Keywords: SMEs Finance, Debt Finance, Gender, Working Capital, Owner-Manager.


Fostering the appropriate Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) financing is one of the most crucial ways of facilitating their success as well as the progress of a developing country. For that purpose, it is necessary to understand the financing behavior of the decision makers in the SMEs. Despite the indication of the importance of owner-manager gender in making debt financing decision, the literature is scant and inconclusive. Hence, this paper intends to investigate whether the gender of manager or owner is associated with more debt financing for fixed asset financing or for working capital financing. This paper analyses the World Bank Enterprise Survey data of 756 small and medium manufacturing firms of Bangladesh. In addition to using descriptive statistics, this study employs both parametric and nonparametric tests of hypotheses, including the Mann-Whitney U test. The findings suggest that female ownership, but not the management, is associated with more debt financing for working capital needs. However, no conclusive evidence of the role of gender on debt financing for fixed assets is found.  The results support the theoretical evidence related to the interplay between gender and small firm capital and can arguably be explained as a result of females’ better access to short term microfinance, and gender-based screening errors of the lenders. Extension of research is suggested to uncover the reasons behind more debt financing by female owners for working capital needs. The findings imply that the policy makers may optimize the financial system so that female owners’ debt financing demand is conveniently met. In addition, lending organizations may attempt to target female-owned manufacturing SMEs of Bangladesh as their potential working capital loan customers. This paper is among the first studies in the developing, or at least in Bangladesh context to provide evidence on the association between gender of owner vs manager and the nature of debt financing of manufacturing SMEs.

JEL Classification Codes: G320, D250, J160, M130.

Author Biographies

Md Mohan Uddin

Professor, School of Business & Economics, United International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Abul Bashar Bhuiyan

Associate Professor, Faculty of Business and Accountancy, Universiti Selangor, Malaysia

M Faruque Ul Islam

Production Planner, NOV Australia Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Rowshan Akter

Department of Finance & Banking, Dhaka Mohanagor Mohila College, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Abor, J. (2007). Industry classification and the capital structure of Ghanaian SMEs. Studies in Economics and Finance, 24(3), 207–219.

Abor, J., & Biekpe, N. (2009). How do we explain the capital structure of SMEs in sub‐Saharan Africa? Journal of Economic Studies, 36(1), 83–97.

Al-Haddad, L., Sial, M. S., Ali, I., Alam, R., Khuong, N. V., & Khanh, T. H. T. (2019). The Role of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Employment Generation and Economic Growth: A Study of Marble Industry in Emerging Economy. International Journal of Financial Research, 10(6), 174–187.

Amini, A. (2004). The distributional role of small business in development. International Journal of Social Economics, 31(4), 370–383.

Ayyagari, M., Demirgüç-Kunt, A., & Maksimovic, V. (2008). How Important Are Financing Constraints? The Role of Finance in the Business Environment. The World Bank Economic Review, 22(3), 483–516.

Bagale, G. S., Vandadi, V. R., Singh, D., Sharma, D. K., Garlapati, D. V. K., Bommisetti, R. K., Gupta, R. K., Setsiawan, R., Subramaniyaswamy, V., & Sengan, S. (2021). Small and medium-sized enterprises’ contribution in digital technology. Annals of Operations Research.

Beck, T., Demirgüç-Kunt, A., & Maksimovic, V. (2008). Financing patterns around the world: Are small firms different? Journal of Financial Economics, 89(3), 467–487.

Beck, T., & Rahman, Md. H. (2006). Creating A More Efficient Financial System: Challenges For Bangladesh. The World Bank.

Bennett, M., & Donnelly, R. (1993). The Determinants Of Capital Structure: Some UK Evidence. The British Accounting Review, 25(1), 43–59.

Bevan, A. A., & Danbolt, J. (2000). Dynamics in the Determinants of Capital Structure in the UK. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Bhaird, C. M., & Lucey, B. (2010). Determinants of capital structure in Irish SMEs. Small Business Economics, 35(3), 357–375.

Carter, S., & Rosa, P. (1998). Indigenous Rural Firms: Farm Enterprises in the UK. International Small Business Journal, 16(4), 15–27.

Cassar, G., & Holmes, S. (2003). Capital structure and financing of SMEs: Australian evidence. Accounting & Finance, 43(2), 123–147.

Chittenden, F., Hall, G., & Hutchinson, P. (1996). Small Firm Growth, Access to Capital Markets and Financial Structure: Review of Issues and an Empirical Investigation. Small Business Economics, 8(1), 59–67. JSTOR.

Cressy, R., & Olofsson, C. (1997). European SME Financing: An Overview. Small Business Economics, 9(2), 87–96. JSTOR.

Cronqvist, H., Makhija, A. K., & Yonker, S. E. (2009). What Does CEOs’ Personal Leverage Tell Us about Corporate Leverage? (Issues 2009–4). Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.

Daniels, L., & Group, I. C. (2003). National Private-sector Survey of Enterprises in Bangladesh, 2003. International Consluting Group, and Micro Industries Development Assistance & Services. Retrieved from

Delcoure, N. (2007). The determinants of capital structure in transitional economies. International Review of Economics & Finance, 16(3), 400–415.

Etim, E., & Iwu, C. G. (2019). A descriptive literature review of the continued marginalisation of female entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa. International Journal of Gender Studies in Developing Societies, 3(1), 1–19.

Fan, J. P. H., Titman, S., & Twite, G. (2012). An International Comparison of Capital Structure and Debt Maturity Choices. Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 47(1), 23–56. Cambridge Core.

Fu, T.-W., Ke, M.-C., & Huang, Y.-S. (2002). Capital Growth, Financing Source and Profitability of Small Businesses: Evidence from Taiwan Small Enterprises. Small Business Economics, 18(4), 257–267. JSTOR.

Global Indicators Department, Enterprise Analysis Unit (World Bank). (2013). Enterprise Survey 2013 [Data set]. World Bank, Development Data Group.

Hall, G. C., Hutchinson, P. J., & Michaelas, N. (2004). Determinants of the Capital Structures of European SMEs. Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 31(5–6), 711–728.

Heyman, D., Deloof, M., & Ooghe, H. (2008). The Financial Structure of Private Held Belgian Firms. Small Business Economics, 30(3), 301–313.

Islam, A., Nguyen, C., & Smyth, R. (2015). Does microfinance change informal lending in village economies? Evidence from Bangladesh. Journal of Banking & Finance, 50, 141–156.

Jensen, M. C., & Meckling, W. H. (1976). Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure. Journal of Financial Economics, 3(4), 305–360.

Jeppesen, S. (2005). Enhancing competitiveness and securing equitable development: Can small, micro, and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do the trick? Development in Practice, 15(3–4), 463–474.

Jordan, J., Lowe, J., & Taylor, P. (1998). Strategy and Financial Policy in UK Small Firms. Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 25(1–2), 1–27.

J.S. Ramalho, J., & da Silva, J. V. (2009). A two-part fractional regression model for the financial leverage decisions of micro, small, medium and large firms. Quantitative Finance, 9(5), 621–636.

Kon, Y., & Storey, D. J. (2003). A Theory of Discouraged Borrowers. Small Business Economics, 21(1), 37–49.

Lin, M. S., Jung, I. N., & Sharma, A. (2022). The impact of culture on small tourism businesses’ access to finance: The moderating role of gender inequality. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1–20.

López-Gracia, J., & Sánchez-Andújar, S. (2007). Financial Structure of the Family Business: Evidence From a Group of Small Spanish Firms. Family Business Review, 20(4), 269–287.

Manello, A., Cisi, M., Devicienti, F., & Vannoni, D. (2020). Networking: A business for women. Small Business Economics, 55(2), 329–348.

Marsh, P. (1982). The Choice Between Equity and Debt: An Empirical Study. The Journal of Finance, 37(1), 121–144.

Michaelas, N., Chittenden, F., & Poutziouris, P. (1999). Financial Policy and Capital Structure Choice in U.K. SMEs: Empirical Evidence from Company Panel Data. Small Business Economics, 12(2), 113–130.

Modigliani, F., & Miller, M. H. (1958). The Cost of Capital, Corporation Finance and the Theory of Investment. The American Economic Review, 48(3), 261–297. JSTOR.

Modigliani, F., & Miller, M. H. (1963). Corporate income taxes and the cost of capital: A correction. The American Economic Review, 53(3), 433–443.

Myers, S. (1984). Capital Structure Puzzle (No. w1393; p. w1393). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Myers, S. C., & Majluf, N. S. (1984). Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have. Journal of Financial Economics, 13(2), 187–221.

Nguyen, T. D. K., & Ramachandran, N. (2006). Capital Structure in Small and Medium‑ sized Enterprises: The Case of Vietnam. Asean Economic Bulletin, 23(2), 192–211.

Ou, C., & Haynes, G. W. (2006). Acquisition of Additional Equity Capital by Small Firms – Findings from the National Survey of Small Business Finances. Small Business Economics, 27(2–3), 157–168.

Parsons, C., & Titman, S. (2008). Capital Structure and Corporate Strategy. In Handbook of Empirical Corporate Finance (pp. 203–234). Elsevier.

Paulo Esperança, J., Matias Gama, A. P., & Azzim Gulamhussen, M. (2003). Corporate debt policy of small firms: An empirical (re)examination. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 10(1), 62–80.

Reboul, E., Guérin, I., & Nordman, C. J. (2021). The gender of debt and credit: Insights from rural Tamil Nadu. World Development, 142, 105363.

Robbins, D. K., Pantuosco, L. J., Parker, D. F., & Fuller, B. K. (2000). An Ampirical Assessment of the Contribution of Small Business Employment to U.S. State Economic Performance. Small Business Economics, 15(4), 293–302.

Romano, C. A., Tanewski, G. A., & Smyrnios, K. X. (2001). Capital structure decision making: A model for family business. Journal of Business Venturing, 16(3), 285–310.

Ross, S. A. (1977). The Determination of Financial Structure: The Incentive-Signalling Approach. The Bell Journal of Economics, 8(1), 23.

Shaw, E., Marlow, S., Lam, W., & Carter, S. (2009). Gender and entrepreneurial capital: Implications for firm performance. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 25–41.

Sheppard, M. (2023). The behavioural gap between entrepreneurial SME’s and high growth: Evidence from Canada. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal.

Sogorb-Mira, F. (2005). How SME Uniqueness Affects Capital Structure: Evidence From A 1994–1998 Spanish Data Panel. Small Business Economics, 25(5), 447–457.

Titman, S., & Wessels, R. (1988). The Determinants of Capital Structure Choice. The Journal of Finance, 43(1), 1–19.

Wu, J., Song, J., & Zeng, C. (2008). An empirical evidence of small business financing in China. Management Research News, 31(12), 959–975.
How to Cite
Uddin, M. M., Bhuiyan, A. B., Islam, M. F. U., & Akter, R. (2023). DOES GENDER MATTER’S ON THE DECISION MAKING FOR THE TYPE OF DEBT FINANCING OF THE MANUFACTURING SMEs IN BANGLADESH?. International Journal of Small and Medium Enterprises, 6(1), 9-17.
Research Paper/Theoretical Paper/Review Paper/Short Communication Paper