Women historically experience significant challenges to accessing capital and resources in pursuit of starting and maintaining businesses. This reality has forced women-led businesses, or family businesses where the primary borrower is a woman, to adapt and take flexible and creative approaches in order to survive and thrive. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a tremendous opportunity to learn from the resiliency of women facing these day-to-day challenges, and to identify and address barriers to equitable economic redevelopment outcomes. Specifically, this is an opportunity to develop and apply policies and approaches that elevate the entrepreneurship of women and other marginalized groups, rather than maintaining biased investment practices that perpetuate disproportionate power dynamics and systems.
In responding to the economic crisis resulting from COVID-19, it is clear that we must take care not to leave behind women-led businesses or businesses that have a heavy impact on women. In coordinating response efforts across governments and donor agencies, we must include women proactively in response design and, further, learn from their experiences and resiliency in order to improve the traditional economic system moving forward.