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Virtual Windows Through Glass Walls? Digitalization for Low-Mobility Female Entrepreneurs
World Bank
2024.06.14
Social norms and childcare responsibilities often constrain women‘s mobility and work. This paper investigates the promise of digitalization in unlocking the growth of home-based businesses, an economic lifeline for women in developing countries. To do so, Jordanian female entrepreneurs were offered access to virtual storefronts through Facebook business pages, as well as access to an online digital marketing training created in collaboration with local social media influencers. After six months of hands-on support, treated women had higher business survival, weekly revenue, and attracted more online clients. Machine learning heterogeneity analysis reveals that higher business performance and limitations on the owner‘s ability to leave her house at baseline are particularly predictive of effects. Together, results suggest that when constraints to technology adoption are lifted, digitalization can unlock windows of opportunity to talented female entrepreneurs, especially those mobility-constrained among them.