What Percent of Private Businesses in China Are Owned by Women?

In China, women-owned businesses began to rise in the 2000s, with Chinese women owning an estimated 40% of all private businesses, according to 2010 findings. Historically, women in China were less likely to own businesses or have positions of power in organizations because of societal gender views, such as financial institutions being less likely to grant loans to women, or employers believing women would eventually quit to raise families. In 1985, the China Association of Women Entrepreneurs (CAWE) was created in order to help give more women the resources to start their own businesses and is touted by many as being responsible for the increase of women-owned businesses.

More about women in business:

  • In 2010, US women officially surpassed men as the majority of the workforce for the first time in US history.

  • China has the highest rate of women in senior management business roles in the world, at around 51%, while the United States has a rate of about 20%, according to the 2012 Grant Thorton International survey.

  • In 2013, seven Chinese businesswomen were named to Forbes list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

More Info: ifc.org

Discussion Comments


@clintflint - The one child policy doesn't explain why China has so many more senior business women than other countries.

I think it would be very interesting to look at the culture and the traditions surrounding women in the workforce, actually. Did they really change all that much during the Communist era, or is there something else that enables Chinese women to advance further than women in similar countries?


@Ana1234 - I wonder if anyone has ever done an analysis on it, taking into account that, in most places, women end up looking after the children. In China, most people are only allowed to have one child, so I think that might have something to do with women being in the workforce as well.

I mean, if you are poor and it isn't an absolute necessity for the mother in the household to stay home and look after several children, then it makes economic sense for her to go out and work as well.

That's part of the reason so many women are in the workforce in the US as well, these days. I don't think it's because all of them are so keen to be working minimum wage jobs. It's because they have no choice if they want to keep food on the table.


I do have to wonder how much of this is due to communism. It often gets derided as being a completely corrupt system of government, but the one good thing about it is that, theoretically, it is supposed to level the playing field in terms of gender. Communists usually believe men and women are equal and should have equal opportunities in the workforce.

I don't know about how it works in China today, but the fact that they pushed that kind of agenda militantly decades ago means that the women there today might have an advantage that women in the US don't have, simply because they have had several generations of role models to watch and learn from.

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