Effect of Covid-19 Pandemic on Performance of Women Owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Kenya

Salome K. Kaberia, Stephen M. A. Muathe

Abstract


The year 2020 marks the silver jubilee of the Beijing Platform for Action, and was expected to be a moment to celebrate the milestones made in enhancing gender parity and opportunities. However, the effects of COVID-19 pandemic threaten to erode the minimal gains achieved this far. The pandemic, initially a health hazard, fast mutated to a twin-menace that would threaten both lives and livelihoods. Global stock markets plunged in value by about US$6 trillion in less than a week (24th to 28th February 2020), according to S & P Dow Jones Indices; with many yet to recover. The pandemic decelerated Kenya’s projected GDP growth; the Central Bank of Kenya revised its estimate for 2020 from the initial 6.2% to 3.4%. Most affected were Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; due to limited resources unable to withstand prolonged uncertainty and multi-faceted restrictions, as demanded of them by the pandemic. Key among the ventures threatened with extinction are women owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises that faced numerous pre-pandemic challenges. The inevitable priority shift for women entrepreneurs, diversion of business funds, sharp decline in demand and supply of commodities, and costly production, all stifled the mostly informal firms. Theories supporting this magnitude of impact are limited too; with the closest being resource dependency theory, structural inertia theory and real options theory. As uncertain as the viral spread is its ultimate impact on businesses and economies. This study uses available secondary multi-disciplinary resources; research papers, case studies, stakeholder reports and other online sources. Findings are that women owned businesses are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The study recommends targeted policy, research and resource interventions to help small ventures prepare for recurrence of such contagions through resurgence of the same or new pandemics in future.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v9i1.5089

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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