The number of self-employed women increased almost 14 per cent to 143,500 in the year to March 2021, the country's statistics department said in a report released on Thursday.
The term "self-employed without employees" can include people who are starting their own business, sole traders, independent contractors, freelancers, or gig workers, and excludes people who employ others", labor market statistics manager Andrew Neal said in the report.
The latest data from the March 2021 quarter Household Labor Force Survey showed the number of women who were self-employed with no employees increased by 17,500 over the year, up 13.9 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency.
This coincided with a drop in the number of women in paid employment, though this drop was not statistically significant, Neal said.
The number of self-employed men reached 211,600 in the same period, up 3.5 per cent, though this was also not statistically significant, he said.
"After the challenges that Covid-19 presented this past year, employment opportunities for women are continuing to bounce back and we're seeing this in an increasing shift into self-employment," Neal said.
In the March 2021 quarter, when asked about how they felt about their work, 91 per cent of all self-employed women reported that they would prefer to continue working as they were.
Only 6.4 per cent of self-employed women said they would prefer to work for someone else, according to Stats NZ.
Overall, most self-employed people worked in the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industry in the March 2021 quarter, followed by the construction industry.
Other industries with a high proportion of self-employed people were agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining industries, as well as arts and recreation, Neal said.
In the year to March 2021, 8,600 more people were employed in New Zealand, making a total of 2,758,000 employed. Among them, there was an increase of 24,700 self-employed people, statistics show.
The total number of self-employed people increased by 7.5 per cent in the year to March 2021 to reach 355,000, the only statistically significant change among other employment statuses, Stats NZ said.
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