Technical Note on Definitions for Women Owned Businesses

Despite progress made on the definition of a “woman-owned business”, there exists multiple definitions for businesses owned or led by women, including the titles and percentage of ownership, management, and control that entrepreneurial women are expected to have. The lack of a universally adopted definition brings a series of challenges across the women entrepreneurial ecosystem with regard to research, the collection of sex-disaggregated data, evidence-based policymaking, international benchmarking, as well as capacity building and access to finance and markets.

This technical note is designed to help inform discussions through an international consultative process organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Swedish Institute of Standards (SIS), and the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO), leading to the development of an International Workshop Agreement (IWA) on the definition(s) of a ‘Woman-Owned Business’.

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