The Development Of Female Entrepreneurship In Eastern European Countries

How active women are in terms of their contribution to the overall social-economic

changes of a country can be determined in several ways and by the use of different

indexes. Some of the most used indexes are employment of women, their position in

political and social decision-making, educational level, and “conquest” of new


Serbia, like the most of the Eastern European countries, which are in the process of

transition, has appeared in terms of the development of entrepreneurship, especially or

the women entrepreneurship. Small or micro businesses became an important actor of

growth and employment in these countries, although these potentials had not been

completely used. This unusual possibility has especially related to those women who,

despite their high education and high participation in labor market, became

entrepreneurs twice as little as men. This difference can be noticed in all countries,

regardless to the degree of participation of small or micro businesses in their


Transition period through which economies of many countries go, greatly reflected on

the loss of job safety, which was considered as the greatest achievement of socialist

and non-market economies. Instead, market movements on the labor market during

nineties, influenced many people to lose their jobs not only as technological surplus,

but also above all as economical surplus. At the same time, the job opportunities

decreased, which was primarily reflected on women’s work force.

Unemployment rate of women was lower in Hungary and Slovenia compared to men,

but was higher in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. This was confirmed in

recent data of “Economic Survey of Europe”, 2002. High unemployment rate is in

South-Eastern Europe, like Bosnia & Herzegovina and Macedonia (40%) and Croatia

and Yugoslavia (between 22 and 26%).

The asymmetries between sexes can be noticed in sacking workers, sector

employment changes and opening of the new jobs in private sector. This could be

explained by horizontal and vertical segregation of women’s jobs, but also with

women’s position in these economies in which men’s work force dominates.

Accordingly, for many women, self-employment is the only way for the possibility of

getting a paid job. In other words, most of the women decide to be self-employed and

to start a micro or a small business, primarily because of the fact that this was the only

possibility to be employed, while the other reasons are much rarer. For example, like

those related to women entrepreneurs in developed market economies (desire for selfproving

in business, the need for independence, desire to achieve business ambitions,

to fully use spare time and to socialize more, etc).

Computerization is evident in all business spheres and it signifies markets of the

nineties, and also influence the development of some completely new occupations like

webmaster, web designer, occupations related to computer graphics creation,

computer games creations and similar, in which women also found their place.

However, in terms of new occupations, it is not always about new jobs, which appear

as a product of fast technological changes and the expansion of computer technology.

It is about “conquest” of some existing occupations that were reserved only for men by


Statistical data in from many countries – e.g., which show that the biggest growth of

women’s work force is has been in these occupations during the past decade. This

index is far behind in Serbia and Yugoslavia not only when compared to developed

countries, as well as but also compared to developing countries. The cause for this

relatively low participation of women’s work force in these occupations and leadership

positions, in general, has been determined by many factors. Primarily, by economic

and political factors that together influenced at the general development, of private

business structure and the growth of employment rate in it. Consequently, this reflected

on the rate of inclusion of women in entrepreneurial and managerial occupations in

Serbia. This can be supported arguments with by official statistical data, which show

that in three-decade period (1953 until 1983), the employment growth rate in private

sector in Serbia was 2.2%, and according to Statistical Almanac of the Republic of

Serbia, 2003. data even lower, 0.9%. Before the war in former Yugoslavia, in Serbia

only 23,000 women out of the 991,000 employed, were employed in the private sector,

of 991,000 employed (1990 data according to the Republic Statistical Institute, from

January 1991).

According to the same source, in that period, 26,155 companies were registered in

Serbia, among which 17,293 were private. Most of them (7,418) were trading

companies (7,418) while 1,519 were in financial and other services. The newest data

from 2003 shows that there are 70,178 companies registered in Serbia, which is an

increase of 44,023 compared to 1990. In addition, in the overall structure of

entrepreneurial companies, men participated with 62.2%, while women participated

with 38.8% in 2003.

Out of the total number of registered companies in 2003 (70,178), 96.2% of them were

small companies, 2.9% were medium companies, while the percentage of large

companies were insignificant (0.9%). Overall, 49.7% of companies had retail trades,

motor vehicle repair and others, while processing industry had (22.7%).An, important

fact is that small companies in Central Serbia realized 74.5% of BNP, while Vojvodina

realized 25.5%.

With greater capital income in Serbia and by providing economic support to small

companies, as well as with conduct of general reforms in economy and society, one

can rightfully expect significant growth rate of private businesses.

In new expected conditions, women businesses will have greater contribution than

before. In addition, there will be conditions, which will enable general improvement of

the position of women in society, who have in the country’s economic misfortune, in the

past decade been in the most impacted society segment. It is also expected that the

forming of a number of women organizations and their networking similar to others

around the world, will contribute not only to better connections between women,

exchange of experiences and knowledge, but also to create new space for

employment. Besides that, micro credits for development of women entrepreneurial

activities is also of great importance for increasing self-employment of women and the

reduction of their unemployment, which is the trend everywhere in the world, especially

in countries in transition and developing countries.

Read more about this topic in the book ,Entrepreneurship: Theoretical and Practical Guide on All Aspects for Starting Successful Small Business (Paperback) , 306 pages,2006. * ISBN-10: 8690372792 , written by Prof.Dr. Mirjana Radovic Markovic ,link


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