its curriculum has been translated into 19 languages and is based on global science and math standards that showcase payment technology, which company employees present as mentors.

MIWE 2021: three components

The 2021 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) uses 12 indicators and 27 sub-indicators to create three “Components”: A) women’s advancement outcomes; B) knowledge assets and financial access; and C) entrepreneurial supporting conditions.

  • Upper-middle income economies like Brazill, Costa Rica y Colombia show considerable advancements in Component A and outperform their peers in high-income and developed economies such as Spain, France, Germany and UK. Colombia has the highest representation of female leaders in the region: 55% of leadership roles are assumed by women.
  • Argentina is the only economy of the region that ranks among the global top 10 in Component B. It is followed by Uruguay and Chile, that also rank high in Women Entrepreneurial Activity Rate.
  • Brazil is the Latin American economy that more positions climbed in Component C. Appropriate support measures are key to encourage entrepreneurship, and Brazil, Chile and Colombia lead in entrepreneurial intention.

Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2021 is a call to promote government policies and private practices that intentionally support gender equality, because increasing women empowerment contributes to a more inclusive and sustainable economic growth post-pandemic.

Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs provides valuable insights into female entrepreneurship and signals subsiting challenges and inequalities, while Girls4Tech is a unique program designed to inspire our girls to develop the STEM abilities needed to be successful leaders.

Media Contacts

Roberto Vila, Mastercard