Create Scope for Women to Flourish in Business: Analysts

Monday, January 9, 2012

Women entrepreneurs in South Asia are failing to flourish due to shortage of funds, difficulty in marketing, social constraints and non-participation in decision-making, analysts said yesterday amid calls for governments and private sectors to change the scenario.

Women are treated as second-class citizens in the region while their contribution to the economy is totally overlooked, they said.

The comments came at a discussion on “Women Leadership” on the second and concluding day of the South Asia Entrepreneurs’ Convention LEAD 2012 at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.

The Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry co-organised the event, themed “Youth in rising South Asia: promises and dreams”.

Speaking as the chief guest, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said democratic institutions were of paramount importance in securing the fundamental rights of women and providing them with mechanisms for full economic, political and civic participation.

Although women are often engaged in entrepreneurial activities, they face numerous barriers that deter them from developing their enterprises, scaling up, and creating jobs for others, she said.

The minister said one big problem is that women’s enterprises are often informal while in many countries women play a dominant role in informal economies.

She emphasised bringing “informal businesswomen” into the formal sector where they can build on their productive assets and have access to state institutions and public services and that there must be adequate incentives and minimal barriers to formalisation.

Statistics show that women entrepreneurs account for less than 10 percent of the total entrepreneurs in developing economies, including South Asian countries, whereas the figure is about 25 percent in advanced economies.

Source: The Daily Star (link opens in a new window)