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Is there a Gender Gap in the Caribbean?

Female participation in the management and ownership of Caribbean firms is relatively high, compared to international standards.

Women-led businesses differ from other firms in the Caribbean along several characteristics, in particular, a larger presence of women in the management and ownership of the firms is often associated with smaller size, younger age, domestic ownership and limited access to finance.

Some of these stylized facts differ depending on the measure of the gender composition within the firm, lending support to the fact that having a different gender balance in the ownership or in the management is associated with different firm characteristics.

This paper focuses on the presence of a gender gap in firm performance and shows that women-managed firms are in fact less productive than other comparable firms, even after controlling for country and sector characteristics and for a large set of firm-level variables that drive productivity.

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Compete Caribbean is a private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities in the Caribbean region. The program, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Canada, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), supports projects in 15 Caribbean countries. Projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.

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