Women are the drivers of change

Women are the drivers of change

An international experts’ meeting ‘UNIDO: A Global Platform for the Development of Women’s Entrepreneurship’ was held during the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum.

“Global GDP could grow by 25% if women start playing the same role in the economy as men”, Managing Director of UNIDO Policy and Programme Support Fatou Haidara said during her welcome address. Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Gulnaz Kadyrova said that Russia has constant cooperation with UNIDO on issues concerning support for women’s employment and entrepreneurship. UNIDO Senior Industrial Development Officer Monica Carco (Italy) pointed out the importance of addressing issues at various levels – from the international level to the local level – and involving all the participants in the process: government and business structures as well as public organizations and associations. Head of Corrente Rosa President Serena Romano (Italy) spoke about an interesting practice in her country, where the government takes on 80% of the risks when women receive loans for business development. For comparison: this figure is only 60% for men. “Discrimination in favour of women” is due to the fact that many members of the fairer sex do not have real estate that they could pledge bail, nor do they have sufficient initial capital. Romano spoke about Greece’s interesting experience of incorporating women into fields that are traditionally for men as well as training programmes for women (including representatives of ethnic minorities) in the United States.

The most emotional speech was given by General Secretary of the Women’s Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey Sanem Oktar. Twenty years ago, despite her father’s calls for her to sit at home, she set up her own digital technology business. Soon Sanem realized that she was really lacking information and like-minded people, and that is how her association appeared. To date, only 3% of women in Turkey work, while the rest prefer the role of housewives. Oktar is now conducting webinars and travelling training seminars for those who want to start their own business. A whole programme has been created to support small businesses.

Many of the speakers, led by the moderator – Chief of the Europe and Central Asia Division of UNIDO Jacek Cukrowski – described women as drivers of positive changes in society, and their speeches once again served as proof of this.

Tatyana Vorozhtsova