Female entrepreneurs just as internationally active as male entrepreneurs

© Hollandse Hoogte / Westend61 GmbH
Female entrepreneurs in the Dutch business economy are engaged in international activities to virtually the same degree as their male counterparts. However, there are differences between sectors. The proportion of male entrepreneurs who are internationally active increases up to and including the age category 45-54 years and then declines. For female entrepreneurs, this proportion increases with age in all age categories. This is evident from the publication Dutch Trade in Facts and Figures 2020 published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) today.

Women account for one-quarter of internationally active entrepreneurs. In 2018, for example, there were altogether 142 thousand male internationally active entrepreneurs in the Dutch business economy, against 49 thousand female entrepreneurs. Although the number of male entrepreneurs is considerably larger than the number of female entrepreneurs, there has hardly been any difference in recent years in the extent to which they are active internationally. In 2018, 14.5 percent of female entrepreneurs were internationally active, while this share stood at 15.2 percent among male entrepreneurs.

Share of male and female internationally active entrepreneurs, 2016-2018
Geslacht2016 (%)2017 (%)2018 (%)
Male internationally active entrepreneurs15.815.515.2
Female internationally active entrepreneurs15.314.714.5

The extent to which male and female entrepreneurs trade internationally is connected with their age. The share of male entrepreneurs who are internationally active increases up to and including the age category 45-54 years and then declines. For female entrepreneurs, the share increases with age and does not decline from the age of 55. In the group entrepreneurs aged 25 to 54, women are slightly less internationally active than their male counterparts. Socioeconomic factors such as childcare probably play a role here.

Share of internationally active entrepreneurs by age, 2018
LeeftijdscategorieMale internationally active entrepreneurs (%)Female internationally active entrepreneurs (%)
15 to 24 yrs6.06.4
25 to 34 yrs11.410.0
35 to 44 yrs15.313.6
45 to 54 yrs18.116.6
55 to 64 yrs17.117.0
65 yrs and over15.117.7

The extent to which male and female entrepreneurs are internationally active also differs between sectors. In construction and in transportation and storage, female entrepreneurs are considerably more likely to engage in international activities than male entrepreneurs. The wholesale and retail trade sector not only has the highest number (in absolute terms) but also the highest percentage of internationally active entrepreneurs among both men and women. Female entrepreneurs were the least internationally active in the real estate sector (5 percent) in 2018. When only looking at international entrepreneurship, women are relatively more likely to be found in wholesale trade, while men are more likely to be active in construction, ICT and manufacturing.

Share of internationally active entrepreneurs by sector, 2018
SectorMale internationally active entrepreneurs (%)Female internationally active entrepreneurs (%)
Wholesale and retail trade33.429.5
Manufacturing26.923.1
Transportation and storage15.525.5
Information and communication12.911.3
Repairs12.211.9
Rental of movable property9.76.8
Consultancy and research9.26.2
Accommodation and food services8.46.5
Real estate activities7.15.1
Construction6.216.3

Sources