Summary: This book brings together new household and enterprise data from 41 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to inform policy makers and practitioners about ways to expand women entrepreneurs' economic opportunities. Women's empowerment is recognized as the third millennium development goal; in 2012 the World Bank dedicated its annual flagship, the World Development Report, to gender equality and development (World Bank 2011); and the Nobel prize for peace was awarded to three pioneering women (two from Liberia) working for peace in their countries' fights for democracy and for greater opportunities for women. This book focuses attention on Sub-Saharan Africa, and specifically on entrepreneurship in the nonagricultural sector. The issue of gender disparities in economic opportunities in the region has been studied in terms of gaps in wage income and in job sorting in wage work (Arbache, Kolev, and Filipiak 2010; Fafchamps, Soderbom, and Benhassine 2009; Kolev and Sirven 2010). Other cross-country work has looked at entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa, but rarely with much attention paid to gender (Bigsten and Soderbom 2006; Tybout 2000; World Bank 2004). But entrepreneurship is where women in Sub-Saharan Africa are most active outside of agriculture. So it is critical to look at entrepreneurship to understand the extent of gender disparities in economic opportunities, determine the underlying reasons for these gender patterns, and develop an agenda to enable more women to realize their full potential.
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