Businesswomen keep on battling

HCM CITY — Limited access to credit, lengthy registration procedures and family responsibilities are major gender-related obstacles that stand in the way of women hoping to run their own businesses, according to a recent study.

The survey of 199 female entrepreneurs in various sectors and industries nationwide found that o­nly 60 per cent of female account holders could successfully obtain loans from banks.

Lack of assets due to the gender discrimination in property and inheritance practices in the country limit women’s access and control over property, especially land and houses. Hence it becomes more difficult to get loans that also have time-consuming application procedures and complicated terms and conditions. This, in turn, restricts the ability of female entrepreneurs to start up or expand production and trade.

They also complained about low asset valuation and strict collateral conditions of credit institutions.

Negative attitudes

More than 70 per cent of polled women entrepreneurs spent an average of eight to 12 hours a day working in offices along with taking care of their children and families.

Complicated tax forms, time-consuming paperwork processes and negative attitude of tax authorities frustrated nearly 12 per cent of female entrepreneurs.

More than 70 percent of female entrepreneurs also experienced problems related to employees. All of them complained about high labour turnover, low skilled workers and poor work ethics.

The survey also found that more than 60 per cent of female entrepreneurs hold university degrees and develop strong networks.

Dr. Aimee Hampel-Milagrosa, the survey’s international consultant, said that loan application process, loan terms and conditions and collateral appraisal procedures should be reviewed to ease credit access for female entrepreneurs.

Administrative procedures should be simplified to facilitate business registration and taxation payment, she said.

The survey was conducted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) between September and November this year.

The study will provide inputs to the National Strategy o­n Gender Equality for the 2011-20 period as well as the Vietnamese SME Development Plan for the 2011-15 period.