Global Resources

Women in the Global Economy

Publisher: International Trade Centre
Publication Date: Jan 2003
Women make up the majority of entrepreneurs in 'marginal' economic areas such as micro enterprises and the informal economy. But these make up a large percentage of total economic activity in many poor countries. Yet women's roles as producers and consumers of goods and services and providers of employment are often invisible. This results in missing out on the support offered by official trade organisations and from access to export assistance and networks. Women therefore need targeted approaches to support them in entering into formal business. This issue of ITC's magazine looks at the nature of women's entrepreneurship - focussing on South Africa, India, Nepal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Canada and Uganda. It explores how many businesswomen are also 'social entrepreneurs', who demonstrate a commitment to the development of their communities as well as profits. The articles provide examples of strategies for integrating women exporters into the global economy and of initiatives to support entrepreneurship. They present the objectives, challenges and solutions. The issue also includes information on what international organisations are doing on gender and trade, including support to women entrepreneurs in the service sector, in ICT usage, trade facilitation, and the establishment of international initiatives such as the UN Task Force on Gender and Trade and work by UNIFEM and the ILO.

Recommendations include:
?Support networking through the establishment of women's business associations and link these to policy makers and trade organisations.
?Provide women with training in applying for credit, allowing them to move beyond microcredit schemes.
?Facilitate women's access to export training.
?Support trade-related social support such as mobile health clinics and childcare.