A study by Företagarna, an organization representing Swedish entrepreneurs, shows that Sweden has fewer women entrepreneurs than almost every other country in Europe.
The study reports that only 3.9 percent of Swedish women run their own companies, well below the EU average of 5.7 percent.
“The results are alarming. Things look pretty bad when it comes to gender equality among entrepreneurs, both from a national and international perspective,” said Företagarna CEO Anna-Stina Nordmark Nilsson.
Only Malta and Ireland received lower gender equity rankings than Sweden for entrepreneurs, according to the study’s comparison of twenty-five EU member states.
Of Sweden’s 290 municipalities, Åre in the western Swedish county of Jämtland received the study’s highest Entrepreneurs Gender Equity Index (Företagarnas Jämställdhetsindex).
Norrbotten county’s Övertorneå municipality in the far north of Sweden received the study’s lowest gender equity ranking.
The study also shows a wide variance of entrepreneurial gender equity across Sweden. In the municipality of Danderyd near Stockholm, women account for 40 percent of entrepreneurs. In contrast, the municipality of Pajala in the north of Sweden has less than one woman for every five entrepreneurs.
Of Sweden’s largest cities, Stockholm ranks the highest in gender equity among those running their own businesses.
According to Nordmark Nilsson, Sweden needs to focus on three areas to improve gender equity for entrepreneurs, including reforms to the social insurance system, teaching entrepreneurship in schools, and opening the public sector for private competition.
The study’s index compiles scores on four measures: the number of men and women business owners, relative age, the number of women in male-dominated industries, and the concentration of entrepreneurs among the female population.